Minister Bruton in Berlin for talks with German Vice Chancellor as part of Presidency drive for jobs and growth

1-day mission to Germany includes talks on trade issues as well as meetings with potential investor companies and interview with Die Welt.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, will today (Thursday) hold talks in Berlin with his German counterpart, Vice Chancellor and Minister for the Economy and Technology Philip Rosler, on priorities for the Irish EU Presidency including the potential to progress a trade agreement with the US and measures to derive greater economic benefit from the single market of 500 million consumers.

The Ministers will also discuss a range of other issues including the banking union, the EU budget as well as the current economic situation in the Eurozone and the Irish bailout.

As part of his 24-hour visit to Berlin, Minister Bruton will hold a range of other meetings including:

·        Meetings with potential investor companies

·        Interview with Die Welt, the high-profile national daily newspaper, as part of the ongoing drive to rebuild Ireland’s reputation

·        Political meetings with Ursula von der Leyen, Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, and Ernst Hinsken, Chair of the Bundestag Committee on Economy and Technology

·        Working lunch with several senior German economists

·        Meeting with Ulrich Grillo, incoming President of the BDI (German Industry Association)

As part of the ongoing drive to secure agreement during the Irish EU Presidency to progress a trade agreement with the US, Minister Bruton has recently held meetings with his counterparts in a range of EU countries, including the UK and France.

An EU-US free trade agreement could provide benefits of over €120billion per annum to the US economy and over €100million to the Irish economy. As chair of the EU Trade Council for the first six months of next year, Minister Bruton will have a key role in progressing a range of trade talks.

Speaking from Berlin today, Minister Bruton said:

“Jobs and growth will be at the centre of Ireland’s EU Presidency, and we will be aiming to make substantial progress on a series of trade issues, which can make a real difference to the EU and the Irish economy over the coming years. In particular, an EU-US free trade agreement could produce annual benefits of over €120billion for the EU economy and over €100million for the Irish economy, and we will be working hard to make real progress during our Presidency.

The Irish Presidency offers major opportunities to drive progress on a range of issues which could see major benefits, in terms of jobs and growth, for the EU and the Irish economy. I am determined to work hard through my roles on the Trade Council, the Competitiveness/Industry Council and the Employment/Social Policy Council to make real progress on these issues to see real gains for our economy”.


The EU and US account for 54% of the total global economy, and transatlantic trade is worth over $600billion per year, accounting for a third of total global trade in goods and more than 40% of global trade in services. While barriers on transatlantic trade are relatively low by global standards, it is estimated that the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers would provide annual benefits of over $150billion to the EU economy and over $100billion to the US economy.

It has been estimated that eliminating tariffs with the US would provide benefits of at least €100million annually to the Irish economy.

Following an EU-US Summit in November 2011, a joint working group was established to examine the issues surrounding a possible Free Trade Agreement. That group is due to report in the coming weeks and the Irish Presidency has prioritised implementing its recommendations.

As part of the drive to achieve progress on a range of trade issues, the Irish Presidency will hold an ‘informal’ Trade Council in Dublin in April. Informal Councils are often seen as means of improving the prospects of achieving agreement between 27 Ministers by holding more open talks in less formal settings outside of Brussels. Ireland will be the first Presidency to hold a so-called ‘informal’ Council meeting on Trade issues, reflecting the priority accorded to growth and jobs in general and to trade issues in particular.