The Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU (January-June 2013) faced numerous challenges, not least of which was to negotiate the financial framework for the period 2014-2020 and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy with the European Parliament, as well as the pressure to advance the banking agenda. Moreover, the fact that it was the start of a new Trio Presidency, the small size of the Irish administration and its fragile financial situation gave rise to some doubts as to how much it could achieve. Nevertheless, this post mortem on the Irish presidency finds that the Irish government approached the task with realism and optimism, a firm focus on results and the strong conviction that a good performance would enhance its reputation at home and in the EU. It is now for Lithuania and subsequently Greece, in the first half of 2014, to continue to tackle the remaining formidable challenges.
Sonia Piedrafita is a Research Fellow in the Politics and Institutions research unit at CEPS.