Cowen in Talks with Czech Foreign Minister
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., has said that the next 6 months will be crucial for the Czech Republic and other EU candidate countries as they enter a more substantive phase of accession negotiations. He was speaking after bilateral talks in Dublin today with his Czech counterpart, Jan Kavan.
Foreign Minister Kavan briefed the Minister on Czech progress towards accession and Minister Cowen congratulated the Czech Government on the political risks it has taken to bring legislation through Parliament prior to membership of the EU. "I can assure you that Ireland is also determined that the momentum be sustained and indeed accelerated over the coming months", the Minister said. Mr. Cowen encouraged the Czech Government to continue with the necessary structural reforms, especially in the areas of the judiciary and public administration. Both Ministers agreed that the InterGovernmental Conference should conclude by the end of this year in order to avoid any delays in enlargement.
Note for Editors
Ireland and the Czech Republic opened resident diplomatic missions in Prague and Dublin respectively in 1995. Irish exports to the Czech Republic were valued at IR£154 million in 1999; Czech imports for the same year stood at IR49 million.