Strong leadership by Ireland’s Taoiseach-elect will finally get the country working again, the leader of his European allies has said.
Wilfried Martens, president of the European People’s Party (EPP), congratulated Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny for his sweeping victory in Friday’s parliamentary elections. Mr Kenny is an EPP vice-president.
He will attend an informal “summit” next Friday of centre-right heads of state and government.
Mr Martens said: “At a moment of great economic difficulty in Ireland, voters chose a completely new political direction, after the disastrous Fianna Fail liberal governments of recent years.
“Enda Kenny’s strong leadership and solid European experience as EPP vice president, will finally get Ireland working again.”
The EPP, which is the most powerful transnational force in European politics, has convened the Helsinki meeting to prepare for a formal summit of the 17 euro zone leaders one week later in Brussels.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, French prime minister Francois Fillon, Belgian caretaker prime minister Yves Leterme and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban will take part in the Helsinki meeting.
The euro zone summit and a succession of finance ministers’ meetings come as EU leaders seek agreement on far-reaching reforms to the euro zone bailout fund and on economic governance rules in the union at large.
No deal is in sight in these long-running talks in which Dublin has been seeking a reduction in the interest rate for Ireland’s bailout loans.
However, EU leaders aim to strike agreement on a comprehensive reform pact at the next full European summit on March 24 and 25.
Also in attendance at the Helsinki meeting will be European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek.