PQ: EU Meetings

Wed, February 8, 2017

87. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the meeting held in Malta on 3 February 2017; and if immigration to the EU was discussed.


The Taoiseach: The Summit in Malta on 3 February included two sessions. In the morning, there was an informal meeting of the European Council, where we discussed the external aspects of migration, particularly the central Mediterranean route, and agreed a formal declaration. In the afternoon, there was a meeting of the 27 EU Heads of State and Government – i.e. without the UK., where we considered the renewal and future direction of the EU.

I participated fully in both meetings, noting that the migration crisis remains one of the great humanitarian challenges facing our continent. The discussions on the future direction of the EU, which were wide ranging, were based on the Declaration and Roadmap agreed at the Bratislava Informal Summit last September: the items included commitment to the EU as the best guarantee of peace and democracy; the need for concrete initiatives on migration; internal and external security and defence; and economic and social development, including youth. I said that we need to demonstrate unity and resolve, and make it clear that the Union, with its core values, is an indispensable source of stability in this turbulent world. We need a balanced response to the many challenges we face, with a focus on delivering our priorities, particularly those in relation to jobs, growth, investment and trade, which will bring concrete improvements to the lives of our citizens.

The exchanges at Valletta will now feed into preparations for a Summit in Rome on 24 and 25 March, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. The intention is to agree a declaration after that meeting which will provide further guidance for us in the period ahead.