The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, are in Brussels today, Tuesday, February 25, to discuss finalising the EU/Brexit negotiating mandate at the General Affairs Council (GAC).

At the meeting, the Tánaiste and Minister McEntee will discuss the future of EU-UK relations with their counterparts.

Speaking on his departure to Brussels, the Tánaiste said: “I am looking forward to today’s discussions on the important next steps in the EU-UK future relationship.

We have worked closely with our EU colleagues over the past several weeks to make sure that our joint approach to this reflects our values and interests.

“I look forward to continuing to cooperate closely with our partners in the months ahead as we work towards a new framework for the EU-UK relationship, which will be so important for all of our citizens and businesses.”

The GAC will also prepare for the March European Council which will focus on strengthening the EU economy, digital policies, enlargement and external relations.

Ministers will exchange views on the EU’s legislative work and priorities and will be updated on developments in relation to enlargement.

Minister McEntee outlined: “I’m looking forward to engaging with our European colleagues on a number of key issues for Ireland, in particular, the preparations for the European Council meeting next month.

“I welcome the strong focus on implementing the priorities in the EU’s Strategic Agenda for the next five years.”

Concluding, Minister McEntee said: “Ireland firmly believes that, as the EU moves forward, addressing the concerns of ordinary citizens must be the priority for our union.”