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Minister Flanagan to discuss counter-terrorism issues and relations with Russia with EU counterparts

 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, is in Brussels today to attend the first meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in 2015.

 

The EU's counter-terrorism strategy outside of Europe’s borders, relations with Russia as well as recent developments in Libya are on the agenda. Ministers will also discuss climate change ahead of a major United Nations Conference in Paris later this year.

Speaking ahead of the meeting on the subject of counter-terrorism efforts, Minister Flanagan stated:

“HRVP Mogherini and I had a preliminary discussion on counter terrorism during her visit to Dublin last week. At today’s meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, we will examine how to intensify the efforts of Member State in combating terrorism. We need strong partnership between Member States as well as cooperation between the EU and third countries and organisations in the Middle East and elsewhere. The recent appalling terrorist attacks in France and Nigeria remind us that terrorism does not respect borders.

“Terrorist organisations intent on undermining fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and religious freedom in the case of the Paris atrocities or gender equality in the case of recent massacres in northern Nigeria pose a threat within Member States as well as outside Europe and these are matters that EU Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministers are working hard to address through partnership and cooperation.”

On relations with Russia, the Minister said:

“I welcome this opportunity to have a strategic debate on the EU’s relations with Russia. I see this as an initial discussion on the possible areas where the EU might wish to engage with Russia in the near to medium term.

“This should in no way be seen as signalling a return to business-as-usual. That would require a change in behaviour on the part of Russia towards Ukraine.

“As regards the sanctions that the EU has adopted, we have always said that they are designed to be flexible and can be intensified or relaxed according to how developments unfold.”

Turning to the climate change agenda, Minister Flanagan commented:

“2015 is the European Year for Development and the climate change agenda – a priority for my Department - will rightly be a central feature of discussions at EU level throughout the year, and particularly in advance of the UN Conference in Paris this December. The EU’s Action Plan for Climate Diplomacy provides a solid basis for the EU to play its role in concluding a global agreement on climate in Paris.

“Ireland is particularly active in addressing the disproportionate effect of climate change on least developed countries.”

Finally, the situation on the ground in Libya, will be one of a number of regional issues that the Ministers will discuss with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Nabil Elaraby, at today’s meeting.

 

ENDS

Press Office
18 January 2015

 

Notes to editors:

  • The EU’s “Action Plan for Climate Diplomacy: From Lima to Paris - Climate Diplomacy in 2015” calls on the EU’s External Action Services (EEAS), the European Commission and Member States to work together to implement a strategic, coherent and cohesive climate diplomacy plan over the next 12 months.
  • There will be a particular emphasis on advocacy, with a strong focus on visibility for the climate change negotiations and the EU’s positive and progressive role in securing agreement at the Climate Conference in Paris later in the year.