Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Ceisteanna (98, 99, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 119, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

98. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his discussions at the EU summit in Brussels on 26 and 27 June; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28977/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

99. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his participation in events to mark the start of the First World War 100 years ago. [28978/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

105. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the June Council meeting discussions on the six pack and two pack; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29035/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

106. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the discussion held at the June EU Council meeting on regulatory fitness and the REFIT programme; if he made a contribution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29036/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

107. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he made a contribution at the June EU Council meeting when there was a discussion on climate change; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29037/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

108. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the discussions at the EU Council meeting on energy security across the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29038/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

109. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the concerns the UK raised at the June EU Council meeting about the future development of the EU; if they will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29039/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

110. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the discussions on the digital single market at the June EU Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29041/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

111. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the discussion at the EU Council meeting on the abrogation of the excessive deficit procedure for several member states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29042/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

112. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the discussion at the June EU Council meeting on the EU fiscal framework and fiscal discipline; if he made a contribution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29043/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

119. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he had bilateral meetings around the June EU Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29212/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

121. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding the June EU Council discussion on freedom, security and justice policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29214/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

122. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he made a contribution at the EU Council meeting when the discussion took place on intensifying operational co-operation while using information and communication technologies across EU agencies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29215/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

123. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding the common European asylum system that was discussed at the June EU Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29216/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

124. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding the discussion on smart border management at the June EU Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29217/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

125. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding the discussions that were held at the June EU Council meeting on freedom of movement across EU states and misuse or fraudulent claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29218/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

126. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach the position regarding the discussions on youth unemployment, poverty and social exclusion at the June EU Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29219/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Taoiseach)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98, 99, 105 to 112, inclusive, 119 and 121 to 126, inclusive, together.

I attended the European Council meeting in Ypres and Brussels on 26 & 27 June. I reported to the House on the outcomes of the Council in a comprehensive statement on 2 July. The Conclusions adopted by the European Council give a full account of the outcome of discussion and are a public record. I took an active part in the discussions at the summit representing the Irish positions on the various matters discussed. While I did not have any separate bilateral meetings, I did of course see all of my colleagues at the meeting.

Along with colleagues I was proud to represent Ireland at the commemorative ceremony in Ypres which preceded the European Council meeting. It was a solemn occasion and a moment to remember all those who perished in the war.

The main outcomes of the Summit were the nomination of Jean Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission, agreement on a strategic agenda for the EU for the coming period and the adoption of strong conclusions on Ukraine. Leaders also agreed Council Conclusions on justice and home affairs, the European Semester, Regulatory Reform, Climate Change and Energy. In addition, Association Agreements were signed with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia and leaders endorsed candidate status for Albania, the EU’s Maritime Security Strategy and the annual report on EU official development assistance.

The Strategic Agenda which was agreed by Heads of State and Government is an important document. It identifies the priorities which will guide the work of the European Union over the next five years across the following five areas: (1) jobs, growth and competitiveness, (2) empowering and protecting all EU citizens, (3) climate policy, (4) freedom, security and justice, and (5) the EU's external relations. In this context the need to fully exploit the potential of the single market, including completing the digital single market by 2015, is highlighted. The Strategic Agenda also recognises the need to tackle poverty and social exclusion. We have to step up the fight against youth unemployment and seek to unlock opportunities for all. Overall I am pleased that the Strategic Agenda reflects a clear commitment to strengthening the economic recovery across Europe. The European Council conclusions also call for the growth supporting potential of the EU’s fiscal framework to be used and for best use to be made of the flexibility built into the existing Stability and Growth Pact rules. This is welcome.

I was pleased to join with my European Council colleagues in welcoming the abrogation of the excessive deficit procedure for Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovakia. We also noted that the Commission will report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the application of the EU’s governance framework – the 6 Pack and the 2 Pack - by 14 December 2014.

Under the European Semester discussions Heads of State and Government reviewed progress made in the area of regulatory fitness and agreed that this should remain a priority in the work of the EU institutions. Again I welcome this.

Given time constraints the European Council held only a brief discussion of the climate and energy framework for 2020. Leaders took stock of the work underway to reach agreement at latest by October on the new climate and energy policy framework. It is clear that a lot of work remains to be done to address the challenges associated with climate change at the EU level.

On Energy Security the European Council welcomed the Commission's European Energy Security Strategy (EESS) and held a first discussion on that basis.

The European Council also adopted new strategic guidelines on Justice and Home Affairs. These guidelines were prepared over the last year, including at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 5-6 June, which was attended by Minister Fitzgerald. Asylum, border management and using information and communication technologies across the EU agencies were some of the issues covered in the guidelines. They also reaffirm the right of EU citizens to move freely and reside and work in other Member States as a fundamental freedom of the Union, which needs to be protected including from misuse.

Finally, the European Council Conclusions note that the UK has raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU and that these concerns will need to be addressed. The conclusions also note that there are different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further. The ongoing debate on the EU within the UK is, of course, an issue of real importance for Ireland. My Government will remain highly engaged in this area.

Questions Nos. 100 to 102, inclusive, answered with Question No. 97.