Written Answers. - EU Presidency.

Ivor Callely


549 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Social Welfare the projected number of visits which he will undertake between now and the end of December 1996, in the context of Ireland's Presidency of the EU, to EU member destinations, other European destinations, North American destinations, African destinations and other destinations; the total cost of such travel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16643/96]

In the context of Ireland's Presidency of the EU, the following are the projected visits abroad from now to end-December 1996.



Purpose of Visit

12-13 October


Meeting with Finnish Minister for Social Affairs to discuss the EU Social Affairs matters in the context of the Irish Presidency agenda.

17 October


Address to a conference hosted by the European Anti-Poverty Network on the occasion of the World Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Also meeting with the European Platform of Seniors' Organisations and the European Federation of Retired and Elderly Persons to discuss social rights for the elderly in the context of the Intergovernmental Conference.

23 October


Address to a plenary session of the European Parliament.

2 December


Attending Social Affairs Council meeting.

Meetings with the German Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, the German Minister of State for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and the UK Secretary of State for Social Security are being arranged for dates yet to be confirmed. It is not possible, at this point, to give details of the total cost involved.
As the Deputy is aware, our social protection systems are facing a time of unprecedented pressure and change. The purpose of these visits is to further the social welfare priorities of this Government, in the context of Ireland's Presidency of the EU, and to build on the consensus achieved at the informal meeting of EU Ministers for Social Protection on 10-11 July 1996 — namely, the need to ensure that social protection systems contribute positively and actively to the fight against unemployment.