Written Answers. - EU Presidency.

Seamus Brennan

Ceist:

121 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Finance the estimated total cost to his Department of all bulletins, pamphlets, newsletters, circulars arising from Ireland's Presidency of the EU; and the estimated total additional cost to his Department of Ireland's Presidency, indicating the major items of expense. [16391/96]

Ivor Callely

Ceist:

141 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Finance 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. [16636/96]

Ivor Callely

Ceist:

144 Mr. Callely asked the Minister for Finance if he will give details of the programme of meetings and dinner functions he intends to host in Ireland for the EU Council of Minister in the context of Ireland's Presidency of the EU; the venues for such functions; the numbers attending; the basis on which the venue was chosen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16677/96]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121, 141 and 144 together.

As regards the total additional cost of the Presidency to my Department, a total of £500,000 has been provided for under subhead A9 of the 1996 estimates for the Office of the Minister for Finance. A detailed breakdown is not available at this stage. The major items of expense include the hosting of the informal ECOFIN Council of Minister in Dublin, the hosting in Ireland and abroad of other meetings and events associated with the Presidency, increased levels of travel by me and the officials of my Department, and additional staff costs arising. No bulletins, pamphlets, newsletters or circulars have been issued by my Department in connection with the Presidency.

My programme of visits as Chairman of the ECOFIN Council of Ministers between now and 31 December 1996 is as follows:

26 September:

European Chairmen's Symposium, Versailles;

27 September:

Conference of the European Parliament and European Commission on Common Currency, Berlin;

1, 2, 3 October:

IMF World Bank annual meeting, Washington;

14 October:

ECOFIN Council meeting, Luxembourg;

11 November:

ECOFIN Council meeting, Brussels;

22 November:

European Banking Congress, Frankfurt;

2 December:

ECOFIN Council meeting, Brussels.

In addition, the Minister of State at my Department as Chairman of the EU Budget Council has the following programme:

21, 22 October:

European Parliament for 2nd reading of the draft 1997 budget, Strasbourg;

19 November:

Budget Council meeting, Brussels;

12 December:

Adoption of the 1997 budget by the European Parliament, Strasbourg.

A Minister of State from my Department will also be representing the Presidency at the following events:

1 October:

European Parliament Conference on EU Regional and Local Authorities, Brussels;

4 October:

Commission Conference on Public Utilities, Liberalisation and Consumers, Rome.

Other visits, including in particular meetings with committees of the European Parliament will also require to be undertaken by me and the Ministers of State at my Department in the context of Ireland's EU Presidency during the period in question. Full details are not available at this time. As regards events hosted in Ireland for the EU Council of Ministers, as Chairman of the ECOFIN Council of Ministers, I hosted the informal ECOFIN Council in Dublin from 20-22 September. The total number of delegates attending was 140. A copy of the programme for this event is set out above. The venues were chosen on the basis of their general suitability for the particular requirements of this event. I will also be hosting a dinner on 13 December for the ECOFIN Council of Ministers during the European Council in Dublin. No venue has yet been arranged for this.