Ireland has begun the first day of its six-month EU presidency.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz has warned that Europe must not allow 2013 to be a year of failure.

Mr Schulz said Ireland would face a major challenge in brokering a deal on the EU's 2014-2020 budget.

He raised the prospect of MEPs blocking an insufficient deal - that would create difficulties for the EU's regional, agricultural and research programmes.

Referring to ongoing problems in EU economies, Mr Schulz said it would be a disaster if the European Union did not find solutions.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Ireland's term would be about stability, jobs and growth.

Mr Kenny said there are real actions to back up each of those words.

He said Ireland would be in the business of solutions, a country driving recovery in Europe.