Belfast Telegraph

Tanaiste embarks on two-day visit to Finland, Estonia and Lithuania

Brexit will be high on the agenda as Simon Coveney meets with the foreign ministers of the three nations.

The Tanaiste has embarked on a two-day visit to Finland, Estonia and Lithuania.

During the trip, Simon Coveney is set to meet with the foreign ministers of each of the nations.

The implications for Ireland from the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union is set to be high on the agenda during those meetings.

EU foreign policy and the future of Europe are also expected to be among the topics discussed.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Tanaiste’s visit aims to “further strengthen Ireland’s bilateral relations with key Nordic and Baltic EU member states”.

This visit is a valuable opportunity for me to meet in person with those foreign ministers in their own capitals and to express our appreciation for the solidarity on Brexit which they continue to demonstrate Simon Coveney

Speaking ahead of the trip, Mr Coveney said he will emphasise that Ireland wants the “closest possible relationship between the EU and UK”.

“Our relationships with Finland, Estonia and Lithuania are important and they are strong,” he said.

“This visit is a valuable opportunity for me to meet in person with those foreign ministers in their own capitals and to express our appreciation for the solidarity on Brexit which they continue to demonstrate.

“I will emphasise that Ireland wants the closest possible relationship between the EU and the UK, including on trade, in order to minimise the impact on our trade and economy, and that it is vital that the EU’s single market and customs union are fully protected.

“We will also discuss key issues of international importance on the EU external agenda, particularly the Middle East peace process and the EU’s engagement with the US and with Russia.”

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