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Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels today

Minister Charles Flanagan, Press Releases, Europe, 2016

 

Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels today

- Minister will discuss Brexit at meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister

- EU Foreign Ministers will sign EU Trust Fund agreement with Colombia

- Minister will also sign EU-Cuba Agreement

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Charlie Flanagan TD, is in Brussels today to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers.  EU-Africa relations, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, and Migration are all on the agenda for discussion.

Earlier this morning, Minister Flanagan will meet with the Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, to discuss issues of mutual interest, in particular the implications of Brexit for the EU and its member States.

Speaking before he meets Belgian Foreign Minister, Didier Reynders, early this morning, Minister Flanagan said:

“I will, as I have been doing in numerous meeting with EU counterparts since the UK referendum result last June, again take the opportunity to explain Ireland’s concerns, focusing in particular on the Common Travel Area and the border. The priority areas for this Government remain unchanged – this is about our citizens, our economy, Northern Ireland, our Common Travel Area and the future of the EU itself.”

EU Foreign Ministers will also have an informal discussion with the President of Colombia on the recent peace agreement and will sign the EU Trust Fund agreement with Colombia.  Minister Flanagan said:

“The peace agreement in Colombia is a significant and historic achievement, marking the end of 52 years of conflict. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to President Santos on this and on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  I am very proud that Ireland will be a founder member of the EU Trust Fund for Colombia, to which we will give €3 million in total as part of our package of support to the Colombian peace process”.

Speaking in advance of the meeting of Foreign Ministers, Minister Flanagan said:

“I am gravely concerned about the ongoing conflict in Syria, particularly in Aleppo, which is having a horrific effect on the civilian population.  Ireland fully supports the UN-led efforts to resume political negotiations, support a meaningful political transition in Syria, and legal accountability for the victims of the unspeakable crimes committed against the Syria people”.

Ministers will also discuss EU-Africa relations, the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Migration.   Minister Flanagan said:

“I welcome this opportunity to have a strategic discussion on EU-Africa relations.  Ireland has had a long relationship with Africa, initially through our missionaries and volunteers, and more recently through an official development programme which is focused on some of the poorest countries and communities in sub-Saharan Africa.   I look forward to the Joint EU-Africa Summit next year which will be an important opportunity for high-level discussion at a time of great global challenge.  Africa is a diverse continent, which cannot be defined by one single dimension.  The EU must take a comprehensive approach which spans the full range of our foreign policy priorities and is based on our shared interests and values.  

The ongoing migration crisis is an example of one of the challenges facing both Africa and the EU.  The most effective way of addressing this is by tackling its root causes – war and political upheaval as well as economic hardships brought about by factors such as climate change and endemic corruption and mismanagement.  The work on the Migration Compacts and implementation of the Valletta Action Plan are important in this regard.

The current political instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo is of serious concern.  As 19 December approaches, the date on which President Kabila’s current term comes to an end, there is still much uncertainty in the country.  I call on all political actors work towards a peaceful and predictable transition.”

Minister Flanagan will also, along with his EU counterparts and the Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, sign an EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement

 Speaking before signing the EU-Cuba agreement this morning, Minister Flanagan said:

“This landmark agreement is the first ever between the EU and Cuba and will provide a framework for increased dialogue and cooperation between Havana and Brussels.”  

ENDS

Press Office

12 December 2016