Lucinda Creighton TD, Minister for European Affairs, is in Strasbourg today representing the Council of the European Union in a key debate on the EU’s long-term budget (Multi Annual Financial Framework). The Minister’s appearance comes as preparations for the European Council meeting on the 7th and 8th February intensify.
During the plenary debate Minister Creighton emphasised the importance of the Council and the Parliament working hand in hand to secure an early agreement:
“The European Council which begins tomorrow evening has a heavy agenda. First and foremost it must reach agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This is essential if the EU is to have the money to fulfil its tasks. But there are other important issues on the agenda such as Trade, the EU's relations with our Southern Mediterranean partners in the context of the Arab Spring and the situation in Mali.”
Minister Creighton said that failing to agree a budget could create economic uncertainty:
“A failure would undermine the stability of the Union. It would introduce very considerable uncertainty with regards to future planning, and it will set us back just at a time when markets are beginning to discover renewed confidence.”
The Minister emphasised the crucial role of the European Parliament in the process:
If the European Council reaches an agreement this week, our work does not stop. We will continue our engagement to ensure that the Parliament has before it a deal which it is in a position to endorse.
“The Presidency is fully aware of the critical importance of the European Parliament in these negotiations. This is not just a matter of good institutional cooperation. If the European Council reaches an agreement this week, our work does not stop. We will continue our engagement to ensure that the Parliament has before it a deal which it is in a position to endorse.”
The Minister also spoke about other key items on the European Council agenda including trade relations with partners such as the US, Canada and Japan, and EU relations with Southern Mediterranean partners in the context of the Arab Spring and the situation in Mali.
The Minister will accompany the Taoiseach to the European Council meeting tomorrow.
Minister Creighton is representing the Presidency in the following debates this week
1. European Semester
2. Preparation for the European Council
3. Dialogue for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue in Turkey
4. 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (on behalf of HR Ashton)
5. Rule of law and freedom in Bulgaria
6. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
Watch the European Parliament plenary sessions.