Week’s events: GAC, European Council & Dublin’s Pride

29th June, 2014

This week was dominated by the first European Council to take place since the European Parliament elections were held last month. Earlier in the week, on Monday and Tuesday, I attended the General Affairs Council (GAC) which was held this time in Luxembourg; something that only happens three times a year.

The job of the GAC is to prepare the work for the European Council to follow so the focus of this month’s GAC was on the Strategic Agenda and political priorities of the EU for the next five years. Ensuring that we continue to seek the most effective ways of creating jobs across Europe is key to the work that must be undertaken in the coming years.

So too is listening to the message that came though from the European Parliament elections in terms of the price people have paid following the economic crisis.

On Thursday and Friday, I attended the European Council with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, the first day of which was held in Ypres and the second in Brussels. This weekend we commemorate the 100th anniversary since the start of World War 1. With this in mind, a commemorative ceremony was held in Ypres on Thursday evening to remember those who gave their lives between 1914 and 1918.

On Friday, the Council signed Association Agreements with Georgia and with the Republic of Moldova and signed the remainder of the Agreement with Ukraine that was first initiated back in March.

A Strategic Agenda for the Union was agreed among the leaders of the 28 Member States for the five year period ahead and Jean Claude Juncker was nominated as the next President of the European Commission.

The Council will meet again next month to further advance the work agenda of the EU during this time of renewal and transition for the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament.

On Saturday I took the family in to March with Fine Gael in Dublin’s Pride Parade. There was a fantastic turnout, expression of individuality and celebration of diversity as the city, and the country, gears up for a referendum next year on marriage equality for same sex couples.