Saturday

20th Aug 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Conditions met for German nuclear extension, officials say

Conditions have been met for the German government to allow a temporary lifetime extension of three remaining nuclear reactors, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the country is facing a likely shortage of gas this winter.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us