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Irish minister insists EU crisis Trump meeting wasn't a 'mess' after snubs by Britain and France

A special dinner was organised for EU foreign policy ministers last night.

EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN ministers have insisted they expect good relations with Donald Trump, after a crisis meeting that Britain, France and Hungary snubbed in a move that exposed rifts over the US president-elect.

The ministers said they wanted more details about the Republican’s plans following his shock election win, which has sparked anxiety in Europe due to his campaign-trail rhetoric questioning US commitment to the continent.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the special dinner on the eve of a scheduled meeting of the ministers, but some capitals criticised the decision to have an emergency meeting on a democratic election result in a key ally.

“We are looking forward to a very strong partnership with the next administration, we’ve decided together to engage with the incoming administration even from this very first week of transition,” Mogherini told reporters afterwards.

“It’s not up to us… it’s up to the next US administration to define to define their own position,” she said following the two-and-a-half hour meeting.

Mogherini also hit out at British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s decision to sit out the meeting, linking it to the Brexit vote, which has left London needing US support for new trade deals.

“I guess it’s only normal for a country that has decided to leave not to be so interested in our discussion on the future of our relations,” she said.

Cabinet meeting Boris Johnson Source: EMPICS Entertainment

Britain’s Foreign Office said on Saturday, explaining Johnson’s absence, that “we do not see the need for the additional meeting on Sunday because the US election timetable is long established”.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, another no-show, said on Friday that the meeting was “completely premature” and hit out at “frustrated and hysterical statements have been made in Europe” on the theme.

In Paris, the French foreign ministry said Ayrault was unable to attend the dinner as he had a “very important meeting” early today with incoming UN chief Antonio Guterres.

The three were replaced at the dinner table by their respective EU ambassadors.

Not a mess

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister of State for European Affairs Dara Murphy dismissed suggestions that the meeting was a “mess”, insisting it was “very constructive”.

The Fine Gael junior minister, attending the meeting in place of Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, said the importance of the relationship between Europe and the USA was stressed at the session.

Asked about the president-elect’s comments, in a weekend interview, about his plans to deport some 3 million people from the US once he assumes office, and what that would mean for the undocumented Irish, Murphy said the issue would be “continue to be a concern” for the Irish government.

He expected the issue to be discussed when Taoiseach Enda Kenny met the new president early next year, Murphy said.

Campaign 2016 Trump Source: Evan Vucci

Minister Flanagan isn’t attending European meetings this week as he’s in the Gulf region on a trade mission.

Separately, Finance Minister Michael Noonan is in the US this week on a trip aimed at highlighting Irish investment opportunities.

The visit was planned in the wake of the Brexit vote. Noonan will meet with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and officials from both the IMF and the World Bank during his visit.

EU foreign ministers will today discuss plans to boost defence cooperation – a move that Britain had long blocked – including a controversial proposal for a European military headquarters.

With reporting by – © AFP 2016

Read: “A disgrace” – Doctors warn that vaccines to protect newborns will not be introduced by deadline >

Read: Trump won’t take a salary as US President, is “fine” with gay marriage >

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