Tuesday 23 January 2018

Gilmore 'got it right on Europe budget talks'

Greg Harkin and Fiach Kelly

THE European Parliament's chief negotiator on the EU budget has backed Eamon Gilmore after controversy over his handling of the talks.

Earlier this week, the Tanaiste was accused of "manipulation" by MEPs, for saying he had "concluded negotiations" with the European Parliament.

The parliament must pass the budget and Mr Gilmore pointed out that he had only concluded negotiations – but some MEPs took it that the Tanaiste was claiming the deal was done.

But MEP Alain Lamassoure, the chief negotiator, last night said that he had no issue with Mr Gilmore.

Although the delegation was not in a position to agree the final text unanimously, he said that he, as chief negotiator, was happy with it.

He said: "I want to praise Eamon Gilmore for the way he has conducted the negotiations regarding the multiannual financial framework from the side of the Irish presidency.

"In these very difficult negotiations on the most important topic for the European Union in the coming years, he has shown a great capacity for listening and he has shown proof of full loyalty towards his counterparts."

Mr Gilmore and Taoiseach Enda Kenny said they hoped agreement could be reached on the European Union's budget before the Irish presidency ended next week.

"The budget itself is not fully there and hasn't been signed off on.

"Europe always says no until it says yes and these things have a habit of going to the end line," Mr Kenny said.

Mr Gilmore said: "I hope it will be passed by the parliament because Europe needs that budget and we need a seven-year framework for universities, for example, to plan their research programmes, countries to plan their infrastructure programmes."

Irish Independent

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