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Minister Flanagan to discuss Migration, EU-Asia relations and UN co-operation with EU Counterparts


The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, is in Luxembourg today (Monday) to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers.

The launch of an EU military operation in the Southern Mediterranean, relationships between Europe and Asia, EU-UN co-operation, energy diplomacy, and the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, are amongst the items scheduled to be discussed.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Minister Flanagan said:

"At our last meeting, EU Foreign Ministers agreed to establish a military operation as part of the EU's comprehensive response to the crisis in the Mediterranean. Operational planning has been going on for several weeks and today the Council will consider launch that mission (EUNAVFOR MED) which will seek to disrupt the activities of illegal traffickers who ruthlessly exploit vulnerable people for profit and put their lives at risk, often taking to sea in dangerous vessels.

"The EU response is made up of a number of elements, the most important being a response to the humanitarian crisis. This must be underpinned by effective actions to combat illegal migration and therefore the focus on tackling people smuggling and organised crime is to be welcomed. It is important that the immediacy of the crisis should not deflect from the broader issues giving rise to the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean."

Ministers will also discuss Energy Diplomacy and the need for greater cooperation between countries regarding sustainable energy supplies.

There will be a strategic discussion about relations between Asia and the EU.

Minister Flanagan continued:

“We will also have a timely discussion on advancing relations between Asia and Europe. Ireland is very supportive of this initiative and sees particular benefit in stepping up engagement with multilateral Asia, particularly ASEAN.

“We must also consider how our regions can work more effectively together to address shared challenges such as climate change, energy and migration.

“Ireland is also supportive of efforts to further advance relations between the EU and China including in areas such as connectivity and trade.”

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, will join the meeting to discuss EU-UN co-operation. Minister Flanagan said:

“This year marks both the 60th Anniversary of Ireland’s membership of the UN and the 70th Anniversary of the UN itself. A commitment to multilateralism remains central to Irish foreign policy.

Ministers will examine how the EU can support the achievement of a sustainable solution to the current crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Minister Flanagan concluded:

“In relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ireland is concerned about the worsening situation there. We urge all parties to continue engaging constructively in the EU-led dialogue.”


Press Office

22 June 2015