Monday

23rd Oct 2017

Irish EU presidency outlines post-crisis agenda

  • The Irish presidency motto is "stability, jobs and growth" (Photo: Guimo)

The incoming Irish EU presidency says it will focus on jobs and growth in the next six months, echoing claims the sovereign debt part of the euro crisis has ended.

Foreign minister Eamon Gilmore told press in Brussels on Monday (17 December) there is still work to do on the banking union agreed by EU leaders last week as a long-term measure to quell market fears.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said Ireland will help draft plans for a pan-EU deposit guarantee scheme and failed bank wind-up rules as the "key to moving to the next phase - allowing the European Stability Mechanism [the Luxembourg-based bailout fund] to directly recapitalise banks."

But he noted that Ireland's main objectives - and its EU presidency motto - will be "stability, jobs and growth."

Its push to get the European economy back on its feet envisages agreement on the EU budget for 2014 to 2020 "early in the New Year" to enable "fit for purpose" spending on, for instance, aid to rural regions.

Ireland will work to clinch an EU-US free trade deal, which Dublin believes can contribute 2 percent growth to EU GDP.

It will promote a directive on pan-EU recognition of professional qualifications to help job-seekers move around. It will also try to help small businesses get access to credit and to "overhaul" EU data protection rules to make life easier for online companies.

Striking an optimistic note, Gilmore said: "We aim to be the first country to emerge from an EU-IMF [International Monetary Fund] programme."

He added that upcoming elections in Germany and Italy should not hold things back. "I don't expect that elections in Italy will delay the MFF [the multi-annual financial framework, or 2014 to 2020 EU budget]," he said.

His EU affairs minister, Lucinda Creighton, noted: "For the past 18 months, whenever something complex comes on the agenda we hear the refrain: 'No decision can be expected because of elections here or there.' But in fact decision-making has not been put on hold."

The Irish tone echoes recent remarks by some EU leaders.

"That period is over ... We did a lot of good work this year and that allows us to be confident for 2013," French President Francois Hollande said in Brussels last Thursday, referring to sovereign debt fears.

Meanwhile, Ireland outlined more modest priorities for EU foreign policy.

Creighton said it will try to get EU accession talks started with Macedonia and Serbia and to get agreement on signing a pre-accession pact with quasi-state Kosovo.

Gilmore noted he will also look to expand EU humanitarian aid programmes.

He said nothing on two of the biggest crises in the EU neighbourhood - the Arab-Israeli conflict and Syria.

With Israel piling on thousands of new settler homes in Palestine - it announced a further 1,500 homes in East Jerusalem on Monday - Dublin has no plans to push for punitive measures.

An Irish government spokeswoman told EUobserver last month that "Ireland would support a ban on the import of goods from Israeli settlements."

But she noted: "There is no consensus on this issue at EU level and no prospect of reaching agreement on this issue in the near term." She added that under the Lisbon Treaty: "The foreign council agenda is set by the EU [foreign policy chief] Catherine Ashton."

Israeli leader mocks EU 'dismay'

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has mocked EU "dismay" over his plan to split Palestine in three and take away its capital.

Macron puts trade policy on summit table

France's president wants a "political discussion" on EU trade policies at Thursday's summit, amid domestic concerns over Canada and South America deals. But his colleagues are likely to avoid a lengthy debate.

News in Brief

  1. May: EU member states will not lose out with Brexit
  2. Slovakia pledges to be 'pro-European' oasis in region
  3. Report: Catalan leader to address Spanish senate
  4. Fiat-Chrysler 'obstructed justice' reports Le Monde
  5. EU presidency 'confident' on posted workers agreement
  6. Young conservatives boot out Erdogan's party
  7. Tsipras urged to let refugees go before winter sets in
  8. Thousands demand justice in Malta

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Martens CentreI Say Europe, You Say...? Interview With EU Commission VP Jyrki Katainen
  2. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  4. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  5. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  6. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  7. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  10. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  11. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  12. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe