Minister Byrne to join Informal Meeting of Ministers for European Affairs
Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., will discuss EU coordination on COVID-19 with his EU Ministerial colleagues today, by videoconference, at an informal meeting of Ministers for European Affairs. The meeting will help prepare the informal European Council which has been convened by President Charles Michel on 21 January to discuss the continuing EU response to the COVID crisis.
The Portuguese Presidency will also make a presentation on the priorities for their presidency of the Council of the EU. In addition, Ministers will be updated on the Conference of the Future of Europe.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Byrne said:
“Strong EU solidarity has been vital in helping us to deal with the unprecedented health, social and economic challenges of the pandemic. This devastating crisis affects all Member States and we must keep working together to coordinate our response. I have no doubt that this solidarity will be evident as we continue to work to meet these shared challenges, including close cooperation with the Commission as regards procurement and roll-out of vaccines in a planned and equitable manner across all Member States. The development and rollout of national vaccine programmes represents a game-changer in our efforts to defeat the virus and we must ensure that, in doing so, the EU is as responsive as possible in responding to the urgent needs of citizens across Europe.
"I would like to congratulate the Portuguese on taking up the Presidency of the Council of the EU. I look forward to working with my good colleague, Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, in the General Affairs Council over the coming months.”