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MoS McEntee meets with Finland's Permanent Secretary & Permanent SoS of Iceland

Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D. meets with
Finland’s Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. Mr. Matti Anttonen, a
nd with Permanent Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Mr. Sturla Sigurjónsson


On the occasion of their visit to Dublin to speak at Friday’s conference “Ireland and the Nordic Baltic 8: Working Together for a Secure, Sustainable and Digital Europe” **, both the Finnish Permanent State Secretary, Matti Anttonen and Icelandic Permanent Secretary of State, Sturla Sigurjónsson held individual bilateral meetings with the Minister for European Affairs,  Helen McEntee, T.D.


In her meeting with Mr. Matti Anttonen, Minister McEntee was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss Finland’s EU Presidency priorities, including the EU’s next budget, the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF). She welcomed the Finnish Presidency’s focus on implementing the EU’s Strategic Agenda.  She also expressed her warm appreciation for Finland’s support for Ireland’s position throughout the Brexit negotiations.


Speaking after the meeting with Mr. Matti Anttonen, Minister McEntee said:


“I was very happy to have a good discussion with the Permanent Secretary of State Matti Anttonen on Brexit, Finland’s EU Presidency and the Future of EU27. I thanked him sincerely for Finland’s unwavering support and understanding for Ireland throughout the Brexit negotiations. I expressed our strong support for the Finnish EU Presidency’s priorities which are strongly aligned with ours. Progressing the MFF negotiations is an important priority for the Finnish Presidency and Ireland will continue to work closely with the Presidency to achieve a good outcome.  I emphasised that CAP is our main priority, particularly given the pressure the farming sector is coming under at the moment”.



Minister McEntee also met with Mr Sturla Sigurjónsson, Permanent State Secretary of the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and discussed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Brexit contingency planning, and EU/EEA cooperation.


“Ireland and Iceland have a very good bilateral relationship, building on our historic and familial links. I welcomed the opportunity to discuss with Permanent Secretary Sigurjónsson how to further enhance Irish-Icelandic cooperation, as well as regional cooperation through the mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. The EEA Agreement has provided an excellent framework for multilateral cooperation for 25 years. Iceland currently coordinates the Nordic Baltic 8 and I was very interested to hear the perspective of another North Atlantic island state on the need to work with neighbours and partners in addressing common challenges and opportunities.”


Welcoming the participation of representatives from all eight of the Nordic Baltic states in the Conference, Minister McEntee said that “As part of our preparations for an EU of 27, we have worked to deepen our engagement across Europe. Ireland and the Nordic Baltics share a long rich history of cultural and trading links. It is natural that we should learn from each other’s experiences and work together to adapt and innovate in a sustainable way.” 

Press Office
24 October 2019


Note for editors:

On Friday, 25 October, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will co-host a half-day Conference in the Iveagh House Ballroom on “Ireland and the Nordic Baltic 8: Working Together for a Secure, Sustainable and Digital Europe”.  The other conference co-hosts are the IIEA and the Ambassadors of the Nordic Baltic 8 accredited to Ireland (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden). The Conference will be formally opened by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton, T.D.


The event forms part of Ireland’s alliance strengthening work, increasing our engagement with the Nordic Baltic region.  This half day conference will explore new security challenges, the digital agenda, the sustainable economy, and the prospects for further enhancing wider political, cultural, social and environmental connections between Ireland and the NB8 countries.  The event demonstrates Ireland’s continued commitment to working with our Nordic Baltic 8 partners through engagement at official level as well as through technical experts and academia, all of whom will be represented.


In hosting the conference, the Department is working to foster and broaden our relationship with partner countries across a range of shared interests and challenges in portfolios that are central to policy agendas across Europe.





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