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Minister Flanagan to attend informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers


Agenda will focus on Turkey, the EU Global Strategy, Globalisation and Challenges to the Rules-based International Order

Minister Flanagan will have bilateral meetings on Brexit with his Estonian and Croatian counterparts in the margins of the Council

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan T.D., will attend an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Valletta, Malta on 28 April. Malta currently holds the presidency of the EU.

Minister Flanagan stated:

“The meeting provides an opportunity for EU Foreign Ministers to have a discussion on Turkey, focussing on the situation since the constitutional referendum on 16 April. Along with my fellow EU Foreign Ministers, I share the concerns expressed by the OSCE and the Council of Europe about the conduct of the referendum which are reflected in the decision by the Council of Europe on 25 April to reintroduce monitoring in Turkey. I will repeat the Government of Ireland’s concerns about negative trends in Turkey on democracy, human rights, freedom of expression, media freedom and the rule of law. Any return to the death penalty in Turkey would be totally unacceptable for an EU Candidate Country.

“At the same time, it is essential to keep the channels of communication with Turkey open. While there is no doubt that EU – Turkey relations are strained at present, the meeting provides an opportunity to focus on how best to manage this relationship going forward. I believe that the EU’s relationship with Turkey should be conducted in a spirit of mutual respect through constructive, but frank discussions.

“The meeting will also facilitate a timely discussion on challenges to the rules-based international order upon which our peace and stability have depended. At a time when the value of multilateral institutions is being questioned by some, Ireland remains a strong supporter of the rules-based international system. The United Nations in particular has a vital role in promoting global stability. The EU and its Member States must, now more than ever, support a multilateral approach and the value of the UN.

“We will also have an opportunity to discuss the EU Global Strategy with EU Candidate Countries. We will focus on working with the Candidate Countries to enhance the EU’s efforts to build peace and stability in the European Neighbourhood.”

The Government’s programme of strategic engagement with EU partners on Brexit continues. To that end, while in Valletta, Minister Flanagan will also meet with the Foreign Ministers of Estonia and Croatia. Coming shortly before the European Council is due to due to adopt the EU’s negotiating guidelines, this will be a timely opportunity to emphasise Ireland’s unique concerns and priorities in relation to Brexit. Estonia will take up the EU Presidency on 1 July and will therefore have an important role to play in the forthcoming negotiations.

Press Office
28 APril 2017