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Junior Ministers visit Brussels to step up European participation

22 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly and Ian Paisley jnr led a delegation
to Brussels today to strengthen the links between Irelandand Europe.
The Junior Ministers met with Secretary-General Catherine Day and Dirk
Ahner, Director-General of DG Regio.

The meetings focussed on the strategic context of the Commission Taskforce
work and in particular the structure and direction of the Taskforce Report
which is due to be completed by the end of January 2008.

Gerry Kelly said:

"We welcome this opportunity to meet with the Commission Taskforce once
again. We used the opportunity of this visit to underline the Executive's
commitment to ensuring that we make the most of the opportunities that the
Taskforce offers to us.

"Today's meetings will build on the good relations already established. The
Taskforce is a unique opportunity to step up our European participation."

The Taskforce is due to travel to Belfast 10-12 December for a series of
bilateral meetings with departments and their key stakeholders.

It is also hoped that the First Minister Ian Paisley and deputy First
Minister Martin McGuinness will visit Brussels in January to meet President
Barroso and Commissioner Hubner.

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