Published on 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny to attend meeting of the European Council

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today attend a meeting of the European Council in Brussels, where he will take part in discussions on a number of important and pressing issues including economy, security, migration and the situation in Western Balkans.

EU leaders will discuss efforts to further boost jobs, growth and competitiveness across the Union, including through the negotiation of trade agreements, and progressing the Single Market and the Digital Single Market. Discussions will also cover progress in implementing the security and defence aspects of the EU Global Strategy. Ireland is a strong supporter of initiatives, through the EU Common Security and Defence Policy, which add value and which improve the capacity of the Union to contribute to international peace and security, particularly in support of the UN.

EU leaders will also decide who will be the President of the European Council for the next two and a half years.

On Friday, 10 March, the 27 leaders will meet to prepare the Rome celebration, which will take place on 25 March for the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. A political discussion will be held on the content of the Rome declaration on the future of the EU that they are expected to adopt in Rome.

Speaking in advance of the meetings, the Taoiseach said:

The March European Council has a broad-ranging agenda. Obviously efforts to address migration remain a central priority for the Union. However, it is also important to note the gradual improvement in the EU's economic performance, where all 28 Member States have now recorded growth, and where unemployment is falling - particularly in Ireland where it has come down to 6.7%. It is vital that we continue our efforts to bed down the recovery.

Discussions on the future direction of Europe are also crucial, particularly as we respond to the various challenges we face. We must remain united at 27, focus on our core values that remain central to our peace and prosperity, and cooperate in areas where we agree and where Europe can add value. Completing the Single Market and supporting jobs through trade are good examples of where Europe really works for citizens, and I will be emphasising these points in discussions over the next two days.

The Taoiseach will be accompanied by European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy.