European & International News

The Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union unveils its priorities

[Brussels, 11 January 2013] On 01 January 2013, Ireland took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). The new presidency will focus on securing stability, ensuring that ithis can lead to jobs
and growth.

The core principles that will guide Ireland in its six-month term are:

  • People-centered recovery, designed to last
  • Investment in job-friendly growth and in Europe’s resources
  • Europe and the world: a win-win engagement with our partners

The pressing priority is economic growth, that should in turns lead to employment. Youth unemployment will be a particular focus.

In terms of Equality between women and men, the new Presidency recalls that it is a fundamental and core value of the EU, but there is also a strong economic case for advancing gender equality. Ireland plans to focus on three main areas of concern:

  • “Women’s Economic Engagement and the Europe 2020 Agenda”, linking to the employment target of 75% for women and men by 2020;
  • Improve the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges (the socalled Directive on Women on Boards);
  • Women as decision-makers in the media.

The European women’s Lobby counts on the Irish Presidency of the EU to be strong on women’s rights and gender equality and recalls its eight priorities proposed in this field:

  1. Ensure no deterioration in the level and predictability of EU funding for activities on women’s rights and gender equality within the final decision on the EU Multi-annual Financial Framework 2014-2020;
  2. Take a leadership role in the Council negotiations to advance the adoption of the revised maternity leave Directive;
  3. Bring back the issue of violence against women on the political agenda of the EU;
  4. Support the proposal and adoption of efficient binding EU-level legislation to reach parity on company boards;
  5. Change legislation in order to reach the highest standards of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including sexual education and information for all young people;
  6. Stress that the economic independence of women is a condition for equality between women and men throughout their lives and that it includes, among others: quality employment, gender pay, pension and poverty gaps, accessible and affordable care, social and health services. These issues should be at the core of all mechanisms of the EU 2020 Strategy;
  7. Take a leadership role in developing targets and standards on quality and affordable care services across the life-cycle for children, dependent and elderly persons;
  8. Take a leadership role in the Council negotiations to progress towards the adoption of the draft Directive on combating discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, age, disability or sexual orientation, including regarding the need to examine causes of multiple discrimination.

You can read the priorities of the Irish Presidency here.

You can read EWL priorities for the Irish Presidency here.

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