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Tánaiste Coveney & Minister of State McEntee attend GAC & GAC (Article 50)


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD, and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, will be in Brussels on Monday, 14 May to attend the General Affairs Council which will include a meeting of the Council in Article 50 formation to discuss the Brexit negotiations.  The Tánaiste will also have a bilateral meeting with the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier ahead of the GAC (Article 50).

 Speaking ahead of his departure, the Tánaiste said:

 “As we head into another crucial stage in the Brexit negotiations, I am looking forward to discussing with our EU partners the state of play in the negotiations. We will hear an update from our negotiator, Michel Barnier, as we work towards another important European Council meeting at the end of June when an assessment will be made on progress in the negotiations since its last meeting in March. I will use the opportunity to thank our EU partners for their continued steadfast support for Ireland in these negotiations. I will also stress the need to make significant progress by June on agreeing the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, including on the backstop for avoiding a hard border. The EU27 share our concerns about the current state of negotiations and have been clear that negotiations can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken so far by the UK are respected, including on the backstop. Following our meeting in Dundalk at the end of April, I will also have a bilateral meeting with Michel Barnier to continue our discussions on how we advance agreement on the backstop by June taking account of recent developments in the negotiations.”

 The General Affairs Council will be the first opportunity for Ministers to have an initial exchange of views on the European Commission’s proposals for the multi-annual financial framework, the budget for the European Union which will run from 2021 to 2017.  The Council will re-visit the issue of respect for the rule of law in Poland and Minister will begin preparations for the European Council in June.

 Minster of State McEntee added:

 “I welcome the proposal to increase funding in the multi-annual financial framework for Erasmus+ and research and innovation. Confirmation that programmes supporting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties will continue post-Brexit is also welcome.  But we will be conveying our concerns about the proposal for a cut in the CAP.”




14 May 2018