Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (90)

Micheál Martin


90. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken to his EU counterparts recently regarding Brexit. [36956/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I continue to have frequent and ongoing contact with representatives from other EU Member States and the European Commission on a range of EU issues including Brexit.

Over the last few weeks, I have held bilateral meetings with the Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, and Foreign Minister, Tomáš Petrícek, in Prague; the French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, and Minister for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, in Paris; and the Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod, in Copenhagen. I also met again with the Polish Foreign Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, in Warsaw, while attending events to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.   The informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Helsinki on 29-30 August also provided an opportunity to engage with my EU counterparts, including German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

It is clear from each of these meetings that solidarity for the EU’s approach to Brexit remains strong and that our partners continue to understand the unique position Ireland finds itself in.

I have also met with members of the new UK Government, including UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove.  These meetings provided an opportunity to reiterate that the EU remains open to working constructively with any UK proposals so long as they are compatible with the Withdrawal Agreement, and that the EU is open to reworking the Political Declaration, within the bounds of European Council guidelines.  It is up to the UK to provide specific, realistic proposals, that provide the same protections as the backstop, that is protecting the GFA,  avoiding a hard border, including related checks and controls, preserving the all-island economy, and the integrity of the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it.