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Taoiseach | EU and NATO defence and security updates

To ask the Taoiseach the extent to which he has had discussions with other European/NATO leaders in regard to EU Security/Defence issues; and if defence and security issues were discussed at a recent dinner in Madrid.


I attended a meeting over dinner in Madrid on Wednesday 29 June, hosted by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, which brought together Leaders of EU Member States and those of NATO member countries.

While the event took place alongside a NATO Summit, it was a separate event and not a part of the Summit.

Discussion covered current political and security challenges in Europe, not least the need for a strong, common response to Russia’s illegal and immoral war against Ukraine.

There was remarkable consensus that the issues at stake include not only Ukraine’s right to freedom and sovereignty, but also our shared democratic values and the vitally important rules-based international order on which they depend.

Ahead of the meeting, I had the opportunity to meet bilaterally with the Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. Our discussions covered a range of issues including how we, as fellow neutral EU Member States, can best contribute to efforts to support Ukraine and to ensure that Russia’s aggression does not prevail.

At the event itself I spoke to many fellow leaders, including Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. I also met with President Joe Biden, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

In my contribution, I made the important point that, whilst Ireland is militarily neutral, we are not, and have never been, politically neutral, and we have made a significant contribution to the EU’s resolute response to the war.

I pointed to our unwavering commitment to international peace and security, including through our role on the United Nations Security Council.

I also noted the ongoing review of Ireland’s security and defence arrangements to ensure that we are ready to meet new threats and challenges.

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