MFF: Getting agreement on the multi-billion euro Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) EU budget for 2014-2020 was arguably the Irish Presidency’s greatest challenge.
European Council consensus on the MFF wasn’t reached until February 2013, leaving less than five months for the tricky task of negotiating the proposed budget with the European Parliament.
The MFF suffered a setback when it was rejected by MEPs in March and it fell on Irish shoulders to negotiate on behalf of the Council in talks with the Parliament and the European Commission.
The talks continued right up until the final week of the Presidency when an historic agreement was reached on the €960 billion budget. The budget is effectively an investment in key policy areas that will help boost growth and create jobs in all Member States.
CAP: The Irish Presidency had made clear from the start its determination to secure a deal on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform.
Agriculture Ministers reached agreement on a common position in March 2013 during negotiations led by Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney.
This gave the Presidency a mandate to begin negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission where contentious issues like greening measures and the redistribution of payments were thrashed out.
The talks lasted right until the end of the Presidency before a deal was eventually secured, although there are some outstanding issues that have to be resolved before final sign off.
BANKING: Making banks safer, stronger and better regulated is an EU priority goal and it was high up on the Irish Presidency’s agenda.
During the Presidency, agreement was reached with the European Parliament on the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV) that sets rules on the amount and quality of capital banks must hold.
The Presidency also successfully brokered agreement on the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), one of three pillars in a proposed Banking Union designed to protect taxpayers from failing banks.
Agreement was also reached on a Bank Recovery and Resolution (BRR) Framework - a crucial element of another Banking Union pillar, the Single Resolution Mechanism.
Progress was also made on introducing measures restricting bankers pay to make sure that pay practices don’t lead to excessive risk-taking.
The Banking Union faces more hurdles before it can become a reality but the Irish Presidency succeeded in making significant progress on the initiative.