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EU2020 strategy: Ireland’s programme due April

The progress of the EU2020 strategy, which includes important targets against poverty, was raised in the Dail by Joan Burton (Lab, Dublin W) who told the Taoiseach that she understood that the first draft of the national reform programme had been due to be sent to the European Commission by 12th November.  She specifically asked about the arrangements for consulting stakeholders such as parliamentarians and civil society (Dail Eireann, Debates, 30th November 2010, 399-403).  The Taoiseach told her that that it had been decided to hold back the draft programme until the four-year recovery plan had been agreed.   The Taoiseach told her that some of the EU2020 targets would be challenging and they would be working with the European Commission to ensure that they were meaningful, achievable and sufficiently ambitious.  It was not a requirement that Ireland should match EU targets and they were not legally binding, but instead each member state would set targets based on its own circumstances.  Ireland would engage positively in the process, focussed on the areas the government had prioritized and were complementary to existing policy.  As for the engagement with stakeholders, initial contact began before the summer break and there was an opportunity for social partners to express their views at that time.  Some had recently made written submissions on Ireland’s draft national reform programme and as the government continued to prepare the programme for submission by next April, he anticipated further engagement with social partners and other stakeholders.