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IrelandClose post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future

14:55  09 may  2019
14:55  09 may  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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ENSURING close post - Brexit ties with the UK and action on tackling climate change are among Irish priorities as EU leaders meet today to discuss Deepening the EU single market and “making the EU a leader on climate action” are also on Ireland ’ s agenda, as is ensuring the views of EU

The EU is fighting climate change through ambitious policies at home and close cooperation with international partners. All sectors of the economy and society have a part to play in building a better future .

Close post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

ENSURING close post-Brexit ties with the UK and action on tackling climate change are among Irish priorities as EU leaders meet today to discuss the future of Europe.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in Sibiu, Romania today for an informal summit of 27 EU leaders where Brexit is not on the agenda for a European Council meeting for perhaps the first time in almost three years.

Close post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future © Catalyst mages European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir British prime minister Theresa May is not attending the summit.

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What is Brexit ? Brexit - British exit - refers to the UK leaving the EU . The EU is an economic and political union involving 28 European countries. It allows free trade, which While the UK has agreed the terms of its EU departure, both sides still need to decide what their future relationship will look like.

Brexit has happened. After 1,316 days of political turmoil, the UK now stands alone as the first In an ideal world, post - Brexit Britain would now be free to forge new economic relations with both the EU and the Johnson is already attempting to navigate the China minefield that stretches across Europe .

The remaining EU leaders are to outline a strategy for the next five years.

Irish priorities are said to include ensuring the EU “maintains a close and comprehensive partnership” with the UK after Brexit.

Close post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future © Catalyst mages Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Defence Minister Leo Varadkar arrives for the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir Deepening the EU single market and “making the EU a leader on climate action” are also on Ireland’s agenda, as is ensuring the views of EU citizens are “foremost in EU priorities”.

The European Commission has recommended that the EU’s strategy up to 2024 focuses on key areas including promoting peace, investing in the “technologies of tomorrow”, upholding the rule of law and fighting climate change.

EU's chief Brexit negotiators brand Theresa May 'insane' and 'pathetic' in foul-mouthed rant seen in a damaging BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary

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As part of the European Green Deal, the Commission proposed on 4 March 2020 the first European Climate Law to enshrine the 2050 climate -neutrality target into law. The EU submitted its long-term strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March 2020.

Mr Varadkar attended a meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP) this morning along with leaders like Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Austria’s Sebastian Kurz.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis welcomed them.

He hailed the importance of the summit to his country and noted that it was 30 years since the fall of Communism in Romania.

Close post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future © Catalyst Images U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 8, 2019. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

The EPP is Fine Gael's sister party in the European Parliament.

While Mrs May is not attending the summit, the UK's Brexit secretary Steve Barclay did deliver a speech in Sibiu today.

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Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom ( UK ) from the European Union ( EU ). Following a UK -wide referendum in June 2016, in which 52% voted to leave and 48% voted to remain in the EU

The first priority will be to negotiate a trade deal with the EU . The UK wants as much access as possible for its goods and services to the EU . But the government has made clear that the UK must leave the customs union and single market and end the overall jurisdiction of the European Court of

He said the meeting is an opportunity to “consider the sustainable future relationship between the UK and the EU”.

He spoke of the security threats facing the continent, the risk posed by climate change and economic challenges.

Close post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future © Catalyst mages EU leaders prepare to pose for a family photo during the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov Mr Barclay said: “These challenges we share are actually bigger than the issue of Brexit, they are more significant, more complex than the challenges we are looking at in the Brexit context.

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A summit of European leaders was debating how to proceed with the creation of the EU common Ireland was and is a more willing participant than Britain in “ever closer union ”, as its membership of the While the UK voted to leave the EU , the people of Northern Ireland took the opposite stance.

The line between Ireland and Northern Ireland will now be the only land border between the United Kingdom and another EU country. Martina Anderson, a member of the European Parliament for the Sinn Fein party, is still trying to prevent a Brexit despite the leave vote, and sees it as "live issue."

“And they demand that we continue across Europe to work together in terms of our future relationship.”

Close post-Brexit ties with UK and fighting climate change are Ireland's priorities as EU leaders plan Europe's future © Catalyst mages EU leaders pose for a family photo during the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir He said his job title - Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union - “does not reveal what its real focus is, which is to help position the UK to meet its future challenges – and those challenges sit alongside and in common with those being addressed here in Sibiu.”

“We have always said we are not exiting Europe, but we share the same values, nor can we opt out of the challenges identified by the Commission leading up to this conference in terms of security, cyber and the environment.”

He said he looks forward to working with the EU as “the UK continues to be an active partner in meeting those challenges head on.”

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