Thursday, June 6, 2013
I am spending some time in Dublin again this summer, which has made me more aware of Ireland's Presidency of the Council of European Union (EU). The EU Presidency rotates among the 27 Member States every six months. This is Ireland's 7th time holding the Presidency and it comes at a time when Ireland is celebrating 40 years a member of the EU. During Ireland's Presidency, many of the relevant meetings are being held at the historic and beautiful Dublin Castle, which means that the Castle is not as available for tourists. The Irish Presidency covers a wide variety of issues, including justice, business expansion, immigration, environmental protection, fisheries policy and the fight against terrorism.
For example, yesterday, Ireland announced agreement on a key reform to the Common Fisheries Policy. Today, Ireland announced that an agreement had been reached among the appropriate EU bodies to expand the ban of mercury and cadmium in batteries. This now complete ban will reduce the amount of cadmium and mercury that is extracted, transported and released into the environment with attendant health benefits.
Lithuania will take on the rotating Presidency post for the first time as of July 1. It is expected to inherit a record number of legislative measures to be considered. Lithuania's President has said that economic matters will be the main priority. Lithuania is expected to bring an "Eastern" focus to the EU, with a focus on closer relations with the EU's Eastern neighbors, including the conclusion of an association agreement between the EU and the Ukraine and efforts to improve the situation with Belarus.
For more informaton about Ireland's Presidency of the EU, click here.