Ireland’s EU Presidency is an opportunity to shape the thinking on how to end world poverty

03/01/2013 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

On New Year’s Day, Ireland’s six-month presidency of the EU began.

The EU Presidency isn’t what it used to be since the Lisbon Treaty: unlike before, when the rotating Presidency allowed individual Member States to set the agenda, the real power now rests with the EU’s President of the Council Herman van Rompuy (and in areas of foreign policy with the High Representative, Ms. Catherine Ashton).

But the rotating Presidency still provides a unique opportunity to ‘flavour’, rather than ‘set’, the EU’s work programme.

Irish NGOs feel that the Presidency gives Ireland an opportunity to press for a strong, European vision for a fairer and more sustainable world.

The year 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s entry into the EU, and the Tánaiste in this article makes the case that EU membership has transformed Ireland. Ireland’s experience as a member of the European community is a good reminder of the value and importance of international cooperation and facing challenges together. In today’s global community, promoting a safer, more secure world is not just good in itself, but good for Ireland and Europe, too.

Irish NGOs also highlight the fact that our prosperity depends on global stability and international cooperation. Dóchas calls on the Government to make it its new year’s resolution to champion progress towards a more equitable and sustainable Ireland, Europe and wider world during the EU presidency.

It is worth noting that the Irish Government is trying to give its Presidency a real development flavour by hosting the Informal Development Ministers meeting in February, by organising a high-level conference on Climate Justice and Nutrition and by focusing strongly on the ‘post-2015 development framework’.

Irish NGOs have initiated the ‘World We Want’ campaign to lobby for a strong EU negotiating position going September’s UN summit to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

This year is European Year of the Citizen, a year to celebrate the vital role that people working together play in shaping a better Europe. The World We Want campaign is bringing together the voices of Irish civil society organisations working on issues both at home and abroad in order that the new UN deal in September will an ambitious, truly global deal that puts human rights of all and the participation of those living in poverty at its centre.

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