Ireland held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to June 2013.
The Presidency is responsible for the functioning of the Council, the upper house of the European Union's (EU) legislature. It rotates among the member states of the EU every six months. The Presidency is not an individual position, but rather is held by the national government. The Presidency's function is to chair meetings of the Council, determine its agendas, set a work programme and facilitate dialogue both at Council meetings and with other EU institutions such as the Commission and Parliament.
Three successive Presidencies, known as Presidency Trios, cooperate for an 18-month period to provide continuity by sharing common political programmes. Ireland operated in the context of an 18-month Presidency Trio with Lithuania, which followed Ireland and then Greece in 2014.
Irish Presidency Website http://www.eu2013.ie/
• Ireland collaborated with Lithuania and Greece on the preparation of the Fourth Trio Declaration on Gender Equality which was signed following the Conference on the "Economic Engagement of Women and the Europe 2020 Agenda" which was held in Dublin Castle on 29 and 30 April 2013 during the Irish Presidency.
• Ireland focused on the Beijing area of concern on Women and the Media. Building on previous work in relation to women’s roles as decision-makers in specific sectors, Ireland has been collaborating with the European Institute for Gender Equality on research to look at the role of women in the broadcast and print media. Conclusions based on the report prepared by the Irish Presidency were taken to the June EPSCO Council for Ministers to agree.
• Ireland collaborated with the European Commission, Member States and the European Parliament on the proposal for a Directive on improving the gender balance among non – executive directors on the boards of publicly listed companies. The Irish Presidency was committed to steering the proposal through the Social Questions Working Group and then to the EPSCO Council as appropriate while at the same time working with the European Parliament on the dossier.
• To ensure continued co-operation between Member States and the European Commission, Ireland hosted a meeting of the High Level Group on Gender Mainstreaming in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on 10th and 11th January 2013.
• The Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, Ms. Kathleen Lynch, T.D. presented the Irish Presidency Programme on Gender Equality to the FEMM Committee of the European Parliament on 22 January 2013 and then answered follow up questions from the Committee.
• Minister Lynch chaired an afternoon workshop on the theme of the "labour market engagement of older women" during the Informal EPSCO Council of Social Protection and Employment Ministers in Dublin Castle on 7th and 8th February 2013.
• Minister Lynch led the Irish delegation to the 57th meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women between 4 – 15 March 2013 collaborating with the European External Action Service during the meeting. This included delivery of the EU Statement, participation in an EU side event as well as more Irish side events during the first week of the meeting.
• An Expert Conference on the "Economic Engagement of Women and the Europe 2020 Agenda" was held in Dublin Castle on 29 and 30 April 2013 with funding from the European Commission and a Presidency note on the outcomes were forwarded to the June 2013 meeting of the EPSCO Council. The Report on the Conference is available below.
• Ireland will continue to work with the European Parliament to explore how best to progress the proposal to amend the Directive on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding ("maternity leave)".