Minister Flanagan completes a day of Brexit meetings in Brussels before travelling on to Helsinki to meet the Finnish Foreign Minister
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, was in Brussels today (Thursday) for an intensive round of meetings setting out Ireland’s priorities and concerns in relation to Brexit. He met the European Commission Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, European Parliament representative on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt MEP; the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, David McAllister MEP, EPP Brexit coordinator, Elmar Brok MEP; S&D President Gianni Pittella MEP and a number of Irish MEPs.
The Minister said:
“I had very constructive and positive meetings today in Brussels. I have now been engaged in a diplomatic initiative for some 8 months to ensure that Ireland’s unique concerns about Brexit are well understood in advance of the Article 50 exit negotiations. Mr. Barnier and Mr. Verhofstadt are on record as recognising and understanding these concerns and we had useful exchanges today. I was pleased to meet a number of senior figures in the European Parliament including my EPP colleagues, David McAllister and Elmar Brok along with S&D President Gianni Pittella. I briefed Ireland’s MEPs in the morning – they, along with all Ireland’s elected politicians at home and abroad, have a crucial role to play in explaining the Irish concerns and priorities. They are our economic and trading concerns, the Common Travel Area, Northern Ireland and the Peace Process”.
Minister Flanagan travels to Helsinki tonight at the invitation of the Finnish Foreign Minister, Timo Soini.
Minister Flanagan said:
“I am delighted to have been invited to Helsinki to meet with Minister Timo Soini who knows Ireland well having visited many times. Ireland and Finland enjoy excellent bilateral relations and Finland is an important EU partner for us. We share a similar outlook, based on respect for international law, human rights, assistance to the Developing World and an ongoing commitment to UN peacekeeping. Irish and Finnish peacekeepers currently serve together as part of a joint Battalion at the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon”.