I attended a meeting of the European Council on Thursday, 21 October, and Friday, 22 October, in Brussels. The meeting had a very full agenda, touching on some of the most pressing issues facing the Union. We discussed Covid-19, with a particular focus on vaccination rates across the European Union, in the context of rising infection rates in some member states and tackling disinformation on the pandemic. We also discussed the importance of the global roll-out of vaccines and the central role of the World Health Organization in global health governance. We discussed energy prices and what we can do individually as member states, and collectively as the European Union, to mitigate the impact of recent price fluctuations on vulnerable citizens and businesses. We also considered medium- and long-term measures to increase the European Union's energy resilience and green transition. We also discussed digital issues, including ongoing progress on the digital services Act and digital markets Act, ahead of the publication of a European chips Act planned by the Commission. We discussed trade, including its coherence with the overall international perspective of the EU, and, of course, critically, the importance of trade to global economic recovery. We discussed migration, including ongoing work to support countries of origin and transit. We called on Turkey to implement fully the European Union-Turkey Statement of 2016, including vis-à-vis the Republic of Cyprus. We also discussed a new issue of enormous concern, namely, the instrumentalisation of vulnerable migrants by the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. We agreed conclusions on a number of important summits, including COP15 and COP26, which I attended in Glasgow over the past two days; the Asia Europe summit, which I will participate in when it will be held virtually on 25 and 26 November; and the European Union-Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Brussels on 15 December. We also had a frank discussion on the rule of law in the European Union. The Minister of State, Deputy Thomas Byrne, will address the discussion of migration in his concluding remarks this afternoon. I will address all other items.
Prior to the formal European Council meeting, I met with my counterparts from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden for a useful and constructive exchange of views. This Nordic-Baltic+1 format is a valuable addition to Ireland's European engagement, allowing us to discuss topical issues with like-minded partners.
Sadly, Covid-19 continues to be both a significant concern within the European Union and a global challenge. At our meeting last week, a number of European Union leaders reported rising infection rates in their member states. Our first focus was on vaccination rates across the European Union, including tackling disinformation and efforts to overcome vaccine hesitancy. We need to challenge disinformation and remain vigilant against this deadly disease, which continues to circulate in our communities. We agreed to further co-ordination on free movement and travel, preparedness for future health emergencies, the global roll-out of vaccines, and the European Union support for the World Health Organization.
Very significant progress has been made in tackling the pandemic, with safe and effective vaccines providing the means to protect ourselves from Covid 19. The decision of the European Union and its member states to join together to support the development and the procurement of vaccines has been remarkably successful. Well over 800 million doses have already been delivered across European Union. I am pleased to inform the House that Ireland now has the highest level of full vaccination among adults in the European Union, with more than 93% of adults having now received their first vaccine dose, and more than 92% fully vaccinated against the disease. Vaccination has been extended to children aged 12 years and older, with 71% of eligible children having now received a vaccine dose and 67% fully vaccinated. This is a remarkable national achievement.
We cannot take our eye off the ball. I encourage those who have not yet availed of vaccination and for whom it is deemed clinically safe, to come forward for vaccination at the earliest opportunity. In doing so you will help to protect yourself, your loved ones and the wider community this winter. At the European Council we also discussed our approach to vaccine booster doses and vaccine sharing. The pandemic is a global challenge. Ireland is committed to the universal and fair access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. The European Union is the largest exporter of Covid-19 vaccines to the world. We need now to work together to increase global vaccine production capacity, as well as supply, to meet global needs.
We also called on the European Investment Bank to examine how to speed up investment in the energy transition. Our focus in the short term is on actions member states can take to protect those most vulnerable to the effects of energy price increases. In budget 2022, we introduced a range of measures to support households through higher welfare payments, to increase and expand the scope of the fuel allowance, and to improve energy efficiency. Leaders also tasked the energy ministers, who met last week, to examine further work on this pressing area of concern. Ultimately, increasing our supply of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency are the best ways to ensure security of supply, tackle energy poverty, and protect people from the impact of high energy costs.
I was pleased to receive German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier for a courtesy call as part of his state visit to Ireland last week.
German-Irish relations continue to grow closer all the time and our governments share a joint plan of action for enhanced bilateral and EU co-operation. There can be no doubt that Chancellor Merkel's departure from the European Council marks the end of an era. She participated in the European Council for a truly remarkable 16 years. During that period, she played a significant role in helping the European Union collectively to weather many storms and crises. She has truly carried on the European legacy of Konrad Adenauer as a pragmatic unifier.
The European Council will continue to strive for this combination of strategy and pragmatism to preserve our most powerful asset, our unity. Leaders will next meet at the European Council in December, when we will return to our discussion on Covid-19. We will also discuss the EU's resilience and its crisis response capability, learning from our experiences. We will discuss EU relations with Africa, including the EU–African Union summit planned for February. I will report to the House in advance of discussions.