General Affairs Council: extracts from the press conference by the Irish Presidency and the European Commission
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council / Justus Lipsius
End production: 04/02/2013 First transmission: 04/02/2013
On 04 febrary, the Council discussed the work programme proposed by the Irish presidency for the duration of its term of office, focusing on unemployement, growth and the implementation of the Multiannual Financial Framework. The Council prepared the European Council meeting on 7-8 February, on the basis of draft conclusions, and started preparations for the European Council meeting on 14-15 March. The most important issues that were discussed were the Multiannual Financial Framework and trade agreements with EU strategic partners.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland: The main item on the agenda today was the European Council meeting later this week. I focused our discussion on trade, external relations and Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). On trade, we discussed the potential for trade an gods services and investments to make a significant contribution to European Union growth's agenda. An ambitious trade agenda can lead to an increase of 2% in growth and the creation of 2 millions jobs. We agree today to energetically pursuit these trade opportunities and this is a priority for the Irish presidency. In particular we aim to make progress on an EU-US free trade agreement. I hope we will soon see the publication of the high level working group report on this.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by Eamon Gilmor: We discussed the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with President Van Rompuy. We all agree that the time has come to do a deal. Agreement this week would allow us as Irish presidency to take forward the necessary work to make sure that all the funding programs which role on the MFF, the Common Agriculture Policy, Cohesion, Research, Erasmus etc, can be in place by the end of the year. Failure to reach agreement would assure a new era of crisis and certainly in the European Union and this is something that we cannot afford. I am confident that we can and we will reach agreement later this week.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration: There is cautious optimism that we can get the deal. Of course from the Commission point of view we hope for the good deal where the programs which we see as a modernising, which we see as a bringing the highest European added value like support for R&D, support for European infrastructure and we hope that the overall balance of the agreement would be reach in a way which would create good conducing atmosphere for the negotiations with the European Parliament.
||Departure of the speakers