Irish Ministers Make the Grade at EU Council Meetings
Mixed findings in other areas of Irish-EU engagement
- Download the full EM Ireland Accountability Report 2012 – Online Edition by following this link
- Download the Report’s Key Findings here
Average attendance by Irish Ministers at meetings of the Council of the EU in 2012 stood at 97%, a new report by Irish NGO European Movement Ireland has shown. The highly-anticipated third annual Accountability Report, which was released this morning in advance of Europe Day 2013, shows that Irish Minsters attended 72 out of 74 EU Council meetings in 2012, an increase of 11 percentage points from the data recorded under the 31st Dáil in 2011.
EM Ireland’s Accountability Report 2012 acts as an ‘Irish-EU Score Card’; evaluating the level of Irish engagement at a European level by measuring thirty key indicators, from Irish input to Commission consultations, to Irish MEP and ministerial attendance at EU-level meetings, to an overview of the level of scrutiny of EU legislation that takes place at a national level, among many others.
Ireland’s Report Card
- Average Irish ministerial attendance at meetings of the Councils of the European Union in 2012 stood at 97%, with either a lead Minister or Junior Minister attending 72 out of the total 74 Council meetings. This is an increase of 11% from the data recorded under the 31st Dáil in 2011 and leaves Ireland in second position behind Sweden and Poland, joint first at 99%.
- 8 out of 10 Councils in 2012 had an Irish ministerial attendance rate of 100%. Just 2 Councils, the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), have less than perfect attendance rates at 92% each.
- Average Irish MEP attendance at plenary sessions of the European Parliament stands at 83% for 2012. This is a decrease of 2% from statistics recorded in the Accountability Report 2011. Irish MEPs raised 455 Parliamentary Questions and made a total of 365 speeches at the European Parliament in 2012.
- The attendance rate for members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Union Affairs during 2012 was 64%. This is a decrease of 7% from the overall attendance rate recorded under the 31st Dáil in 2011.
- Of the 74 Council meetings that took place during 2012, 25 (34%) of them had pre-Council Briefings in front of the relevant Oireachtas Committee.
- Individual, business and civil society input into the pre-legislative stage of EU policy-formation increased by 0.5% in 2012 when compared to the 2011 figures; of the 51 European Commissions consultations reviewed for this year’s Accountability report, the percentage of the total submissions that originated in Ireland in 2012 ranged from 0% to 4.75%; with an average of 1.4 %.
- Irish attendance at the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE during Ireland’s Presidency of the Organisation in 2012 was 72%.
- The Irish attendance rate at plenary sessions of the Committee of the Regions in 2012 was 94%. This compares with the overall attendance rate of 79%.
- The Irish delegation had an 80% rate of attendance at plenary sessions of the EESC in 2012.
- Irish attendance at 2012 plenary sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stood at 60%.
As this is the third edition of the EM Ireland Accountability Report, this volume includes a comparison between the 2012 statistics, and those recorded in 2011 and 2010. According to EM Ireland Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, these comparative figures are hugely revealing:
“With Ireland currently in the penultimate month of its six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU, and with 2013 also marking the 40th anniversary of Irish accession to the EU and the European Year of Citizens, these figures provide a timely insight into the way Ireland conducts its business in Europe and into the practical level of engagement between Ireland and our European counterparts.
“Although there has been a year on year increase in some of the findings, room for improvement still remains in many of the ways in which Irish representatives work with Europe and how, in turn, this work is communicated to Irish people. Communication issues are partly to blame for the common misconceptions that exist around Ireland’s relationship with the EU, but they are not the only cause. As Irish citizens, it is important that we also examine our own role when it comes to discussing and debating European matters.”
Notes for Editors
Founded in 1954, European Movement Ireland is a not-for-profit, voluntary, membership organisation working to make the connection between Irish people and the European Union. For more information about European Movement Ireland’s campaigns, programmes, information briefings and events, visit www.europeanmovement.ie.
The EM Ireland Accountability Report acts as an Irish-EU ‘Report Card’; evaluating the engagement and performance of Irish representatives to the EU and assessing the level of scrutiny and discussion of European issues at an Irish national parliamentary level through the use of statistical indicators. By tracking and analysing a number of key indicators, including Irish ministerial attendance at European Council meetings, Oireachtas Committee agendas, and MEP attendance and engagement at the European Parliament, this report measures the engagement of Irish public representatives and provides recommendations to improve the transparency and accountability of the Irish-EU political process.
Available for comment
EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O’Connell is available for interview and comment. Please contact EM Ireland’s Communications Manager, Jenny Flynn, on 01 662 5815, 085 111 5836 or email email@example.com.