MOST GOVERNMENT MINISTERS are travelling to Brussels today to outline their plans for Ireland’s presidency of the EU, which begins on 1 January 2013.
The Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, and nine ministers will meet with José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission for a detailed discussion.
This is the first time that so many senior members of government will sit down and discuss Ireland’s focus during the presidency.
Among the issues which are expected to be on the table are banking union, the digital agenda, reform of the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies and the development of the single market.
Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore will be accompanied by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton. Also on the trip will be Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, Environment Minister Phil Hogan, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and Lucinda Creighton, the Minister of State for European Affairs.
Just five senior ministers, including Health Minister James Reilly, will remain in Ireland. It is likely that Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn will take Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil later this morning.
Ireland’s presidency will last six months and will coincide with the 40 year anniversary of Ireland joining the EEC in 1973.