Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the high levels of youth unemployment across Europe as "an abomination".

Mr Kenny was addressing the European Parliament on the Irish Presidency of the European Council.

In a 22-minute speech, he said the Irish presidency had prioritised introducing the youth guarantee in February to ensure that young people "will not be locked out of their futures".

The Taoiseach praised Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton for her "invaluable contribution" in bringing the EU's seven-year budget to a political agreement.

Mr Kenny also said agreement on the Common Agricultural Policy was one of the "most important achievements" of the Irish presidency.

He said he believed Ireland's presidency had "bolstered the credibility" of the EU.

European Commission President Martin Schulz congratulated Mr Kenny for "excellent cooperation and impressive work".

Mr Kenny has been asked to assist in correcting what has been called the EUs "arrogant banking sector".

The appeal came from Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Socialists and Democrats, one of the largest groupings in the European Parliament.

Mr Swoboda said parliament had tried to fight the culture of banking bonuses and he felt Mr Kenny could help due to Ireland's experience with Anglo Irish Bank.

He said "this is the same banking sector."

Sinn Féin MEP says Gilmore 'an embarrassment'

Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson has described Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore's tactics on the EU budget as "an embarrassment".

However, Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness said those comments would be "treated with the contempt they deserve".

She added: "You are wearing green, but it's only on the outside."

Socialist MEP Paul Murphy was also critical, saying the EU budget would "further worsen the crisis".

He said the Irish presidency slogan of stability, jobs and growth should be replaced by "never let the facts get in the way of a good story".

Green MEP Daniel Cohn Bendit gave an impassioned and critical address, saying the EU does not have an appropriate budget to tackle youth unemployment.

He said: "I don't understand the complacency! Maybe I live on another planet."

He said EU governments were "taking the mickey" and the parliament had missed a "historic opportunity to ensure democracy was up and running".