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Ministers Coveney and McEntee attend EU General Affairs Council

Brexit, European Union, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Minister Simon Coveney, Press Releases, Europe, 2017


Ministers Coveney and McEntee attend EU General Affairs Council to discuss EU budget, Brexit negotiations and Digital Single Market


The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D., are attending a meeting in Brussels today (Monday, 20 November) of the General Affairs Council.


The Head of the EU’s Brexit Taskforce, Michel Barnier, will brief ministers on the state of play of the negotiations.  Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., said:

“I look forward to hearing Michel Barnier’s assessment today.  This is an important point in the negotiations and EU leaders are facing a crucial decision at the European Council in December.  For Ireland, a key priority is protecting the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the gains of the peace process.  There can be no hard border on the island of Ireland.  At this stage in the negotiations, the UK needs to give clarity to the EU on its positions in the form of strong assurances and tangible commitments.  The UK’s approach to any solutions must take account of the complexities presented by its decision to leave the EU.”


At the Council, Ministers will discuss the European Commission’s work programme for 2018 which includes proposals for legislation on the digital single market and economic and monetary union ahead of the European Parliament elections in June 2019.  Ministers will also have an informal exchange of views with the Budget Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, on the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF).  The MFF will run from 2021 to 2027 and the Commission is due to its detailed present proposals in May 2018.

Commenting on the agenda, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D., said:

“Negotiations on the next MFF will be challenging.  We need to make the EU budget more effective. The Common Agricultural Policy will remain a priority since it contributes to European added value in numerous ways but we must also recognise the emergence of new challenges such as migration, security and climate action.”


Finally, the Council will decide on the new locations of the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority, for which Ireland has submitted bids. Voting on the Medicines Agency is expected to take place in the late afternoon and on the Banking Authority into the evening.



Press Office

20 November 2017