Tánaiste & Minister McEntee in Luxembourg to attend the General Affairs Council.
Press release16 October 2018
Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., & Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D., in Luxembourg for meetings with their counterparts at the General Affairs Council.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D., are in Luxembourg today, Tuesday 16 October, for meetings with their counterparts at the General Affairs Council.
In advance of the European Council this week, with European Leaders meeting in EU27 format on Wednesday, the General Affairs Council will also meet in EU27 format on Tuesday. At this crucial stage in the negotiations, Ministers will hear from the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. The Tánaiste will also meet separately with Michel Barnier to discuss the current state of play in negotiations and in particular talks on the draft Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, including the backstop on avoiding a hard border.
The Tánaiste said:
“It is obviously disappointing that it has not yet been possible to make the decisive progress that we urgently need in the negotiations, despite the intensive efforts of both EU and UK negotiators. The Government’s position is clear – we want the negotiations to succeed but this will only be possible with agreement on a legally robust backstop to avoid a hard border in the Withdrawal Agreement, which must apply in all circumstances. Today’s meeting offers another opportunity to thank our EU partners for their solid support and solidarity, which has been unwavering, and to reiterate our total support for Michel Barnier and his Task Force.”
General Affairs Council
At the General Affairs Council, Ministers will be looking at the internal and external aspects of migration and new measures to strengthen the internal security of the Union.
Before departing for Luxembourg, the Minister of State said:
“We are keen to see progress on cybersecurity, in particular. Tackling cyber-attacks was a real concern for many of the participants at the Citizens’ Dialogues on the Future of Europe which we held across the country earlier this year. At the meeting we will be looking at measures to combat the dissemination of disinformation and our capacity to deal together with terrorist content on-line.”
A discussion at the Council on the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF) will focus on the need to reinforce and extend excellence in the Union’s new research programme, Horizon Europe.
The meeting will include a state of play on the rule of law in Poland and the Austrian presidency will provide information on a reasoned proposal by the European Parliament concerning respect for the values of the Union in Hungary.
16 October 2018