General Affairs Council Agrees EU's Position For Brexit Negotiations

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Dara Murphy, has represented Ireland at a meeting the General Affairs Council where they completed the EU's preparations for the first phase of negotiations with the UK on its withdrawal from the European Union.

The Council agreed a set of negotiating directives, which provide a mandate to the European Commission to open negotiations with the UK, based on the Guidelines adopted by the European Council on 29 April.

In particular, the directives fully reflect the EU Guidelines in expressing the goal of protecting the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the peace process, including the need for flexible and imaginative solutions to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. In addition, the directives address:

• the need to take full account of the situation of Irish citizens residing in Northern Ireland who will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens and

• the need to address issues arising from Ireland's unique geographic situation, including the transit of goods to and from Ireland via the UK

Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said: "I am very happy with the negotiating directives agreed today, which confirm that a number of key EU and Irish concerns will be addressed during the first phase of the negotiations.

"The EU has been clear that its priority will be to achieve as much clarity and legal certainty as possible for businesses and citizens. This is an approach that the Ireland fully supports.

"The directives that I have agreed with my counterparts today deliver on the objectives the Government identified in its comprehensive document published earlier this month.

"They are fully in line with our approach to the priorities we share with other EU Member States, including on citizens' rights and the UK's financial liabilities, as well as in relation to the challenges and issues that are unique to Ireland."


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