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Taoiseach and Tánaiste travel to Brussels for an in-depth exchange with the European Commission

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and other members of the Government, will travel to Brussels today for an in-depth exchange with the European Commission led by President Barroso.

This is the first major engagement by the Government in the run-up to the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and tomorrow's discussions will feed into the preparation by Ministers for the Council formations they will chair in the first six months of next year.

The discussions will cover the issues that are likely to feature prominently on the EU agenda during the Irish presidency, among them banking union, the EU's budget for 2014-2020, the development of the Single Market, trade relations, the Digital Agenda, and reform of the Common Agricultural and Common Fisheries Policies.

The Irish Government will underline the need for stability in the Eurozone as a pre-requisite to advancing policies that can contribute most to European growth and jobs.

The European response to the ongoing challenges in the euro area, as well as Ireland's recovery are also expected to be analysed in some depth.

Ireland's Presidency begins on 1st January 2013, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Ireland's accession to the European Union.