I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 181 together.
The Government decided on 14 July to initiate a process of discussions with the other EU member states and EU institutions with a view to seeking official and working status for the Irish language in the EU under Regulation 1 of 1958. The regulation is the legal instrument that governs the official and working language regime of the EU institutions. As a first step, we have undertaken initial bilateral discussions in Brussels with representatives of other member states and EU institutions. These discussions are ongoing and once they have progressed sufficiently to clarify the issues arising, as well as practical options in relation to achieving its objective, the Government will decide how it can most effectively proceed further, including the tabling of a formal proposal, with this matter.
The outcome and length of negotiations on this matter cannot be predicted with certainty. Unanimity among the 25 member states is required for amendment to Regulation 1 of 1958 which governs the language regime of the Union. The Government is determined to try to make early progress in this matter.