Dáil Éireann - Volume 491 - 03 June, 1998
Written Answers. - Official Engagements.
Mr. J. Bruton Mr. J. Bruton
 15. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent meeting with the British Prime Minister, Mr Blair, in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12780/98]
Proinsias De Rossa Proinsias De Rossa
16. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Taoiseach if he will make a statement on the outcome of his meeting on 1 June 1998 with the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair. [12871/98]
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 16 together.
I met Prime Minister Blair in Government Buildings to discuss a wide range of European issues in the run up to the European Summit in Cardiff on June 15-16. Prime Minister Blair came to Dublin in his capacity as President of the European Council. His visit forms part of his tour of EU capitals in advance of the summit. I took the opportunity to welcome Mr. Blair on his first visit as Prime Minister to Dublin and I indicated my intention to ask the Dáil and Seanad to extend an invitation to Mr. Blair to come to Ireland in the autumn to address a joint sitting of both Houses of the Oireachtas. The Prime Minister said that he would be happy to accept.
The Prime Minister and I had a brief discussion before dinner when we took the opportunity to review the outcome of the referendums, both North and South, and looked forward to the implementation of the British-Irish Agreement in a balanced and comprehensive way. At the meeting which took place over dinner, the key items on the Cardiff agenda were discussed. These included the Agenda 2000 negotiations, the broad economic guidelines for the Union and the national employment action plans. Other issues covered were the progress being made in relation to the Union's policies on drugs and organised crime. We also discussed EU enlargement and the shape of the Union, including the European institutions, in the new millennium.
As regards the likely discussions at Cardiff in relation to the Agenda 2000 negotiations, I outlined Ireland's position on the Commission's current proposals on Structural and Cohesion Funds. I emphasised the need for generous transitional arrangements for Ireland under the Structural Funds. I also restated Ireland's opposition to the current Commission proposals for CAP reform and the Government's intention to pursue real improvements on the terms on offer. Finally, Prime Minister Blair and I exchanged views on a number of key international issues including the Middle East and Kosovo.
Dáil Éireann 491 Written Answers. Official Engagements.