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Keynote Address.
Enda Kenny, Prime Minister of Ireland

Banking Union must be finalised

Speaking at the 2013 Brussels Economic Forum via a video message, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny called for the completion of what governments had promised since last June, completing the EU's banking union.

“The important steps taken by the ECB under President (Mario) Draghi and the commitments made at the European Council last June mean a period of relative calm continues.  We are very clear on the need to break the link between banking and sovereign debt. Achieving such clarity was critical to our managing the economic crisis. Now we must deliver, in real practical terms. Banking union is absolutely crucial.  For leaders, it’s a credibility test we cannot afford to fail. Following through on decisions is the very least our citizens expect and demand,” Kenny said.

Concluding a six month Presidency of the European Council at the end of June the Irish Prime Minister said that the Presidency was dedicated to achieving concrete improvement for the Union in stability, jobs and growth. Having assumed the presidency as a country in recovery, he echoed President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy's four key points for recovery, the first of those focusing on the banking union as a measure of stability.

A second important issue is  improving economic resilience, through sound public finances and improved competitiveness, especially through the reformed EU economic governance framework and the fiscal treaty, the third point to unlock recovery focuses on strengthening the Economic and Monetary Union and there again hinges on “delivering on banking union.”

Since last June, where the initial framework for the banking union began, and then revisited in December, as Heads of State and Government, “we set ambitious targets to deliver on banking union, as Presidency, Ireland is pleased with the progress to date,” Kenny said.

“We’ve reached agreement on the Single Supervisor and the Credit-Requirements Directive.  We will use the days we have left in that presidency to achieve even greater progress” Kenny said hoping for the results at the last Council Summit of the Irish Presidency to include banking recovery and deposit-guarantee proposals.

The fourth important issue crucial to recovery is the much anticipated action to tackle youth unemployment. “This is and has to be of the gravest and most urgent concern to us all. It has to be our greatest priority,” Kenny said,  the  Irish Presidency having secured agreement on the Youth Guarantee..

The Prime Minister reminded further of the urgency to agree with the European Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework MFF, the EU budget for the next seven years, as the "single, most-valuable instrument at EU level" as it can release €1 trillion into the economy, boost jobs and growth.
"Europe needs a budgetary framework.“
As the Irish Presidency draws to a close, I’m satisfied that we have put real substance behind our mission pillars - “stability, jobs and growth””, Kenny said.
In addition to banking union measures, the MFF and the focus on youth unemployment the EU reached an agreement on the negotiation-mandate for a historic EU-US trade and investment agreement.

Kenny also noted that the EU and the euro area in particular “has been through a torrid time. Therefore we have to work together with courage and conviction to build on our hard-won stability. Our agenda for the EMU is ambitious yet pragmatic. It will be central to the European Council’s discussions next week.
The Future of EMU
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