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Minister Flanagan to discuss Mediterranean crisis and Middle East Peace Process with EU Counterparts


Minister Flanagan to discuss the Mediterranean crisis and the Middle East Peace Process with EU Counterparts

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

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean and the Middle East Peace Process are amongst the items for discussion.

Speaking in advance of the meeting Minister Flanagan said:

“Our meeting today will provide an important opportunity to look at how the EU is responding to the continued humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.

“The European Council at its meeting on 23 April outlined a comprehensive approach to the crisis, and committed the EU to using all the tools at its disposal to tackle the root causes of the humanitarian emergency and to prevent the loss of more lives at sea. Work is ongoing on the various elements of the EU’s response.

“Today’s meeting will look on the proposed establishment of an EU operation in the Mediterranean to disrupt human smuggling networks and the traffickers who are putting people’s lives at risk by packing them into overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels. Ireland welcomes this proposed operation as a contribution to addressing the crisis. Our efforts must remain focused on saving lives and as a result we will place a particular emphasis on seeking to ensure that any vessels participating in the proposed operation are ready and equipped to perform Search and Rescue tasks as necessary”.

The meeting will also address the EU’s engagement with the Middle Eastern Peace Process. Minister Flanagan added:

“It is very welcome that the Middle East Peace Process is back on the agenda of the Council.

“I look forward to an engaged discussion today and in the months ahead. The EU has a responsibility to act and the capacity to do so.”

The Council meeting will also be joined by EU Defence Ministers to discuss preparations for a discussion by the European Council to take place in June 2015 on the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. Minister Flanagan added:

“The EU and its Member States, through Common Security and Defence Policy and other policy instruments, have a strong role to play in preventing and managing conflicts and addressing their causes.

“I look forward to engaging with colleagues on issues including how we can improve the effectiveness, of Common Security and Defence Policy in contributing to international peace and security and on how can enhance the development of capabilities required for that purpose”.

Press Office

17 May 2015