Joint Statement by Min McEntee and French Minister for European Affairs
Press release22 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 July 18-19 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 April 2, 2019.
The two Ministers of State met in County Meath for a bi-lateral 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 underway 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.