Europe Minister discusses Brexit with Irish counterpart
Ireland – Visit by Mme Amélie de Montchalin (18-19 July 2019) – Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpt)
19 July 2019
Mme Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is paying a visit to Ireland today and tomorrow on the invitation of her counterpart, Ms Helen McEntee.
The visit will provide an opportunity for the two ministers of state to discuss the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. They will visit the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and stress the importance of not restoring a physical border: in this regard, they will recall that the safety net (backstop) provided for in the withdrawal agreement signed between the British government and the European Union is currently still the only credible solution. France will continue to support Ireland’s concerns. On this matter, the unity of the 27, under the authority of the European Union negotiator, remains essential. The Minister of State will also emphasize the need to protect the interests of our fishermen, whatever the outcome of the British withdrawal.
The ministers of state will discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with a view to strengthening and making full use of our similar views, in particular about keeping the Common Agricultural Policy at its current EU27 level in the next MFF. Amélie de Montchalin and Helen McEntee will also discuss strengthening the internal market and bringing about greater economic, social and tax convergence between the member states.
Finally, the Minister of State will stress the importance of the electricity interconnector project between our two countries and the usefulness of stepping up our direct maritime links.
Paris, 19 July 2019
France and Ireland share a strong bilateral relationship and a common ambition to build a European Union that ensures freedom, prosperity and progress for its citizens. In this context, the French Minister of State for European Affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, visited Ireland on 18-19 July at the invitation of Ireland’s Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee TD, to hold in-depth talks on the future of the European Union. This visit occurred after the meeting between the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, in Paris on 2 April 2019.
The two ministers of state met in County Meath for a bilateral meeting where they discussed a number of issues of mutual interest.
The two ministers paid a visit to a farm in Louth County, to demonstrate the two countries’ commitment to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In this respect, France and Ireland consider that the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework should maintain the CAP budget at its current EU-27 level in order to meet the economic, environmental and strategic challenges this policy is facing.
The two ministers of state stressed the need for the European Union to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change, reaffirming their full commitment to implement the Paris Agreement and their determination to work together in the Council to promote the 2050 carbon neutrality goal and the instruments to reach it.
The two ministers of state also discussed the announced EU-Mercosur trade agreement, stressing the need for a comprehensive impact assessment.
The ministers reiterated the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to migration based on a balance between solidarity and responsibility.
The discussions also focused on progress towards the completion of Economic and Monetary Union. The ministers discussed the work under way in the OECD on international tax reform and they also took stock of the ongoing debate on the evolution of a European minimum wage. Finally, they reaffirmed their commitment to the fundamental values of the European Union and welcomed the Commission’s communication on the rule of law.
The ministers agreed that the European Union must continue to work with member states and elected representatives to engage better with citizens on the implementation of the EU Strategic Agenda 2019-2024.
On these shared European priorities, the two ministers of state agreed that France and Ireland should continue to coordinate closely and work together with a view to delivering concrete results that meet citizens’ expectations.
The development of bilateral relations was also discussed, including in the light of Ireland’s recent review on the strengthening of its relations with France. The ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation on shared EU priorities, including through consultations at senior official level. In this context, the Celtic Interconnector project, which will foster the development of renewable energy in both countries and thereby serve the Union’s climate goals, is of particular significance. European funding for this strategic project is of critical importance.
Following the bilateral meeting the ministers paid a joint visit to the border at Ravensdale.
Both ministers reaffirmed the need to protect the Northern Irish peace process and to avoid a hard border. This is the purpose of the "backstop" solution provided for in the withdrawal agreement. Both ministers reiterated their full support for the withdrawal agreement. Both ministers stressed the need to maintain EU unity in support of the Union’s chief negotiator and to preserve the integrity of the single market. The two ministers of state also agreed on the need to protect the interests of EU fishermen and farmers.
¹Source of English text: Irish Department of Foreign Affairs website.