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Brussels Weekly
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Agenda highlights

WTO ministerial conference 

The Council will discuss the latest developments and prospects in view of the 11th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which will take place from 10 to 13 December, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Ministers will consider the EU’s priorities in the negotiations while upholding the central role of the WTO in the multilateral trading system.

Trade agreements

The Council will take stock of the ongoing negotiations for trade agreements with Mexico and Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay).

As the EU is at a crucial moment in the process of reaching an agreement with both blocks, ministers will discuss the key outstanding issues.

Under “other business”, the European Commission will present a report on the implementation of free trade agreements.

Ministers will discuss the stage of preparations for the free trade agreement with Japan and the implementation of so-called sustainable development chapters in EU trade agreements.



Speech by Michel Barnier at the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas (Houses of Parliament of Ireland), Dublin

Mr. Speakers,


Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas,

A chairde,

I am happy and honoured to address both Houses and to greet you, as the representatives of the people of Ireland, in all your political diversity.

I take this honour as a responsibility.

The responsibility to listen to all those who will be affected by the decision of the UK to leave the European Union.

The responsibility to listen to your concerns, build our positions together, negotiate in our common interest.

The responsibility to explain that we need each other: that Ireland is stronger in the Union.

And the EU is stronger with Ireland.


Your country has had deep historical, cultural and intellectual ties to continental Europe for many centuries.

In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, Irish Colleges were set up around Europe: from Madrid – where I was yesterday –, to Leuven, Paris, Rome and Prague.

They contributed to writing the history of Ireland and the history of Europe. And they spread Irish culture to the continent.

Centuries later, in 1972, the people of Ireland massively voted to take part in the European project.

I was 21 at the time.  France had a referendum on the accession of Ireland, the UK, Denmark and Norway.

It was my very first vote. And I campaigned for a “yes” vote.

For the UK’s accession, back then, voting yes was not so easy for a member of the French Gaullist party. But I did it with my full heart.

And I never regretted that vote. I regret that Brexit is happening now.

I would have liked to have seen the UK staying in Europe, with Ireland and all the 26 other Member States. But we are where we are.

Since 1972, we have accomplished great things together. Read Speech in full here


Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete in Berlin

On Monday 4 April, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete visits Berlin to hold climate and energy talks with German Minister for the Environment Barbara Hendricks as well as with top officials from the German Chancellery. The main items on the agenda are the emissions targets for the sectors not included in the Emissions Trading System (ETS) in view of the upcoming Effort Sharing Decision proposal, which is the next step in delivering on the EU’s target to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030.  Recent developments on Europe’s energy security and the Commission’s proposals to enhance security of gas supply will also be part of the agenda, together with a follow-up on the Paris Agreement, its upcoming signing and ratification.



Daily News 01 – 04 – 2016



The Safety Check can be accessed here and the Department of Foreign Affairs phone line is 00 353 (1) 418 0200.  Belgian Crisis Centre phone number 00 32 781 51 771.

Telephone communication is very difficult at the moment. Authorities are asking people to use social media or landline rather than cell phone.


Statement by President Donald Tusk following the terrorist attacks in Brussels

I am appalled by the bombings this morning at Zaventem airport and the European district in Brussels which have cost several innocent lives and injured many others.

I extend my sincerest sympathies to the relatives and friends of the victims. These attacks mark another low by the terrorists in the service of hatred and violence.

The European institutions are hosted in Brussels thanks to the generosity of Belgium’s government and its people. The European Union returns this solidarity now and will fulfil its role to help Brussels, Belgium and Europe as a whole counter the terror threat which we are all facing.


In his Speech today at the ICOS Annual Commission Phil Hogan said :

I would like to take this opportunity to say that our meat products are among the very best in the world. My services and I have taken note of the recent WHO report, and we do not believe it will have any meaningful impact on sales of our high-quality, traceable meat products.

Opening up new markets will be a key priority in the coming years. We are optimistic about finding new markets for our products – perhaps within the EU, but also elsewhere in the world, such as the Far East.

This year’s announcement of an equivalency agreement with South Korea is one such example. Talks are also ongoing with Japan and Vietnam, which I believe could lead to significant opportunities for sector.

Now that the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement between Asia and the US is over the line, I believe there’s a real opportunity for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan.  This would generate huge prospects for the beef and grain sectors.  Read speech in full here

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