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Minister Byrne attends the General Affairs Council in Brussels

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., will travel to Brussels to represent Ireland at a meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC).

The main item at this month’s General Affairs Council meeting will be preparation for the European Council meeting on 24/25 March. At that meeting, leaders will discuss the situation in Ukraine; Security and Defence; Energy; Covid-19 and Economic issues. Leaders will also prepare for the EU-China summit to be held on 1 April and discuss the political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ministers will also discuss the revision of a Regulation on the statute and funding of European political parties and foundations. There will be an exchange of views on the European Semester process for 2022 and on the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Byrne said

 “I look forward to engaging with my colleagues at the General Affairs Council meeting today on the important items on our agenda. This will be a busy meeting of the General Affairs Council as we prepare for the European Council later this week where leaders will discuss the ongoing appalling conflict in Ukraine along with other issues of direct concern to our citizens, including security and defence issues, as well as energy prices.

The EU continues to be united in our response to Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war. Ireland supports a continued robust EU response to Russia’s appalling violence, including directly against civilians, in Ukraine.

We will continue to stand in full solidarity with the Ukrainian Government and people of Ukraine. Ireland is providing €20 million in humanitarian aid, as well as medical supplies. Those funds are already being disbursed through our partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries

This month’s meeting will also discuss the Conference on the Future of Europe. We are now moving towards the concluding stages of the Conference and this weekend will see the next meeting of the Conference Plenary, at which there will be a presentation of the national events and discussion that has taken place over the last year here in Ireland. To date, over 70+ events have taken place in all four provinces and have allowed all our citizens, both young and old, to take part in these important discussions on the future of our Union.”  

ENDS

Press Office

21 March 2022

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