The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, T.D., and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., discussed the current state of play in the EU-UK negotiations with European colleagues, at a meeting of the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Tuesday, 13 October 2020. At the Council, Ministers approved new arrangements to improve coherence within the Union on travel and restrictions applied in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers also prepared for the European Council, on 15 and 16 October, where Leaders will discuss COVID-19, Climate Change, EU-Africa relations and the EU-UK negotiations. Ministers will also exchange views on the Annual Rule of Law Dialogue.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Minister Coveney said:
“I look forward to discussing Brexit with my colleagues at this sensitive juncture in the talks. The EU remains committed to a Future Relationship deal but it must be one that respects our long-term economic interests. We will also consider the state of play on implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement – its full and faithful implementation remains absolutely vital. On international travel, Ireland has already indicated our intention to align with this Recommendation and we are working on plans to implement its provisions.”
Minister Byrne added:
“We have many significant issues on the GAC agenda today, including coordination among Member States on travel and the restrictions to free movement applied in the context of the pandemic. I welcome the agreement reached on this important issue.
We will also assess progress in the negotiations with the European parliament on the new EU budget, the Annual Rule of Law Dialogue, and Climate Change. The Rule of Law is a fundamental principle for all EU Member States and I welcome the priority that is being given to this subject by the Commission and by the German Presidency.”