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16. 2. 2009 15:02

PR:Czech Deputy Prime Minister A.Vondra meets Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs M.Martin

The Czech Presidency, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra, met the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D. in Cork, Ireland, today. The issues discussed related to the Lisbon Treaty, the EU’s economic policy in the context of the global economic situation, and transatlantic relations.

“The Czech Presidency and the Irish Government will cooperate in finalising the legal guarantees related to the Lisbon Treaty that were pledged to Ireland by the December European Council. The common objective of the Presidency and the Irish Government is to present to the European Council in June 2009 at the latest the final texts of the Irish guarantees which will fully reflect the December 2008 European Council Conclusions, yet without going beyond them, and will be acceptable for both Ireland and other Member States,” said the Deputy Prime Minister Vondra after the meeting.

„We agreed with Mr Martin, that the Irish Taoiseach, Mr Brian Cowen, in cooperation with the Czech Presidency, will inform the next ordinary European Council meeting (19-20 March) about the progress met in formulating the legal guarantees for Ireland. The Czech Presidency stresses that no pressure should be put on Ireland or other Member State as regards the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The sovereign right of the Irish Government to decide on timing of the new referendum has to be respected,” added Mr Vondra.
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome Deputy Prime Minister Vondra to Cork. We had fruitful discussions on a series of vital issues for the EU and for Ireland. I renewed our commitment to supporting the Czech Republic as they provide leadership to the EU at this critical time when there are so many major challenges to be faced”, said the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D..
“Today’s meeting provided a valuable opportunity to take stock of progress on finalising the package of legal guarantees for Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty to which EU leaders committed themselves at the December meeting of the European Council. The Czech Presidency is playing a central role in taking this important work forward, and I thanked Deputy Prime Minister Vondra for his continuing efforts in this regard.
“It is very much in Ireland’s national interest, particularly in the current economic climate, that there should be no doubt whatsoever about our commitment to remaining at the heart of Europe. The Government is absolutely convinced that it is vital that any uncertainty in this regard be removed.
“The Government will spare no effort to ensure that the concerns of the Irish people on Lisbon are fully addressed. Deputy Prime Minister Vondra has assured me that the Czech Presidency stands fully behind us on this. I look forward to working closely with him as we seek to finalise this vital package, which will address the most significant concerns that emerged during last year’s referendum campaign,” concluded Mr Martin.

Apart from the Lisbon Treaty and with the view to the upcoming extraordinary EU meeting of Heads of States, both Ministers agreed on the importance of coordination of national measures in addressing the economic situation within the EU, as well as on the need to respect the rules of the EU internal market while doing so. The Czech and Irish sides also agreed on the need to establish good relationship with the new US administration.

Alexandr Vondra, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of the Czech Republic, is visiting Ireland ahead of the February General Affairs and External Relations Council. The Czech Republic currently holds the Presidency of the European Council.
During his visit, Mr Vondra will meet the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, T.D., and the Minister of State for European Affairs, Dick Roche, T.D.
Over the coming months the Government will be working with the other Member States of the EU and the EU institutions, to give legal form to a package of decisions taken by the European Council in December to meet the concerns of the Irish people in respect of the Treaty of Lisbon.
These include the right of each Member State to nominate a Commissioner and guarantees of Ireland’s right to take its own decisions and make its own laws in relation to taxation, defence and certain provisions of our Constitution on the right to life, education and family. The European Council also agreed to confirm the high importance the EU attaches to issues including workers’ rights and social services. These elements, when finalised, will represent a comprehensive package of measures specifically designed to address the key concerns of the Irish electorate in relation to the Lisbon Treaty.
The conclusions of the December European Council state that work on the guarantees should be concluded no later than mid-2009. If the Government are fully satisfied with the outcome of this work, it will seek ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, by way of a further referendum before the end of the term of the current Commission, which is due to leave office at the end of October. No decision can be taken on the timing of any referendum until the commitments made by the European Council have been delivered upon to the Government’s full satisfaction.

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