Written Answers. - European Council Meetings.

Síle de Valera

Question:

45 Miss de Valera asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the European Council meetings that are scheduled to take place during Ireland's EU Presidency. [4891/96]

One formal meeting of the European Council is scheduled to be held in Ireland during the Presidency. It will be held in Dublin Castle on 13-14 December. As I indicated in response to questions in this House on 6 February, the European Council had been scheduled to take place on 6-7 December. However, one member state indicated that it had difficulties with the proposed dates. In view of these difficulties and following consultations with all our partners, the dates of 13-14 December were agreed by all member states.

There is normally only one European Council during each Presidency.

However, from time to time, the evolution of the Union agenda may demand that a second European Council be convened during a Presidency. This happened during Ireland's last Presidency in 1990.
In his statement to the Dáil following the Turin European Council, the Taoiseach indicated his willingness to hold such a second European Council during the Irish Presidency if that was the wish of partners. The Taoiseach will be consulting further with his colleagues in the European Union and the President of the European Commission on this matter.
A full revised draft calendar of all Council meetings during the Irish Presidency will be lodged in the Oireachtas Library shortly for the information of all Deputies, together with an updated list of Presidency-related meetings to be held in Ireland.