The Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, has said that his country's presidency of the EU will be used to promote stability, banking union and small businesses.
Making a statement with Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on 10 January 2013 to mark the start of the six-month presidency, the Taoiseach said Ireland's recovery was "in European interests".
He said his government was committed to exiting the EU and IMF bailout programme that Ireland has been subject to in recent months.
Ireland took over the rotating six-month presidency on 1 January, taking over from Cyprus. The country will hold the presidency until the end of June, when it will be passed on to Lithuania.
Although the Lisbon Treaty created the post of permanent President of the European Council - currently held by Herman van Rompuy - there is still a six month rotating presidency.
Meetings of the Council of Ministers, which represents EU governments, will be chaired by the relevant minister from the country holding the presidency.
Mr Barroso praised Ireland, describing it as an "enthusiastic and co-operative" member of the EU, and that "having Ireland at the helm will be good for the EU."
The presidency coincides with the 40th anniversary of Ireland joining the then EEC - alongside the UK and Denmark - in 1973.