Europe Ministers prepare for June leaders' summit and discuss Future of Europe16/5/17
Europe Ministers prepare for June leaders' summit and discuss Future of Europe and the Rule of Law at General Affairs Council meeting
The Minister of State for European Affairs, Dara Murphy TD, represented Ireland at a meeting of the General Affairs Council in Brussels today where Europe Ministers discussed preparations for the June EU leaders' summit. When they meet for next month's European Council, EU Heads of State and Government will revisit the issues of migration; security and defence; jobs, growth and competitiveness; and external relations. Speaking after today's meeting, Minister Murphy said:
"EU leaders will return their collective focus to the critical issues of migration, security and defence next month, as well as discussing significant foreign policy issues. On the economic front, the European Council will revisit progress on Europe's jobs, growth and competitiveness agenda - the push to really deliver for citizens by bolstering Europe's growth potential and ability to compete globally, ultimately boosting our prosperity at home.
"As part of this push, Ireland is strongly supportive of key initiatives including the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), the creation of the Capital Markets Union for the benefit of SMEs seeking access to finance, the deepening of the Single Market for Services and the achievement of a Digital Single Market by 2018.
Ministers also discussed the follow-up to the European Commission White Paper on the Future of the European Union published at the beginning of March. The Commission updated Member States on the planned publication of a series of thematic reflection papers in the coming months to build on the White Paper. The reflection papers are being presented as a means of encouraging and contributing to a Europe-wide discussion and debate on possible paths the EU could take over the next decade. The Minister said:
"The publication of more detailed reflection papers on a range of specific issues will contribute to and inform the Europe-wide discussions that the White Paper seeks to initiate. I welcome this open-ended and non-prescriptive approach by the Commission and look forward to strong Irish input to the debate - an important opportunity for us to shape our future."
Finally, Ministers also discussed the Rule of Law in the European Union following an update by First Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans.
16 May 2017