Minister Byrne attends meeting of the General Affairs Council
Press release18 November 2022
The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., represented Ireland at a meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) on Friday, 18 November.
The main item at this month’s General Affairs Council meeting was preparation for the European Council meeting on 15-16 December. Leaders will discuss a number of pressing issues at the European Council, including Ukraine/Russia, Energy and Economy, Security and Defence, Southern Neighbourhood and External Relations.
Ministers were also updated on the state of play in EU-UK relations and on follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe. Ministers received a presentation by the Commission on legislative programming and the Commission work programme for 2023, while there will also be a further Article 7 hearing on respect for values of the Union in Hungary.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Byrne said:
“Ukraine/Russia will again be a major item for discussion at next month’s European Council next month, which I will attend with the Taoiseach. The tragic events this week in Poland have underlined again the appalling consequences arising for too many innocent citizens of Russia’s completely unjust aggression against Ukraine. I expressed Ireland’s full solidarity with Poland at the Council and also noted the important conference hosted today by Ireland which will adopt a Political Declaration on strengthening the protection of civilians from the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.”
“There was also a useful update from VP Sefcovic on the state of play in EU-UK negotiations. With the extension of the deadline for the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland until 19 January, time and space exists to address the issues around the Protocol. It is vital the UK Government engages in constructive discussions with the EU so we can find pragmatic solutions in the best interests of all in Northern Ireland”.
18 November 2022