Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (475)

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

589 Mr. O'Connor asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to report on his Department's activities in respect of Ireland's EU Presidency; if he will outline his plans for the next few months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1215/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

As I have previously advised the House, I am responsible for a wide range of EU Presidency business across the sectoral policy areas of telecommunications, energy, broadcasting, fisheries, maritime transport and maritimesafety. I also hold commensurate chairing responsibilities for the agriculture and fisheries, transport, energy and telecommunications and education, youth and culture council formations.

There will be several ministerial and non-ministerial meetings in Ireland during the forthcoming Presidency. Among the conferences arranged for Ireland to date in my area of responsibility are: 1-3 March, informal ministerial meeting on broadcasting; 11 March, informal ministerial conference on sustainable fishing; 6 and 7 April, meeting of directors general (fisheries); 21, 22 and 23 April, informal meeting of Communications Ministers (dealing with broadband demand and stimulation); 25-26 April, conference for directors general, maritime transport; 26 April, international conference for the exploration of the seas; 11-14 May, EurOcean scientific conference.

I am working to deliver on policy priorities at EU level during the Presidency within the Government's overall strategic approach to the EU. These priorities are: the development and exploitation of broadband infrastructure and services; regulation of satellite television broadcasters; review of Television Without Frontiers Directive; ensuring a reliable and secure energy supply for the Union and that the principle of sustainable development is fully integrated into energy policies in order to ensure the protection of our environment; promotion of the use of renewable energy sources, coupled with increased efficiency and conservation of energy; advancing the proposed directive introducing criminal sanctions for pollution offences, designation of certain maritime areas as a particularly sensitive sea area, or PSSA, to strengthen its protection of particularly vulnerable areas against marine pollution incidents; advancement of safeguards for seafarers and their working conditions and adding of anti-pollution and ship security responsibilities to the remit of the European Maritime Safety Agency; establishment of regional advisory councils on fisheries; advance the development of environment-friendly fishing methods in EU fisheries, recovery plans for endangered fish stocks.

Question No. 590 answered with QuestionNo. 588.