As usual, the Commission visits the country holding the presidency in the beginning of the semester. Today, we are in Dublin to meet the Irish government. Ireland is celebrating its 40 years as a member of the European Union and this is their 7th presidency. The Irish are focusing on getting themselves, and the rest of Europe, out of the crisis under the theme of stability, growth and jobs. A specific focus is on getting the banking union in place, reducing youth employment, implementing necessary reforms regarding the internal market, and last but not least, investing in the digitalisation. In addition, the Irish presidency has a heavy responsibility in leading the EU’s Member States and institutions towards an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework.
In my area, the priority is first and foremost to reach an agreement on the remaining parts of the asylum package and Schengen reforms. Additionally, the Irish intend to conclude the negotiations on the directives concerning seasonal workers, ICT and confiscation of criminal assets, as well as to ensure that the trafficking directive is implemented in all countries.
I have, since a long time, a good cooperation with Mr Alan Shatter, Minister of Justice and Home Affairs in Ireland, and look forward to a constructive and results-oriented presidency.