It is the case that the budgetary processes of all EU member states, including Ireland, are being influenced to an increasing extent by requirements at a European level. The introduction of a European semester in 2011 for example has led to the publication of the annual Stability Programme Update in April of each year. The purpose of these new arrangements is to allow for a more intensive period of peer review of member states' budgetary plans, thereby facilitating a greater degree of budgetary coordination across the EU.
The European Council is currently finalising an overall package of economic governance reforms, including the so-called "six-pack" and "two-pack", which will have further implications for the budget and Estimates processes.
The "two-pack" regulations being discussed in Europe propose a common budgetary timeline that includes the presentation of a draft budget by 15 October each year. However, trilogue negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council only commenced recently and it appears that it is extremely unlikely that the regulations will be adopted in time for this year's budgetary cycle.
As to the wider budgetary process, I will consult closely with my colleague, the Minister for Finance, on arrangements for all budgetary and fiscal announcements for the remainder of the year.