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Minister Byrne to participate in General Affairs Council meeting with EU Ministers

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., will join his EU Ministerial colleagues today, at a videoconference of Ministers for European Affairs.

Ministers will discuss the Agenda for the European Council meeting on 10-11 December. At that meeting, leaders will focus on Climate Change, Covid-19 coordination, trade, external relations and security issues.

As part of the Annual Rule of Law Dialogue, European Affairs Ministers will exchange views on the rule of law situation in five Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Estonia). The Council will also review its position regarding the formal start of accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Albania.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Byrne said: 

“I’m looking forward to engaging with colleagues on the important issues on our agenda today.

We will discuss the rule of law situation in five Member States as part of a new annual peer review process. There will be an opportunity to discuss Ireland’s report at a General Affairs Council held during the first six months of 2021. Today’s discussion will give us an opportunity to build a shared understanding regarding the rule of law, a fundamental principle for the EU and its Member States.

On enlargement, we will discuss the accession negotiation frameworks for both North Macedonia and Albania. I would like to see these frameworks agreed as soon as possible. Both countries have made significant progress on EU-related reforms in recent years and we support the German Presidency’s aim to begin formal negotiations in the near future.”

In addition, the Presidency will update Ministers on the state of play of the Multiannual Financial Framework. The Commission will also present its Work Programme for 2021 and the European Semester 2021 Roadmap. There will also be an exchange of views on the Fight Against Anti-Semitism.

ENDS
PRESS OFFICE
17 NOVEMBER 2020

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