Belfast Telegraph

Kenny urges Europe to back budget

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has urged the European Parliament to support the new seven-year budget.

As members prepare to vote on the 960 billion euro package on Wednesday, Mr Kenny insisted the deal, agreed in the 11th hour of Ireland's six-month European Council presidency term, had "struck a balance".

"You know that the negotiations to this point were long and difficult and highly sensitive for both council and parliament," Mr Kenny said.

"The result identifies the best way to ensure that the almost one trillion euros for MFF (multi-annual financial framework) is released as soon as possible into the real economy."

Mr Kenny said members of the parliament would have to consider a complex series of texts dealing with "important technical and financial matters" when they vote on Wednesday.

The overall 960 billion euro package will be disbursed among member states between 2014 and 2020.

The Taoiseach listed the deal struck on the European budget as one of a string of achievements during Ireland's term as president, which came to an end at the weekend.

In an address to the European Parliament, including president Martin Schulz and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Mr Kenny reviewed Ireland's seventh time in the office.

He said he was heartened that in the second month of its presidency, Ireland helped secure commitment from member states to the youth guarantee scheme, which gives under-25s the chance of training or a new job within four months of becoming unemployed.

Other highlights included a mandate for EU-US talks on trade and agreement on a 70 billion euro research and development programme.

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