Minister of State for European Affairs visits Sweden

Published on: 02 December 2021

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D., begins a three-day working visit to Sweden, his first visit to this important EU partner since he became Minister in July 2020.   The visit will also see Minister Byrne represent Ireland at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial meeting in Stockholm on 2 and 3 December.  Sweden currently holds the Chair of the OSCE.
The Minister will meet on 1 December with Hans Dahlgren, Sweden’s Minister for EU Affairs to discuss a wide range of issues on the EU agenda including climate action, the rule of law and EU-UK relations.    Minister Byrne will thank his Swedish colleague for Stockholm’s steadfast support for the European Commission’s approach to the negotiations on the Ireland-Northern Ireland Protocol.   Following his meeting with the Swedish Minister, Minister Byrne will meet with the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament (Riksdag).  The Committee is multi-party and the exchange will provide the Minister with a broad perspective on EU-related issues.
The Minister will also open a webinar on balancing the power grid in Ireland House on the morning of 1 December.  Participants include senior executives from Eirgrid, Fingrid (Finnish equivalent), Svenska Kraftnät (Swedish equivalent) and private sector technology companies. The webinar will address Ireland’s grid management given the increased dependence on renewables, the role of inter-connectors and storage issues. Fifty to seventy companies are expected to participate. 
In addition, the Minister will meet with the CEO of Boliden Mining Group, Mikael Staffas. They will discuss the company's operation at Tara Mines.
During his time in Stockholm, Minister Byrne will also represent Ireland at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council.   The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making body of the OSCE. The meeting, held annually, provides the Foreign Ministers of the 57 OSCE participating States (with) an opportunity to review and assess the Organization’s activities, and strengthen the dialogue on security issues in the OSCE area.
Speaking ahead of the visit, the Minister said:
“I look forward to engaging with my Swedish colleagues across a broad spectrum of important issues, including those on the EU’s agenda such as climate action and the rule of law. I also want to express our gratitude for the strong and continuing solidarity shown towards Ireland in the context of Brexit.  I am also honoured to represent Ireland at the OSCE Ministerial Council. This is an important multilateral forum where participating States can address security issues and take stock of the work of the OSCE over the last year.  I will be expressing our thanks for the work of Sweden as OSCE chair in that time.”