Taoiseach Begins European Visit

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is travelling to Slovenia today for a three-day European trip, which will include visits to Austria and Poland.

Mr Ahern's trip will include a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts and an engagement with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna.

On Wednesday, Mr Ahern will meet with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, who is the current President of the European Council in Ljublijana and visit President Danilo Turk.

Discussions are expected to focus on bilateral relations between Ireland and Slovenia, the ratification of the EU Reform Treaty and the Slovenian Presidency's preparations for Spring European Council.

Mr Ahern is also expected to discuss the package of measures recently proposed by the European Commission to promote energy savings and combat climate change, and renewal of the Lisbon Agenda, which is designed to promote job creation and growth. He is also expected to discuss Kosovo's recent declaration of independence and the wider issue of stability in the western Balkans, as well as the deployment of the EU military force in the Republic of Chad, to which Ireland and the Republic of Slovenia are troop contributors.

This will be Mr Ahern's third visit to Slovenia. He previously visited the country in 2003 and 2004, before and during the Irish Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2004.


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