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Taoiseach | November European Council meeting

To ask the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent attendance at the European Council; and if he will refer to the items under discussion and their order of importance.

REPLY

As I set out in my statement to the House on 16 November, I attended a meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 20/21 October.

Issues discussed included developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine and its wider impacts; supply and price challenges on energy; economic issues; and a number of external relations issues including preparation of COP27 and the upcoming EU/ASEAN Summit.

On energy, we agreed steps to take forward work to tackle the price and supply crises urgently, including improving the functioning and stability of energy markets, addressing spikes in prices, saving energy, and accelerating deployment of renewables.

Given the extent to which the issue is having a negative impact on citizens and enterprises, it is important that the EU and its Member States continue to work collectively to create stability in the market.  

We also discussed the latest developments in Russia’s war on Ukraine, including its impact both in Ukraine and further afield. We condemned indiscriminate Russian missile and drone attacks on civilians and infrastructure, including the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as well as the illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. The European Union will never recognise these illegal annexations.

We stated our intention to continue to provide political, financial and other supports to Ukraine for as long as it takes, and reaffirmed our commitment to hold Russia to account for its war crimes.

The European Council condemned actions by Iran in support of Russia’s war, and we welcomed sanctions adopted on 20 October 2022 in this regard.

We also called on the Belarusian authorities to stop enabling the Russian war of aggression by permitting Russian armed forces to use Belarusian territory.

Through its tactic of weaponizing food in its war against Ukraine, Russia is responsible for the global food security crisis.

To counter this the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes have made the export of Ukrainian crops, agricultural products and fertilisers possible.

Leaders expressed support for the call by the United Nations Secretary-General for the extension of the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative.

On Iran, we condemned the unacceptable use of force by Iranian authorities against peaceful protestors, in particular against women.  Women in Iran are being denied their civil and political rights.

The meeting also held a strategic discussion on the EU’s relationship with China, which is an important and complex one.

We looked ahead to the EU-ASEAN Summit taking place on 14 December 2022, which will be an opportunity to deepen our regional partnership in South east Asia; and to COP27 on Climate Change which I attended earlier this month, and COP15 on biodiversity upcoming in Montreal in December.

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