Background

Ireland: EU Presidency & 2013 FACE Members' Meeting

Ireland is set to assume the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to (end of) June 2013. This will be the seventh occasion on which Ireland has held the Presidency and it occurs on the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the Union. The rotating presidency is for the most part a ceremonial role whose duties mainly involve framing the EU’s agenda and chairing the various meetings of the EU Council of Ministers. However, the Presidency also plays a key role in the negotiations to reach inter-institutional agreements for the adoption of EU laws. The official Presidency website will launch this month: www.eu2013.ie.

The Irish Presidency’s priorities will need to focus on resolving the ongoing economic crisis gripping the EU – and notably the conclusion of the EU’s 2014-2020 Budget negotiations which will impact environmental and agricultural funds and future policy development.

In mid-November, EU Environment Commissioner Potočnik visited Ireland and alluded to environmental priorities including the greening of the Common Agricultural Policy, recognising more clearly the value of ecosystem services and public goods as well as the European Environment Action Programme (EAP) proposal which embodies “that it makes good economic sense to tackle environmental problems, improve resource efficiency, invest in natural capital and reduce environment-related health impacts”.

The 2013 FACE Members Meeting will take place in Ireland during the country’s EU Presidency, from 20-24 March, with an action-packed agenda and high-level Irish Ministerial attendance expected.

Participants should arrive on Wednesday 20 March. The Meetings will take place on Thursday 21 and Friday 22, with a spectacular excursion being planned for Saturday 23 and departures advised on Sunday 24 March. A preliminary programme and booking form will be circulated soon. FACE Delegates are encouraged to engage their professional staff in this Members Meeting in the interests of enhancing implementation.