The over-arching objective of the Irish Presidency is a people-centered recovery, designed to last. The pressing priority for the Union is economic growth leading to employment for those affected by the crisis after the recent years of devastating job losses. Key areas for progress will be Banking Union and financial services reform, coupled with improved economic coordination through the European Semester process.
In tandem with this, the Irish Presidency will place a spotlight on youth unemployment and two flagship initiatives will be the Youth Employment Guarantee and Social Investment Packages and secure agreement on decisions in the areas of health, mobility and education.
A healthy environment, air quality and the follow-up Durban Climate Change negotiations will be a third priority for health. Environment and energy Ministers will meet to discuss the human health impact of air pollution.
Among the overall priorities of the Irish Presidency will be the EU response to the financial crisis and the European Semester. The release of the Annual Growth Survey in January will shape the discussions in several council formations.
Another key objective is the finalisation of the negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MAFF). In particular, CAP and Common Fishery Policy Reform, Horizon 2020, and Cohesion policy
Advancing the digital agenda, furthering the Single Market, and reducing administrative burdens are about of the Irish Strategy to boost competitiveness in the EU.
The European Year for Citizens will be high profile as 2013 is also the 40th anniversary of Ireland’s accession to the EU.
The key priorities of the Irish Presidency include:
Tackling the issue of youth joblessness through a Youth Employment Package.
Enhancing job creation and social cohesion through progressing proposals for the European Social Fund (ESF), the Programme for Social Change and Innovation (PSCI) and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).
Facilitating citizen mobility by advancing proposals on key issues such as portability of pensions and the posting of workers.
The Irish Presidency will prioritise making solid progress on a number of key legislative dossiers in health– proposals on tobacco products, cross-border health threats, clinical trials, medical devices and health for growth.
Tobacco In the revision of the tobacco products directive, Health Ministers will aim to ensure that tobacco products lose their attractiveness to children and young people. In addition to the human cost of this level of preventable illness there is a major economic cost. Treating patients with tobacco related illnesses is a massive but avoidable cost to the health budget. Tobacco consumption also has wider negative implications for the economy – absenteeism from the workplace, loss in productivity and early retirement.
Health for Growth The Irish Presidency is fully committed to concluding agreement on the proposal and is working with Parliament once there is a decision on the Multiannaul Financial Framework..
Serious Cross Border Health Threats The current proposal on “Serious Cross Border Health Threats” represents another important step in building our defences against these threats. The Irish Presidency aims to reach first reading agreement with the European Parliament and the Commission. This legislative Decision is an important public health measure and in particular it will provide a legal basis for the joint procurement of vaccines and other medical counter measures to protect citizens from pandemics.
Clinical Trials The facility to carry out safe clinical trials in Europe is critical to maintaining a strong pharmaceutical industry in Europe, by reducing the administrative burden and costs on sponsors. The dossier will be discussed during the Irish Preisdency with an aims of reaching a first reading agreement.
Medical Devices The Presidency is also committed to making progress on two proposals for regulations on Medical Devices and In-Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices which were published by the Commission in September 2012. The aim of the proposed regulations is to provide an improved legislative framework for the manufacture and placing on the market of both medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devices.
Transparency of measures regulating the prices of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of public health insurance systems The Irish Presidency has closely followed the discussions in the European Parliament on the Transparency Directive. The Irish presidency will aim to achieve a negotiating mandate by qualified majority in the Council, using the o outcomes of the vote by the Plenary as a starting point.
A number of key events will be held throughout the year including:
January 2013: Presentation by Ireland’s Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, to the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee
14 February 2013: Engagement of EU in international health fora (WHO), Reflection Process (including work on Modern, Responsive & Sustainable Healthcare Systems), update on activities and developments of EU Health Strategy.
04-05 March 2013: Informal Ministerial Meeting on patient safety, childhood obesity and the impact of the economic crisis on EU health systems.
13-15 May 2013: eHealth Conference in Dublin (Ireland) and ‘Week of the Brain’ – Conference on the Future of Brain Research in Europe, co-organised with the Commissioner for Research and Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn