On January 1, Ireland assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and it became a member of the UN Human Rights Council. During its Presidency, it will address current global issues such as human rights issues and climate change. Moreover, Ireland will strengthen EU-UN relations and cooperation on various global issues.
With the deepening crisis in Syria, there will be a special focus on refugees and the asylum policy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued recommendations to the Irish Presidency of the EU, including an agreement on the Asylum and Migration Fund. This Fund, if adopted, will focus on people flows and the integrated management of migration. It will support actions addressing all aspects of migration, including asylum, legal migration, integration and the return of irregularly staying non-EU nationals. Ireland has expressed its objective to conclude the discussion on this proposal. In more general terms, Ireland intends to finalize agreement with the European Parliament on all outstanding elements of the common European Asylum System.
The Irish Presidency will aim for firm commitments to put forward during the UN Climate Conference this year in Bonn, Germany. Furthermore Ireland will host an Informal Council of Environment Ministers in April.
In addition to asylum policy, climate change and peacekeeping, Ireland will enhance cooperation between the EU and the United Nations. The promotion of peace, respect for human rights and justice and issues concerning the relief of humanitarian crises, such as hunger and poverty will also be priorities of the new EU presidency.
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