Kenny in Brussels for EU budget talks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today represent Ireland at a meeting of Europe’s four presidents to negotiate the EU budget.

More than one month into Ireland’s six-month term as president of the Council of the EU, Mr Kenny will travel to Brussels for talks on the union’s multi-annual budget.

“The European Council made good progress at its meeting in November, but did not manage to reach full agreement on the EU budget for the next seven years,” a spokesman at the Department of Taoiseach said.

The Taoiseach will meet the other three EU chiefs – European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

As president of the EU, it is Ireland’s responsibility to engage with the parliament to agree an overall seven-year budget.

It will also manage around 70 pieces of legislation needed to implement the budget across the EU’s many activities.

Mr Kenny will fly to Brussels today to hold the talks, which will continue at European Council level on February 7 and 8 under the chairmanship of Mr Van Rompuy.

Ireland took up the presidency of the EU on January 1. This is the seventh time the country has held the post. The last term was in 2004. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Ireland's joining the union.

The Taoiseach has insisted he will take advantage of the post to strike a deal with Europe on the country’s crippling debt burden.

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