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Kelly welcomes Barroso Taskforce to Belfast

11 December, 2007


Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly MLA and Ian Paisley jnr have welcomed the European Commission's Taskforce fact-finding mission to Belfast today.

The Taskforce is taking part in a series of meetings with government departments, social partners and other stakeholders.

In November Gerry Kelly and Ian Paisley jnr led a delegation to Brussels and the Taskforce is here at their invitation to follow-up on those discussions.

Gerry Kelly said:

"The Executive is determined to make the most of this unique opportunity - this is the first time that there has been such a Taskforce and we look forward to continuing to work with it in the time ahead.

"We want a sustainable and mutually productive long-term relationship with the European Union."

Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister Ian Paisley are due to visit Brussels in early January to meet President Barroso and Commissioner Hübner.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

President José Manuel Barroso announced a European Commission Taskforce for the North of Ireland when he visited Parliament Buildings on 1 May.

Ms Danuta Hübner, Commissioner for Regional Policy, is co-ordinating the work of the Taskforce, which is exploring how the North of Ireland can best participate in both financial and non-financial EU initiatives.

The Taskforce is compiling a report including a stock take exercise, which is expected in early 2008. This fact finding visit provides further context to their work.

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