Analysis of draft deal to keep UK in EU needed, says Flanagan

Irish Government gives cautious welcome to proposal published by EC president Tusk

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan: ‘It is in the interest of Ireland, the UK itself, and of the European Union that the UK decide to remain an active member of our union.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan: ‘It is in the interest of Ireland, the UK itself, and of the European Union that the UK decide to remain an active member of our union.’ Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

The Government has issued a cautious welcome to the draft deal designed to keep the UK in the EU, which was published on Tuesday by European Council president Donald Tusk.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said careful analysis would be required of the draft agreement.

“The publication of a draft European Council decision by President Tusk is a very important step in the current negotiations and represents positive progress.”

He said the draft decision and associated documents published by Mr Tusk were complex and detailed, and would need to be analysed carefully before a considered response could be given.

The Minister said the draft would be the subject of a first meeting of officials in Brussels on Friday, with further work leading up to a European Council meeting in the middle of the month.

“My frequently-stated view and, indeed, that of the Irish Government on the issue of the UK’s EU membership is that it is in the interest of Ireland, the UK itself, and of the European Union, that the UK decide to remain an active member of our union; contributing to that outcome is the Government’s overall objective in these negotiations,” said Mr Flanagan.

He added that Taoiseach Enda Kenny had discussed the matter with British prime minister Cameron in London on January 26th.

“The Irish Government hopes a satisfactory outcome can be achieved at the European Council on February 18th-19th,” said the Minister.

The matter was discussed by the Cabinet on Tuesday.