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Tánaiste & Minister of State McEntee to attend General Affairs Council in Luxembourg


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, and Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, will attend the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg tomorrow to discuss the Brexit negotiations as well as preparations for the European Council, which the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D. will attend in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.


The General Affairs Council will also adopt Conclusions on Turkey and on the accession prospects of the countries of the Western Balkans.  Ministers will discuss the new Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) over lunch with the Budget Commissioner, Günther Oettinger.  The afternoon session will include a hearing on the rule of law in Poland under the terms of article 7 of the Treaty on European Union and, in Article 50 format, Ministers will discuss the state of play in the Brexit negotiations with the EU Chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.


Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Tanaiste said:


I am looking forward to discussing the current state of play in the Brexit negotiations with our EU partners. I am deeply frustrated by the lack of progress in the negotiations on agreeing a backstop for the border. I will be encouraging my colleagues to approve draft conclusions for this week’s European Council which send a clear message to the UK that it must respect the commitments it has made and that, in the absence of agreement on a backstop, it will not be possible to finalise the Withdrawal Agreement as a whole, including the transition arrangements. I will also stress the need to intensify the negotiations on the backstop while again thanking our EU partners for their continuing steadfast support. I will also be meeting separately with Michel Barnier and taking the opportunity to speak bilaterally to a number of my counterparts, including the new Foreign Ministers of Spain and Italy.”


Minister of State McEntee added: 


“The General Affairs Council will be an opportunity to discuss a number of important issues with my EU counterparts, including enlargement, migration, the rule of law in Poland and the Multi-annual Financial Framework.  On Brexit, we are disappointed that the UK has not been in a position to deliver enough progress. We continue to have complete solidarity with our EU counterparts on these issues.


I will also meet with Alexander Stubb, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), to discuss our respective positions on the MFF.”




Press Office

25 June 2018