Spotlight on energy security, supply and prices at Prague summit featuring the Taoiseach

Taoiseach Micheál Martin arrived in Prague today for a summit focusing on how Europe is warming up this winter.

Leaders from 44 countries will exchange ideas in the capital of the Czech Republic on energy security, supply and prices.

The Taoiseach will increase Ireland’s potential to deliver renewable wind power further afield – with the benefits this has on future energy security and climate action.

It will also require deeper European coordination, through means such as electricity interconnections to France and Wales.

But Mr Martin will also be in the market for a few words with British Prime Minister Liz Truss on the sidelines of the European Political Community, a new forum inspired by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Taoiseach, who told the Dáil this week she was ‘adamant’ that new elections will have to be held in Northern Ireland if there is no resolution to the Stormont impasse, will want to know to what extent she is willing to compromise on Northern Ireland. Protocol. But a meeting between the couple is not officially on his tight agenda.

Tory figures have been making soothing noises in recent days, angering the DUP – which still refuses to re-enter the devolved government until the protocol is “dropped”, in the words of former leader Edwin Poots.

Mr Martin’s position, however, is that the people’s verdict in the May election – which made Sinn Féin the biggest party for the first time – has yet to be upheld, and that should be done by a return of the Assembly and the executive.

‘The Taoiseach will have between three and four bilateral agreements arranged with other leaders,’ its spokesman said today, without confirming the names.

But the penciled-in engagements are believed to be with leaders of countries of similar size in Eastern Europe.

But he is known to be anxious tomorrow, at an informal EU summit in the same city, for an exchange with French President Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, another key European ally.

Both come from Brexit-bordering countries with similar trade issues as Ireland, but not as deeply affected.

The first meeting of the European Political Community today – which involves 44 leaders across Europe – is hosted by Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and EU Council President Charles Michel. It will take place at Prague Castle.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky will connect via video conference, and there will also be contributions from Ms Truss, Prime Minister Jonas Store of Norway and Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania.

All talks are taking place in the framework of solidarity with Ukraine, although the Taoiseach will not participate in a “Peace and Security” meeting to discuss ways to strengthen security and stability in Europe.

The countries present will pledge to work together to end the war in Ukraine and “force” a return to the rules-based multilateral order.

Mr Martin’s arrival will be at the Castle’s Giants Gate, where he will be led along a red carpet to join his fellow leaders for a lunchtime plenary session in the Spanish Room.

After a family photo of the leaders later, he will hold his series of bi-laterals, followed by a working dinner.

The new forum includes the UK, Turkey, Serbia, Switzerland, Norway, Ukraine and others, in addition to the EU 27.

Discussion topics will focus on how to secure energy supply, combat rising costs and ensure a longer-term switch to renewables.

The Taoiseach will outline what Ireland is doing to support people through measures such as energy credits, fuel allowances and energy tax measures, as well as support for any windfall taxes for energy companies.

It will also increase the potential of renewable wind energy for Ireland and the benefits this has on future energy security and climate action.

He will speak on energy, climate and the economy, alongside the Prime Minister of Greece, the President of Switzerland and the leaders of Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Norway, Serbia and Liechtenstein.

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