The Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, has told the Dáil that he will discuss the nomination of Ireland's next EU commissioner with the President of the Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, later this week.

Mr Cowen was responding to questions in the Dáil from the Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who said that 22 out of the 27 member states have put forward their nominees for the positions.

Mr Kenny also said that intense lobbying was currently underway.

Mr Cowen said that Mr Barroso could not deal with the issue of the Commission until certain arrangements were made under the Lisbon Treaty.

EU accounts given clean bill of health

Separately, the European Court of Auditors has given the EU annual accounts a clean bill of health.

For the second year in a row the court has declared the accounts to be a true and fair reflection of the financial position of the union.

The court's president Vítor Caldeira said this reflected improvements in the way the EU organises and manages its financial systems.

He said the amount of at-risk spending was now half of what it was five years ago.

However the court found there were still unacceptably high errors in accounting for rural development spending, cohesion funds (for poorer member states), and sixth framework research funding.

Overall the error rate in the accounts continues to decline.