First Address By Minister Highlights Priorities For Future

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Union Affairs has been told that serious efforts have been made over the past number of years to increase the transparency of the European Union, and to address the perceived democratic deficiencies or ‘democratic deficit’.

Addressing the Committee, Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton said that members of the Government has been availing of every appropriate opportunity to meet their European counterparts and to engage fully with the European Union.

Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland told the Committee that back in 2006, and before the Lisbon Treaty, the European Commission introduced new channels of open dialogue with national Parliaments, notably through the introduction of an informal communication mechanism known as the ‘Political Dialogue’.

Francis Jacobs, Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland, said European Parliament has a much more powerful role since the Lisbon Treaty and together with the European Council co-decides on nearly all draft legislation and it is important that we continue to engage and to improve dialogue.

Joe Costello, Chairman of the Committee on European Union Affairs, said: “As I said when I was elected Chairman of this Committee, the Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty showed how disconnected Ireland had become from Europe. The European Affairs Committee will open up communication with the Irish People on EU issues. It is also important that in our role as parliamentarians that we play our part in engaging with our European colleagues and I would hope that this Committee will play an important role in informing debate on the European Union in Ireland.”

The Chairman aded: “I would like to thank Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland, and Francis Jacobs, Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland, for taking the time to appear before the Committee. As we agree a work programme for this committee, it is important to hear first hand from key stakeholders in relation to European Union Affairs.”


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