Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore briefs Ministerial colleagues on EU budget talks
At a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg today, chaired by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, the Irish Presidency marked important milestones in the EU’s relations with key partners.
On Turkey, Ministers decided to open a new chapter in EU negotiations with Turkey and to hold the Intergovernmental Conference with Turkey later this year.
Announcing this decision the Tánaiste said,
"At the outset of the Irish Presidency, we undertook to reinvigorate the accession talks with Turkey. I believe that the EU accession process is the most effective tool we have in influencing the reform agenda in Turkey."
The Council also decided to recommend that the EU set a date for the opening of negotiations with Serbia on its joining the EU. On Kosovo, negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement will open with the adoption, later this week, of a negotiating mandate.
Welcoming this progress, the Tánaiste said,
"I believe that today we are sending a strong, positive message to both countries of our continued commitment to their respective European paths."
The Tánaiste also briefed his Ministerial colleagues on the outcome of his negotiations with the European Parliament’s lead negotiator, Alain Lamassoure.
Speaking at the press conference after the Council, the Tánaiste said,
"We will continue to explore every option to secure agreement on the EU’s €960 billion budget to support jobs and growth. It may be necessary to convene a meeting later this week."
This was the last General Affairs Council of Ireland’s six month Presidency of the European Union.