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Tánaiste and MoS McEntee attend EU General Affairs Council


Tánaiste to attend the General Affairs Council (Article 50) and Minister of State McEntee to attend General Affairs Council in Brussels on 12 December 2017


Speaking ahead of the GAC (Article 50) meeting, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., said:


“I look forward to hearing from Michel Barnier when he presents the Joint EU-UK Report on progress during phase one of the Article 50 negotiations.  On the basis of this report, the European Commission has recommended to the European Council (Article 50) to conclude that there has been sufficient progress in phase one.  Today’s meeting offers an opportunity to congratulate Michel Barnier and his team for their excellent work throughout the negotiating process so far and to thank EU partners for their steadfast solidarity and support for Ireland and the unique challenges that we face in the context of Brexit.  This meeting is another important step in the preparations for the European Council later this week and moving to start discussions on the framework for a future EU-UK relationship.”


At the General Affairs Council, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D., will be involved in the preparations for the European Council, which the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., will attend on Thursday.  Minister McEntee and her colleagues will look at options on how best the European institutions can assist Member States in the management of illegal migration and how work on this issue should be financed.  The Minister will also meet with the Foreign Ministers of five candidate countries – Albania, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.  The European Commission will issue an enlargement update in the spring and a summit meeting with the countries of the Western Balkans is scheduled for May 2018. 


Minister McEntee said:  “We believe the stability and security of the countries of the Western Balkans is important for the security of the European Union and that the future of the Western Balkans lies within the European Union.”



Press Office

11 December 2017