Irish minister Noonan urges support for European 'vision'
Ireland's finance minister and current chair of the EU's Economic and Finance Council, Michael Noonan, has urged EU leaders to be "more in tune with the visions of Europe".
Appearing in front of MEPs on 22 January 2013, he said there was a tendency to focus too much on the "nuts and bolts of budgets".
His evidence session was the latest in a series of "economic dialogues" with finance ministers of eurozone countries, to discuss measures being taken to promote economic growth.
The Irish government, which currently holds the presidency of the EU, introduced an austerity budget at the end of 2012, to try to help the country meet its deficit reduction target.
Austerity measures including tax rises and spending cuts have been imposed on Ireland since it was forced to seek a bailout in 2010.
These include a new property tax of 0.18% of the value of a home up to €1m.
The government also increased tax on alcohol and cigarettes, and announced that maternity benefit would become a taxable income in July 2013.
Despite suffering under the eurozone debt crisis there are signs that the country's economy may be recovering, with a growth of 2.9% expected by 2015.
Mr Noonan said that across the EU "deficits are coming down, and tensions in financial markets are easing".
But he warned there was still much to be done to tackle unemployment, stressing that his country's presidency of the EU would promote "sustainable growth and jobs".