Taxpayers money will be spent wisely during EU Presidency – Breen

February 22nd, 2012 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael Clare TD and Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pat Breen, said today (Wednesday) that the Government would spend tax payers money wisely during Ireland’s tenure as President of the European Union.

“Ireland’s hosting of the EU Presidency provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase this country throughout the EU. We’ve hosted the EU Presidency on six previous occasions and each time we have been applauded for the role we’ve played in progressing significant developments for Member States. In 1990, we dealt with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany; in 1996 we oversaw vital decisions in preparation of the Amsterdam Treaty and in 2004 we lead the discussions on EU expansion to include the Eastern Bloc countries.

“Contrary to recent reports, this Government will be talking a prudent approach to hosting the EU Presidency next year by spending less than other Member States, and less than that spent by the previous Government.

“We intend to spend much less than the considerable bill ran up by the previous Fianna Fáil Government in 2004. Up to €95 million was expended in 2004 on the EU Presidency; €64 million was allocated in the Estimates of that year for the EU Presidency, while €15.3 million was spent in 2003 in the lead up to the event.

“This Government will instead be taking the Danish approach; the Danes allocated €35 million from their centralised budget for Presidency activities, with ministries also expected to assume further costs from within their own budgets. We intend to take a similar tack, by relying far more on existing resources next year, compared to