The European Union adopts legislation in a number of areas that have a direct impact on Member States and on local and regional authorities.

These cover policy fields where, depending on the treaties, it either has sole competency to act on behalf of its Member States (trade, customs union…), shares competence with the Member States in ‘’common’’ policies (agriculture and fisheries, environment, transport, research and innovation, economic and territorial cohesion…) or has a lesser, coordination and support role (culture, education, training, tourism…).

It is therefore essential to closely monitor the EU decision-making process to help Irish local and regional authorities to anticipate, adapt and influence the decisions that will be taken.

European policies are not adopted in a void but in the framework of overarching priorities and strategies. Currently EU policies are informed by the 6 priorities set out by the von der Leyen Commission and include:

  • A European Green Deal
  • A Europe fit for the Digital Age
  • An Economy that Works for the People
  • A Stronger Europe in the World
  • Promoting our European way of Life
  • A New Push for European Democracy

Updated guidelines are set out every September in the European Commission’s President’s ‘State of the Union’ address. All policies of relevance at regional and local level are also aimed at achieving the goals set in the EU Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024 which is the EU’s current agenda for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs. The strategy’s aims are underpinned by a series of performance targets for each Member State in employment; research and innovation; climate/energy; education; and social inclusion/poverty reduction.

These are, in turn, monitored by the Commission via the annual ‘European Semester’ process of enhanced economic and fiscal policy coordination and commitments by the Member States to implementing tailored reform measures at national and even regional level.

Click here to find out more about the EU Decision Making Process and the European Budget.

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