Minister Byrne to attend meeting of the General Affairs Council
The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., will attend a meeting of the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels on Tuesday 23 November. Ministers will prepare the agenda for the December meeting of European Leaders.
That meeting will include discussions on the COVID-19 pandemic, crisis management and resilience, the upcoming European Union – African Union Summit energy prices and security and defence issues. At the GAC Ministers will discuss the Enlargement and Stabilisation and Association process, as well as receiving an update from the Commission on recent developments in EU-UK relations. As part of the Annual Rule of Law Dialogue, European Affairs Ministers will exchange views on the rule of law situation in five Member States (Croatia, Cyprus, Italy, Latvia and Lithuania).
The Commission will update Ministers on its work programme for 2022. Ministers are also expected to approve Conclusions on enhancing preparedness, response capability and resilience to future crises.
Ahead of the meeting, Minister Byrne said: “I’m looking forward to engaging with colleagues on the important issues on our agenda today. We will discuss the rule of law situation in five Member States as part of the annual peer review process. Today’s discussion will give us an opportunity to develop a deeper, shared understanding regarding the rule of law, a fundamental principle for the EU and its Member States. I was pleased to discuss our 2020 country chapter at the GAC last April, which proved to be a very useful exercise. I also look forward to the discussion on EU-UK relations with regard to the ongoing intensive talks on the implementation of the Protocol. It important that the talks deliver sustainable solutions for the benefit of people in Northern Ireland. The Commission continues to bring a considered, practical and positive focus to that end. We encourage the UK to be similarly constructive.”