Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Wednesday he remains optimistic that EU heads of state or government can reach agreement on banking union within the next few weeks. In an address to Ireland's parliament, Kenny mentioned next week's Brussels meeting of the European Council, saying that he expected EU leaders will review ongoing work on taxation issues as well as progress in completing banking union. "Negotiations are continuing and I remain optimistic that we can reach agreement within the next few weeks," he said. He added that securing agreement on the single resolution mechanism is the next essential step in completing banking union. "It remains a key priority," Kenny said. He said he will also look forward to having a good engagement next week on the key economic challenges facing Europe. "As we start to see more signs of recovery, we need to discuss what we need to do to support and strengthen the fragile return to economic growth and job creation," Kenny said. The discussion on climate change and energy also addresses a central strategic challenge for the union, said the Irish prime minister. For next week's European Council meeting, there is an extensive and substantive agenda in addition to Ukraine. As is traditional for the Spring European Council, the focus is on economic issues. The main agenda items include the European Semester; the Europe 2020 Strategy; industrial competitiveness; climate and energy, and external relations.