Dermot Ahern visits Sweden and Finland
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D., is today making working visits to Sweden and Finland.
In the course of these visits, the Minister will meet with his counterparts in both countries, the Swedish Foreign Minister, Ms. Laila Freivalds, and the Finnish Foreign Minister, Mr. Erkki Tuomioja. Discussions will focus on a range of EU and international issues including European Security Policy, the future financing of the Union, UN reform and the international response to the tsunami disaster. A particular concern of the Minister is to discuss with his counterparts how the international community, including the EU, might in the future be better equipped to deal with such disasters.
Minister Ahern said:
"Ireland shares much common ground with these countries on EU matters and wider international issues. In that context, it is important to take time to discuss these issues bilaterally. It is not always possible to take that time in the margins of our regular meetings in Brussels.
I will also take the opportunity on behalf of the Government and people of Ireland to offer condolences to the people of Sweden and of Finland on the enormous losses they have suffered as a result of the Asian tsunami."
Today's visit marks the beginning of a series of bilateral consultations by Minister Ahern with his EU counterparts.
"In the enlarged Union, strong bilateral relations with all of our EU partners will be of ever increasing importance", the Minister said.