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Ministerial Communications

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 12 December 2017

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Ceisteanna (98, 116)

Micheál Martin


98. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he spoke with Mr. Michel Barnier on 4 December 2017 regarding Brexit. [52606/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Stephen Donnelly


116. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has spoken to Mr. Michel Barnier recently. [50596/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 116 together.

I have been in frequent contact with Michel Barnier during this critical phase in the Article 50 negotiations.

At the General Affairs Council (Article 50) on 20 November, Mr Barnier provided an update to the EU27 Member States on the state of play with regard to the EU-UK negotiations and I also met with him in the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit on 24 November.

These contacts have supported Mr Barnier’s efforts to achieve sufficient progress on the Irish issues and in securing a positive outcome for Ireland in the joint progress report agreed between Prime Minister May and European Commission President Juncker last Friday, 8 December.

I met with Mr Barnier earlier this morning in Brussels and took this opportunity to thank him and his team for their excellent work to date in securing a positive outcome for Ireland and for the EU27 as a whole and welcome that he is now in a position to recommend to the Council that sufficient progress has been made on all phase one issues.

Later today I will attend the General Affairs Council (Article 50), at which Mr Barnier will present the EU-UK joint report. I will take this opportunity to welcome that language on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the joint report from the negotiators of the EU and the UK Government reflects our goals of maintaining the Common Travel Area, protecting the Good Friday Agreement and North South cooperation and protecting EU citizenship and other rights.

In so doing, I will note that there is clearly still a great deal of work remaining on the Irish issues to ensure that all the commitments set out in this report are implemented. I will therefore welcome that work on Irish issues will continue to be taken forward in a distinct strand of the negotiations in phase two. This will ensure that they will not be overlooked in the next phase.

I will also express my hope that the European Council will agree to start discussions on the framework for a future EU-UK relationship, and on transitional arrangements, as soon as possible. This is hugely important for Ireland and for the EU as a whole.