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Minister Flanagan to attend EU Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels to discuss the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, migration, Egypt, the Western Balkans and the Middle East Peace Process

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charlie Flanagan TD, is in Brussels today (Monday) to attend a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers.  The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, migration, Egypt, the Western Balkans and the Middle East Peace Process are all on the agenda for discussion.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister Flanagan said:

“Migration continues to be a serious challenge for the EU.  The ongoing flow of refugees and migrants is a symptom of the continuing instability in our neighbourhood, particularly to the south. 

"The EU Global Strategy recognises the need to invest more in conflict resolution and tackle the root causes of this instability. This involves using a mix of EU policies to support international peace, economic development and help build state and societal capacity on governance, rule of law and human rights.  Strengthening the EU's peace-keeping capacity in support of the United Nations will be an integral part of this effort.  This will be done through the further development of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as defined in the EU Treaties.  I am looking forward to discussing progress in implementing the Global Strategy in the area of security and defence with EU Defence Ministers at the FAC.”

Ministers will also discuss the latest developments related to the Middle East Peace Process.  Minister Flanagan said:

“Concerning the Middle East Peace Process, there have been some troubling developments on the ground, including settlement expansion, the legalisation bill in the Knesset, and other issues.  As I have said previously, the only sustainable solution to the conflict is a negotiated two state solution. This is an important message to send at a time when some are casting doubt on a two state solution.”

EU Foreign Ministers will also have an informal discussion with the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry.  Minister Flanagan said:

“Egypt is a critical regional partner for the EU in a region beset by instability.  Cooperation between the EU and Egypt is central to efforts to promote stability and address the challenges of extremism, insecurity and fragility. At the same time, the EU needs to work to support Egypt’s democratic transition, its economic development and the protection of human rights and the role of Egyptian civil society. The Halawa case is well-known to our EU partners, as well as the Egyptian authorities.”

As part of the Government’s programme of engagement with EU partners on Brexit, Minister Flanagan will also meet separately with the Foreign Ministers of Denmark and Germany to discuss ongoing preparations for the upcoming negotiations, with an emphasis on Ireland’s priority issues, namely the economy, Northern Ireland, the Common Travel Area and the future of the EU itself.