Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (113)

Micheál Martin

Question:

113. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to implement the Sibiu declaration; and if this will involve an interdepartmental group or Cabinet committee. [21835/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Heads of State and Government of the EU27 adopted the Sibiu Declaration at the informal European Council meeting on 9 May. Agreed on Europe Day, the Declaration recalls key achievements of the EU and sets out 10 commitments to guide the decisions that leaders will take about the future.

At the same time, leaders discussed strategic priorities for the coming years, with a view to adopting the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 at the June European Council. The Strategic Agenda will guide the work of the Union over the next five years.

Preparations for Ireland's contribution to the new Strategic Agenda have been under way since late 2017, when the Minister of State for European Affairs and I joined the Taoiseach in launching a citizens' dialogue on the future of Europe. There was extensive engagement across the country last year and a narrative report on the citizens' dialogue process was published in October.

On foot of this report, my Department, together with the Department of the Taoiseach, held consultations with Departments across Government earlier this year. Discussions were also held as part of this process in the Interdepartmental Group on the European Union and Brexit, which consists of senior representatives of all Government Departments and the Office of the Attorney General. The Group focuses on current issues on the EU agenda, including the new Strategic Agenda.

Following these discussions, Ireland's National Statement on the European Union was approved by the Cabinet last month. The National Statement is Ireland's contribution to the new Strategic Agenda. It has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and was the subject of statements in Dáil Éireann just before the Easter recess.

It is expected, as I have indicated, that the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 will be adopted at the European Council next month and discussion on the draft text, which began in Sibiu, will continue in the meantime. The Government will prioritise work, including engagement with partners, on the issues which will be highlighted in the Strategic Agenda and in the incoming Commission’s work programme.