EU to review core priorities and agenda

Wednesday 28 May 2014 11.16
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Europe could not 'shrug off' the European election results
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Europe could not 'shrug off' the European election results

European Union leaders have decided to review their strategic agenda and core priorities.

It is in light of what they called the "strong message" that was sent out by voters in the elections to the European Parliament.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "What's needed now is a Europe that demonstrates its effectiveness in dealing with the challenges and problems that people have."

He was speaking after the summit of leaders in Brussels last night.

However, efforts to make progress on selecting the next president of the European Commission appear to have run into significant difficulty.

Arriving at the informal summit, British Prime Minister David Cameron argued that Europe could not "shrug off" the European Election results.

The results showed significant rises in support for far-right and hard-left parties.

Mr Cameron maintained that the EU had become "too big, too bossy and too interfering" and business-as-usual was not an option.

His comments were not new, but the sentiment gained a new traction in Brussels as leaders considered how to respond to an increasing number of voters who had turned against the EU project altogether, or who felt the emphasis on austerity had been destructive.

Mr Kenny described the meeting as "refreshing" because EU leaders had committed themselves to quickly reviewing their agenda to ensure Europe was working effectively to achieve results, such as reducing unemployment.

The next summit in June should give an indication as to how radical any change may or may not be.

Meanwhile, British, Hungarian and Swedish opposition to the eelection of former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker to the position of president of the European Commission was made clear.

Mr Kenny, who backs Mr Juncker, maintained there "wasn't much discussion about individual candidates" at the summit, but instead said there was a recognition by leaders of the "need not to have inter-institutional rows".

However, a lukewarm endorsement of Mr Juncker by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at her news conference has given rise to renewed speculation that the long-serving EU insider may not get the top job.

Keywords: european union