Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Irish Presidency Work Programme

Ireland took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union at the start of the year, and last Wednesday Taoiseach Enda Kenny, leader of the Fine Gael-Labour (EPP-PES) coalition government, outlined the priorities of the presidency to the European Parliament. Sustainability, jobs and growth are the central mantra of the presidency, though the familar buzzwords didn't stop Kenny from attempting rhetorical flight in the Strasbourg chamber, enthusing about the European family.

In his speech to the European Parliament, Kenny outlined a large work programme, from CAP and CFP reform to collective copyright management and data protection. The Data Protection package is one of the biggest legislative changes and a flagship policy of the Commission. There's been worries that the law won't be passed before the parliament ends, causing the draft to lapse and the work to go to waste, so there will have to be a big push from the presidency to make progress here.

Interestingly, while he stressed the need to pass the 2-Pack of legislation (which I’ve written about here) and the importance of the European Semester, Kenny also expressed a willingness to engage with the Parliament on the democratic deficit – let’s see if any constructive measures make it to the statute books.

A major topic was, of course, breaking the link between sovereigns and banking debt, with the banking union and progress on the implementation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism. On trade, Kenny looked forward to the authorisation and opening of negotiations with the US, along with negotiations with Japan, Canada and ASEAN.

Finally, Kenny couldn't help plugging Ireland's big tourism campaign - The Gathering!

You can see a list of the measures behind these priorities here.

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