Taoiseach travels to Brussels for EU budget talks
The Taoiseach and Tanaiste travel Brussels today for top-level negotiations on European expenditure for the next seven years.
Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, will meet President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission and President Martin Schulz of the European Parliament to discuss a crucial piece of legislation - the EU's Multi Annual Financial Framework (MFF).
The summit will take place in the Commission's Berlaymont building in Brussels.
The objective is to press for early agreement on the MFF - an essential programme of investment in European growth, jobs and recovery.
The current MFF period started in 2007 and comes to an end this year.
The new framework governs spending of some €960bn in EU funds over the years 2014 to 2020 and defines the maximum amounts available for each major category of spending. It provides a political as well as budgetary outline for focusing resources and investments.
In February European leaders finally agreed to the budget deal after a marathon 25-and-a-half hour negotiation session in Brussels.
The next step is to secure the agreement of the Parliament to the MFF, which will allow this money to be spent.
The Taoiseach and Tanaiste will also be discussing the amending budget for 2013 and will be looking to reach agreement on how both the MFF and the amending budget can be advanced in parallel.
In a statement, a government spokesman said it was hoped that the meeting would help to secure early agreement on these issues.