To prepare discussions on the growth agenda for the European Council on 28 and 29 June, President Van Rompuy convened an informal dinner meeting on 23 May, which I attended, for an open exchange of views. The Government has consistently argued that for Europe to move beyond its current difficulties, measures to ensure stability must be complemented and supported by an equal focus on the growth and jobs agenda. Ireland has much to gain from this debate and we are playing a full and active part in it. I set out my thinking on this when I spoke to President Van Rompuy by telephone ahead of the meeting. As I have already made a statement to the House on the outcome of the 23 May meeting, I will merely give a summary of its findings.
While we did not adopt any formal conclusions, there was sufficient consensus to enable President Van Rompuy to identify a number of key themes and issues for the discussion. First, it was clear that all member states subscribed to the view that actions aimed at growth must complement rather than detract from efforts to ensure fiscal consolidation. Second, the process of structural reform through the Europe 2020 process must continue. Third, President Van Rompuy identified the following pillars of growth: mobilising EU policies to fully support growth, including making urgent progress on important legislative proposals such as the Single Market Act and the energy efficiency directive; stepping up our efforts to finance the economy through investments and better access to credit, especially for SMEs, including project bonds and increasing the capital of the European Investment Bank for financing projects; and job creation involving better synergy between European and national instruments, including Structural Funds, to combat youth unemployment in particular. At the end of our meeting we also had a discussion on eurozone developments, including with regard to Greece and Spain. There was strong support for Greece remaining a part of the eurozone and an equally strong wish to see it press ahead with implementation of its programme.
I had no formal bilateral meetings while at the informal European Council meeting on 23 May. With regard to my other recent bilateral contacts, I spoke by telephone to President Hollande on 9 May and congratulated him on his victory in the presidential elections in France. Our discussion focused on the stability treaty referendum and the reorientation of the European agenda towards a strong growth future. I also spoke to President Hollande on 1 June following the outcome of the stability treaty referendum.
As the House will be aware, I met Prime Minister Cameron in London on 12 March. In addition to our joint statement, we discussed a range of other issues over the course of our meeting, including the economy and Europe. We are both firm supporters of the Single Market and will continue to consult each other on key EU policy issues. We also discussed the most recent European Council and we strongly agreed that growth and jobs should remain at the centre of the EU's agenda. We briefly discussed the financial transaction tax and I repeated the Government's clearly held position that it could not be allowed to introduce competitive distortions. I updated Prime Minister Cameron on the stability treaty and on the referendum. I explained our position regarding our efforts to reduce the costs to the State as a result of promissory notes. I was pleased by his comments in support of our continuing efforts in pursuit of our economic recovery. I also met him at the British-Irish Council summit in Edinburgh on Friday, 22 June.
I spoke by telephone to Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Monti, Prime Minister Rajoy, President Van Rompuy and President Barroso on 1 June to convey the result of the referendum on the stability treaty. I wrote to the new Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Antonis Samaras, to congratulate him on his success in the recent elections and to wish him and his new Government well in their endeavours. In addition, I met all my European Council colleagues, including Prime Minister Juncker, President Van Rompuy and President Barroso, at the European Council Summit meeting in Brussels on 28 and 29 June. As I will be making a full statement on the June European Council tomorrow, I will not go into detail now.
Conclusions for the June European Council were prepared in the normal way and Ireland set out its views and proposed amendments in the usual manner. Building on our work on 23 May, last week's meeting decided on a compact for growth and jobs, which is intended to provide a coherent framework for action at national, EU and euro area levels. This is a very welcome development. The Government has been actively working towards this for some time now. The compact has the potential to boost investment in the Union by approximately €120 billion, or 1% of GNI. This will be done through the mobilisation of the European Investment Bank, with €10 billion in extra capital, project bonds and the Structural Funds. The Government succeeded in ensuring the investment will be available to all member states, regardless of size.
The meeting also invited President Van Rompuy to develop further the ideas in his report, Towards a Genuine Economic and Monetary Union. This report set out the four essential building blocks for the future economic and monetary union, as follows: an integrated financial framework, an integrated budgetary framework, an integrated economic policy framework, and strengthened democratic legitimacy and accountability. President Van Rompuy will now develop, in close collaboration with the President of the European Commission, the president of the eurogroup and the President of the European Central Bank, a specific time-bound roadmap for the achievement of a genuine economic and monetary union. He will examine what can be done within the current treaties and which measures would require treaty change. Member states will be closely associated with and regularly consulted on these considerations. An interim report will be presented at the October European Council and a final report will issue by the end of the year.
Last week's European Council concluded the second European semester by endorsing country-specific recommendations. Leaders also addressed the external aspects of the EU's economic policy and considered how the EU can deepen its trade and investment relationships with key partners. In addition, the European Council also discussed the new multi-annual financial framework and took stock of progress in major justice and home affairs files, including Schengen governance and asylum, as well as nuclear energy, safety and security issues. Consideration was also given to the evolving situation in Syria.
A euro summit meeting took place after the discussion of 27 June on Thursday night into Friday morning. The outcome of this meeting was of particular significance, with leaders of the euro area affirming that it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns, which is precisely what the Irish Government had sought going into the meeting. Towards this end, euro area leaders agreed that work should be advanced urgently on a single supervisory mechanism for banks, following which the ESM could be enabled to directly recapitalise banks. As Deputies will recall, this is something that the Government has sought for some time. In a development of great significance for this country and its taxpayers, it was agreed that the eurogroup will now examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to improving further the sustainability of the well-performing adjustment programme. This work will start at the eurogroup meeting next week. Importantly, the principle that similar cases will be treated equally has been fully established and agreed. This was a vindication of the approach the Government has taken to negotiating with partners on lessening the load on the Irish taxpayer resulting from banking, including that arising from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, IBRC, promissory note. It reflects the urgency of the need to deal definitively with the link between banking and sovereign debt as set out in the letter I wrote to my European Council colleagues ahead of last week's meeting. I am confident that what has now been agreed will be of significant benefit to Ireland and Irish taxpayers over the years to come.
I have not yet finalised plans for foreign visits outside of the European Council for the rest of this year, although I will attend the European Council meetings on 18 and 19 October and 13 and 14 December.