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Minister Byrne speaks to European colleagues and prepares for General Affairs Council

Minister Byrne speaks to European colleagues and prepares for General Affairs Council 

Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., has spoken individually with his counterparts from a number of EU Member States, via telephone and videoconference calls in preparation for an EU General Affairs Council this week.  Reflecting on the discussions, Minister Byrne said:

“It has been very useful to have an opportunity to introduce myself to my colleagues across the EU and to explain the key priorities of the new Government, particularly our unwavering commitment to the European Union and its ideals. We are fortunate to have relationships with fellow Member States built on strong foundations of mutual trust.” 

The informal discussions touched on

  • the next EU budget (Multiannual Financial Framework or MFF);
  • Brexit and the negotiation of the EU-UK future relationship;
  • rule of law in the EU; and
  • the planned Conference on the Future of Europe.

Minister Byrne also took the opportunity to thank colleagues for their solidarity and support during the Covid-19 crisis, particularly in assisting citizens to return home to Ireland.

On Wednesday 15 July, Minister Byrne will join his EU Ministerial colleagues by videoconference, for a meeting of Ministers for European Affairs where the German Presidency will present its priorities for the coming six-month term.  Ministers will also prepare for the in-person meeting of the European Council on 17/18 July where the agenda features the next EU budget (MFF), and the proposed European recovery instrument of €750bn - “Next Generation EU.” 

Speaking ahead of the General Affairs meeting, Minister Byrne said:

“I’m very much looking forward to beginning work with my European colleagues.  On the negotiations for the new EU budget, I will be highlighting Irish priorities, including the importance of maintaining and safeguarding the CAP, and ensuring that the impact of COVID-19 on the economies of Member States be fully taken into consideration when looking at our individual resilience needs. I will also make the point that we expect Brexit to pose a further huge challenge to the Irish economy, which will add to the difficulties we face in supporting struggling sectors.

We greatly appreciate the EU’s strong support and solidarity, including the crisis response package of economic and financial assistance of more than €540 billion already agreed by the European Council.  The “Next Generation EU” Recovery Fund will be another essential part of the EU path to recovery.”


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