Leaders set for talks in Brussels
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are travelling to Brussels for talks with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
The Stormont political leaders will appeal for a European Union taskforce to continue its work in Northern Ireland.
The Special Taskforce was set up in 2007 following Mr Barroso's visit to Belfast and has improved access to valuable EU policies and programmes.
Mr Robinson said Thursday's talks would help build on the relations with senior European figures.
The First Minister said: "Over the course of the next couple of days, we will be holding meetings with some of Europe's most senior officials in order to outline just how successful the taskforce has been and to map a way forward that will enable us to build on that considerable success."
Mr McGuinness said: "The European Union has shown a remarkable commitment to developing a shared and prosperous future here and it is clear that in taking time out of his schedule, during a particularly busy period, that President Barroso's commitment also remains as strong as ever.
"It is vital that we continue to take full advantage of every opportunity that is available to us through the European Union."