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Ireland European Presidency will chair from January until June 2013

Irene Matías
Ireland looks forward to seizing the opportunities presented by its Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first six months of 2013 to deliver stability, jobs and growth in Europe, delivering real and positive decisions to support Europe´s economic recovery and social cohesion.

 Ireland’s seventh Presidency coincides with the fortieth anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the European Union. The Irish programme reflects the desire across the EU to learn from the economic crisis and to focus on strengthening competitiveness, fighting unemployment and its causes, and driving forward proposals that will deliver sustainable economic growth and employment.

The full programme of the Irish Presidency will be launched in early January 2013 however roughly the Irish priorities are focused in the following points:

Stimulate growth through employment creation and reestablishment of financial confidence

The most urgent priority for the EU is to stimulate growth leading to employment creation.  The Irish Presidency will work to effectively implement the Union’s new economic governance measures and drive reforms to create the conditions for growth.  The Presidency will also seek to restore confidence in the financial sector by making progress on the Banking Union proposals and financial services reform.

The Presidency will also address the critical levels of youth joblessness across the EU by making progress on the Youth Employment and Youth Guarantee proposals.   During the European Year of Citizens in 2013, the Presidency also plans to make progress on a range of initiatives aimed to promote free movement across the EU and to protect workers’ rights.

Investment in Europe’s resources

The Irish Presidency will put a strong emphasis on strengthening Europe’s Digital Economy by advancing measures in areas including cyber security, e-signatures/e-Identification, data protection, high-speed broadband rollout and web accessibility.  The Connecting Europe Facility can deliver the integrated telecommunications, transport and energy infrastructure we need for future growth and this too will be a priority.  

The Irish Presidency will also pursue a number of measures aimed at the Small and Medium Enterprises, the backbone of the European economy. These will include improved access to credit, public procurement opportunities and research funding.

The Presidency will also play its part in securing agreement on the EU’s future financing for the 2014 to 2020 period and to working with other Member States and the European Parliament on the key programmes that can underpin strong economic growth and social cohesion in Europe, including CAP, the Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme, and cohesion funding. A particular focus will be placed on the potential of Europe’s natural resources on land as well as at sea (“Blue Growth”), and on putting the Green Economy agenda back on track as an engine for smart, sustainable growth.

Strengthening relations with our neighbours

Ireland will pursue the enlargement agenda as Presidency and support the work of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in strengthening relations with our neighbours. We will place particular focus on development, humanitarian policy and especially on the continuing global hunger crisis and climate change. Ireland will also work to strengthen trade relations and open new markets with third countries, creating opportunities for enterprise, leading to more jobs and growth.

Shared European heritage

As well as the business we will conduct in Brussels, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg, the Presidency looks forward to welcoming visitors to hundreds of Presidency-related events in Ireland from January to June 2013. Ireland will also present a diverse programme of Irish culture in many European cities and here in Ireland celebrate our shared European heritage. The Presidency looks forward to opening the European Year of Citizens in Dublin on 10 January 2013.

Of interest