The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., will join his ministerial colleagues at a meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Luxembourg on Tuesday 22 June.
The main item at this month’s Council will be preparation of the European Council meeting on 24-25 June. At that meeting, leaders will discuss the Covid-19 pandemic; economic recovery; migration; the Eastern Mediterranean; and Russia.
In addition, Ministers will exchange views on the Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association Process. Following the Council, inter-governmental conference (IGC) meetings will take place with both Serbia and Montenegro to review progress by both countries in their ongoing accession negotiations with the EU.
The Council meeting will also include a hearing on values of the Union in Hungary with regard to citizen’s fundamental rights and freedoms and on rule of law in Poland while the Presidency will provide an update to the Council following the inaugural session of the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe in Strasbourg on 19 June.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Byrne said:
“This will be a busy meeting of the General Affairs Council as we prepare for the European Council in Brussels later this week. We will also discuss the current state of the Enlargement process, in advance of IGC meetings with Serbia and Montenegro directly following the Council. I look forward to attending these two conferences and engaging with Serbia and Montenegro to encourage both countries to maintain their ongoing reform efforts as they seek to advance their European perspectives. Ireland has always been best placed as part of the EU and membership of it has led to meaningful change that has helped all Irish people achieve their potential, I want to see this equality of opportunity for the citizens of Serbia and Montenegro and indeed all the accession states.
“I also look forward to the Presidency update on the Conference of the Future of Europe. I was delighted to take part virtually in the first Plenary Session in Strasbourg on Saturday and start the conversation with other European representatives and citizens about how we wish to see the EU evolve in the coming years. It was an empowering occasion and I encourage everyone, but particularly our younger citizens, to engage with the Conference and have their say on the future direction of our Union.”
21 June 2021