Irish EU Presidency 2013 – Priorities

30/10/2012 at 1:33 pm 1 comment

On 1 January 2013, Ireland took over the rotating EU Presidency from Cyprus.

We have set out what this means for Ireland and here we have outlined the details of the Irish Development NGOs’ programme of work in relation to the Presidency – a programme focused heavily on the discussions on a post-2015 Development Framework.

(Read the Dóchas background document here – and have a look at our Events Calendar.)


The Irish Government has a dedicated website for the Presidency:, and the programme of the Irish Presidency was officially launched in Dublin on Wednesday 9 January

  • The overriding concern for the Irish Government is to “create the conditions for economic growth and job creation”, which should not come as any surprise, in light of the economic and financial crisis Europe finds itself in. An additional objective for Ireland will be “to restore confidence in, and stability of, the European economy”, through i.a. increased supervision of the banking sector and greater political cooperation.
  • The major issue on the Presidency’s agenda will be the negotiation of a new multi-annual budget for the EU itself (the “Multi-Annual Financial Framework”, or MFF). It is hoped that the main body of negotiations will be finalised during the Cypriot Presidency, which would leave it to the Irish Presidency to lead the negotiations about the “programming” of the EU’s “financial instruments” (the budget lines under each major heading).
    Dóchas have gathered some resources about these issues here)

In the area of the EU’s foreign policy, the Irish Government’s priorities can be summed up as follows:

  • “Beyond 2015” – The Irish Government has identified the September 2013 UN MDG review summit as the key priority in the area of Development Cooperation. Ireland wants to bring some structure into the various parallel discussions about the Post-2015 framework and the Sustainable Development Goals, and has identified the February 2013 Informal Meeting of EU Development Ministers as a key opportunity. The Government hopes that by the May 2013 EU Foreign Affairs Council, the EU will have arrived at a negotiation position for the September 2013 UN summit.
  • Another key objective in Development Cooperation for the Irish Government is “to break down the barriers” between relief, rehabilitation and development. The Government is planning a major conference, in April 2013, on Hunger, Nutrition and Climate Change.
  • Ireland hopes that one of the lasting messages from its EU Presidency is that “Development is not just for Development Ministers”. Expect there to be a strong focus on Hunger issues and on Policy Coherence for Development.
  • In addition, Ireland wants to infuse its Presidency with its traditional emphasis on partnership and consultation (see e.g. the Irish Aid civil society policy).

At a more practical level, the Irish Government will need to steer through a number of pieces of legislation. It expects that it will deliver:

  • Council Conclusions following a Commission Communication on Nutrition. (expected around April)
  • Ireland sees the recent Commission Communication on Resilience as a major entry point for its emphasis on Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development, and will insist on the development of an Action Plan to accompany the Communication.
  • Ireland will lead discussions about an Action Plan on the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, and the preparations for an evaluation of the EU Action Plan (the evaluation likely to take place during the Lithuanian Presidency).
  • Ireland will lead the discussions about the creation of the “EU Aid Volunteers” corps. Ireland supports the creation of the corpse in principle, provided that the way it is set up is consistent with the European Consensus and general principles of aid effectiveness and good humanitarian aid.

More details on all of the above (plus information on other policy areas) can be found here.

The members of Dóchas are currently developing their position paper for the EU Presidency, which we will post here as soon as it is finalised.

In the mean time, all relevant information about Dóchas’ work on the Presidency can be found at

Further reading:


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Irish Aid to Uganda suspended – Reactions Fact Sheet: The EU’s budget for Development and Humanitarian Aid

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