Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, is in Strasbourg today representing the Council of the European Union in a key debate on the EU’s long-term budget (Multi Annual Financial Framework), prior to the European Council meeting which begins tomorrow February 7.
Minister Creighton stressed that the European Council “has a heavy agenda”, primarily with regard to reaching an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). This, the Minister added “is essential if the EU is to have the money to fulfil its tasks”.
Failure to reach an agreement “would undermine the stability of the Union. It would introduce very considerable uncertainty with regards to future planning, and it will set us back just at a time when markets are beginning to discover renewed confidence.”
The European Parliament is crucial to the process and negotiations, according to the Minister. She added: “This is not just a matter of good institutional cooperation. If the European Council reaches an agreement this week, our work does not stop. We will continue our engagement to ensure that the Parliament has before it a deal which it is in a position to endorse.”
Additionally, other items that will be on the agenda over the coming days at the European Council meetings include trade relations with partners such as the US, Canada and Japan and EU relations with Southern Mediterranean partners in the context of the Arab Spring and the situation in Mali.