BRUSSELS, Belgium - The Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee was in Brussels on Tuesday for the Article 50 General Affairs Council meeting.
Together with her European colleagues, she was engaging in a policy debate on the external instruments within the EU budget (the multi-annual financial framework). At the GAC meeting, the General Affairs Council was also preparing for next month's European Council. The June European Council will take the relevant decisions on high-level appointments for the next institutional cycle and adopt the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda for the Union. Leaders will also assess the progress made in the negotiations for the EU budget and discuss climate change ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in September.
The Council will also include information on the outcome of a number of recent meetings in relation to the European Semester Conference, held in Bucharest last month, and a Ministerial meeting on European Cultural Heritage in Paris following the fire at the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral.
"As always, I welcome the opportunity to engage with our EU partners in the General Affairs Council. The adoption of the next Strategic Agenda is an important moment for reflection on how our Union can meet the challenges of the future. We must work together to ensure that the Agenda will provide a framework to address the concerns of our citizens and deliver real benefits in their lives," McEntee said prior to the meeting.
Earlier Tuesday, the minister met with Michel Barnier and Tanaiste Simon Coveney to discuss the latest on Brexit.
On Monday, the Minister of State delivered an address on the "Future of Europe, following on from Sibiu" at an IIEA Brussels event. In her speech, the Minister outlined Ireland's response to the debate on the future of Europe. She also gave an overview of the key policies identified in our National Statement on the European Union, which was published in April.