Taoiseach | Recent Attendance at the European Council and discussions with Ukrainian authorities
To ask the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent attendance at the European Council; and the extent to which pressing issues were dealt with.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
To ask the Taoiseach the extent of any recent discussions he has had with the Ukrainian President or Ukrainian authorities, directly or at European level.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
A Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 1 to 10 together.
I attended a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels on 9/10 February.
The agenda covered Ukraine, the economy, and migration. We also touched on relations between Kosovo and Serbia, and the tragic earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, joined Leaders in Brussels, meeting with all his EU counterparts. In my engagement with him, I reiterated Ireland’s commitment to standing with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
President Zelenskyy also joined us for the start of the European Council meeting. As we approached the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he thanked the EU for the assistance and support given to Ukraine and its people.
In addition to expressing our continuing commitment to Ukraine’s political, economic, humanitarian, and other needs, we acknowledged the considerable efforts Ukraine is making to ensure it is prepared for the opening of accession negotiations with the EU. This is especially impressive under the exceptionally difficult circumstances.
The European Council discussed the economic situation in the EU, and how to ensure the region’s long-term competitiveness, prosperity, and international standing.
We will return to this important discussion when we next meet in March.
We discussed migration, focussing in particular on the external dimension. We were agreed on the need to strengthen our external borders, engage better with countries of origin and transit, and more effectively deal with people trafficking and smuggling.
We expressed our deepest condolences to the victims of the tragic earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria and pledged humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering in all affected regions.
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