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An Taoiseach & Minister McEntee attending European Council & Euro Summit

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee travel to Brussels today for meetings of the European Council and the Euro Summit.

The Taoiseach will join his fellow Heads of State and Government to discuss significant topics including the EU Strategic Agenda, cybersecurity and electoral disinformation, climate action, and new appointments for the top EU jobs including the President of the European Commission and European Council.

The leaders are also expected to hold talks on the next EU Budget, enlargement, and the current situation in Russia and Eastern Ukraine. There will also be an informal discussion on Brexit in advance of the scheduled departure date for the UK of October 31st.

Speaking before his departure, the Taoiseach said:

I look forward to joining my fellow Heads of State and Government in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for a series of meetings of the European Council. An important part of our discussions will be on Climate Action, which is a global problem. The EU must re-affirm its role as a global leader and set itself the objective of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. Our Climate Action Plan published this week sets out a road map for Ireland. 

We will also discuss the challenge of disinformation. We stand in solidarity with our EU partners in seeking to counter the disinformation activities and cyber activities that threaten our shared democracy.

On Brexit, the European Council has been absolutely consistent that the Withdrawal Agreement is not up for renegotiation and that any unilateral commitments the UK Government gives must be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement.  As I have said before, it would be a serious political miscalculation and a misunderstanding of how the European Union works, to think that a change of UK Prime Minister would change this. We are of course prepared to amend the political declaration on the future relationship, if the UK position evolves. At home, the Government is continuing its intensive preparations for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Minister McEntee said:

This week’s European Council is an important meeting that will focus on the next EU Budget, EU Enlargement, Climate Action and a discussion on Brexit.  The EU Council follows on from the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg this week where European Ministers met to prepare for this summit.  There continues to be total solidarity from all EU Countries on Brexit. The position has not changed, there will be no re-negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Ireland strongly supports the opening of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, which will help to bring stability to the region and recognise the efforts both countries have made in implementing reforms. We hope that any delay in opening the negotiations will be as short as possible.