Powered by Max Banner Ads
By H.E. Oliver Grogan, Ambassador of the Republic of Ireland in Bucharest
The guiding principles of the Irish 2013 EU Presidency can be summed up as “stability, jobs and growth”. When considering our priorities, each agenda item was viewed through this lens. For Ireland, the experience of the past few years has been particularly difficult. Yet it is precisely because of that experience that we are well placed to take on the work of the Presidency as we begin 2013. We would see our Presidency as that of a recovery country driving recovery in Europe.Supporting European economic recovery and the creation of jobs will be the overarching challenge. This will involve three inter-related priorities (I) restoring confidence in the Union’s economic economy by securing agreement on the Union’s economic governance and Banking Union proposals; (II) reaching agreement on the EU’s future budgetary and policy framework for 2014 to 2020; (III) promoting economic growth through advancing proposals for deepening the EU’s Single Market. Responding effectively to the financial and economic crisis remains a central concern for the European Union. A strong momentum has been established towards a Banking Union and we will build on this, working for deposit guarantee schemes and bank resolution and recovery. This will clear the way to moving to the next phase of restoring stability to the euro area: allowing the European Stability Mechanism to recapitalise banks directly. At the same time we must keep our focus on the challenge of getting the European economy back on track by improving the EU’s global competitiveness, promoting economic growth and creating jobs. There will be a strong focus during our Presidency on promoting best conditions for creating jobs, in particular in small and medium-sized enterprises, through better access to credit, better access to public procurement opportunities and research funding.We will play our full part in securing agreement on the EU’s budget 2014-2020, leading on to sector-specific work on key areas such as the reform of CAP and cohesion. Advancing work on Horizon 2020, the Union’s framework for research and innovation, will also be part of this task. The Single Market has been Europe’s great success story, especially for open economies like Ireland. However, we need to develop it further and harness its potential for much greater cross-border business. The Irish Presidency will seek, for example, to achieve agreement on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. We will also seek to make a reality of the single digital market, including cyber security, electronic signature recognition and increased protection of intellectual rights. Europe’s recovery cannot happen in isolation and Europe must be a strong player on the world stage. We will prioritise new trade agreements (including with the United States) so that our job-creators can seek and win more business around the world. We will pursue the enlargement agenda and our relationship with Europe’s neighbours. And we will place particular focus on hunger as part of the development agenda. Ireland is just one of 27 EU member states, and our Presidency role does not involve directing our European partners. We are conscious that our core task is to manage the EU agenda in an efficient and impartial manner and to keep the institutional machinery running smoothly – but always with a view to achieving results. We have done this before; it is our seventh Presidency. On this occasion, we look forward to building on our good bilateral relationship with Romania.Overall, nearly 300 cultural events are planned at home and abroad as part of the EU Presidency. This will include a significant programme of events here in Romania, particularly during the Saint Patrick’s Festival period 14-19 March.