Ireland’s Permanent Representation in Brussels
With over 80 staff from almost all Irish Government Departments, Ireland’s Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels (PRB) is the largest overseas mission run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The PRB team works to secure Ireland’s interests within the EU, engaging in ongoing complex negotiations and consultations on the development of EU legislation. This involves extensive dealings with Member States, the Commission, the European Parliament and a host of other interests.
2015 was a challenging year in Brussels on several levels. Issues that arose included the Greek fiscal crisis, mass migration and refugee arrivals into Europe, international terrorism and the continuing conflict in Syria. These and other problems challenged the resilience of the EU’s internal free movement area and the Euro currency. Also, the UK- Ireland’s closest trading partner- began talks with the EU towards the end of 2015 on the terms for its domestic referendum on whether or not to remain in the Union.
Brussels in Numbers 2015
12: Meetings of EU leaders, seven of which were emergency meetings.
20: Meetings between Eurogroup finance ministers, nine of which were extra meetings dealing with Greece and the Eurozone.
11: Meetings of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) ministers, six of which were emergency meetings.
The PRB ensured that Irish positions were put forward clearly on all these issues. PRB staff also worked to ensure a robust, stable and safe EU and a sturdy Euro currency - both being preconditions for Ireland’s continued prosperity. This work included:
- Participating in multi-party talks to secure continued financial support for Greece, achieving our aim of reinforcing the integrity of the common currency and restoring stability.
- Affirming Ireland’s acceptance of 4,000 migrant refugees as part of our humanitarian response to the migration crisis and providing skilled personnel to assist overloaded states in handling the applications process.
- On the consumer rights front, strongly supporting the Roam Like Home initiative that will end mobile phone roaming charges within the EU by mid-2017 and help achieve a fully integrated Digital Single Market in Europe.
- Securing agreement on a timetable for widening the use of the Irish language in the EU, which will see increased use of Irish and greater demand for qualified Irish translators.