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Tanaiste joins meeting of EU Foreign Ministers

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, T.D.

 joins meeting of EU Foreign Ministers

 

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, T.D. joined his counterparts today for a videoconference of EU Foreign Ministers to discuss the international aspects to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The meeting focused on consular assistance and repatriation, international cooperation and public messaging around the pandemic.

 

After the meeting, the Tánaiste said:

 

“In the meeting, I expressed my heartfelt condolences to our EU partners, Italy and Spain, who have been hardest hit in the crisis thus far. A lot of good work is being done in the area of internal EU cooperation and solidarity. It is critical that the EU keeps working collectively to procure medical equipment, to ensure no country is left behind.”

 

“I thanked the EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre for their support to Ireland’s repatriation flight to Peru under the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. We are also deeply appreciative of the continued cooperation of EU Member States and of the UK, who - although no longer a member of the EU - remains a close partner in our collective efforts to repatriate our citizens from around the world.”

 

International cooperation and the EU’s response to third countries was also high on the agenda. Foreign Ministers discussed how, through the Team Europe approach, the EU can provide support to developing countries, particularly those experiencing humanitarian crises.

 

The Tánaiste said:

 

“Developing countries are likely to be severely impacted during this crisis. My counterparts and I discussed how to design coordinated packages of support to developing countries to fight this pandemic internationally. Contributing to international efforts to contain and eradicate COVID-19 is not just the right thing to do, it is in our own interest.”

 

“I stressed in our discussions that the EU should focus in particular on partner countries already in humanitarian crises. Countries that host large numbers of refugees, countries with weak health systems and countries with unique vulnerabilities, such as the Small Island Developing States, should be at the top of our agenda. On Wednesday, I announced a contribution of €10 million by Ireland to the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan to help particularly vulnerable countries in their response to COVID-19.”

 

Development Ministers are due to endorse the Team Europe approach and agree rapid and practical follow-up at an informal meeting of EU Development Ministers on 8 April.

 

 

Notes for Editors

 

  • The EU development instruments, which Ireland co-finances, have allocated €114 million to the World Health Organization and €232 million to a variety of different areas in the Covid-19 international response.

 

  • The EU has also announced funding of €240 million to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 

ENDS

Press Office

3 April 2020

 

 

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