“I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Wilfried Martens, President of the European People’s Party and former Prime Minister of Belgium.
“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Wilfried Martens for many years in his role as President of the EPP, of which Fine Gael is a founding member.
“Mr. Martens was a committed European and during his lengthy tenure as Belgian Prime Minister he was one of the key architects of European integration. Later, as President of the EPP and its parliamentary group, Wilfried Martens did enormously valuable work in promoting democracy in central and eastern Europe and in the enlargement of the Union.
“Wilfied Martens was also a great friend to Ireland and visited here several times. In recent months, he was instrumental in the decision of the European People’s Party to hold its next Congress in Dublin in March 2014.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife and family on their sad loss.”