Monday 7 January 2013
Given the close links between Ireland and the US, the country intends to push forward with the idea of an EU-US free trade agreement. In this respect, it mentions the sensitiveness of an issue such as public procurement.
In terms of enlargement, Ireland’s ambitions are clear even if they may displease the rest of the Council, which intends to be more cautious in this area. As European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton put it: “We are enlargement enthusiasts. We want to inject some new energy into this process”. Ireland wants to make rapid progress in the negotiations with Iceland, relaunch discussions with Turkey and look into the accession of the Western Balkan countries.
Growth and jobs, especially for young people, are at the top of the country’s list of priorities.
Considering the location of big companies such as Google and Facebook in Ireland, the country also has a special interest in the digital evolution. Thus it plans to hold a “digital assembly” in June. It will help in every possible way the President of the European Council, Hermann Van Rompuy, in reaching an agreement on the long-term financial framework for 2014-2020. In this respect, Ireland is one of the ‘Friends of cohesion” and favours the proposal made by the European Commission.
The website with every possible information on Ireland’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, is www.eu2013.ie.
On Tuesday 8 January 2013, the Irish traditional band “The Gloaming” will give a concert in Brussels to celebrate the launch of the Irish presidency. Bert Van Caelenberg, secretary general of Eurofedop, will attend this event.
On 14 and 15 February 2013, Eurofound’s fifth Foundation Forum will be held under the auspices of the EU Irish presidency, in Dublin, Ireland. John Clinton, General Secretary of Eurofedop’s member organisation POA (Ireland), will represent Eurofedop at this event, where participants from various national and EU backgrounds will discuss the subject of ‘Social and employment policies for a fair and competitive Europe”.