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Ireland

Ireland

Last updated in March 2017

Political relations

Germany and Ireland have traditionally enjoyed friendly relations. Since Ireland joined the European Community (now the European Union) in 1973, the two countries have also cooperated closely at European level.

In 1990, during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Ireland made a significant contribution to the completion of German reunification.

The close and trustful relations between the two countries have been repeatedly underlined by bilateral visits.  These include the visits to Dublin by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in March 2014, by then Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in September 2010, by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in October 2014 and by then Federal President Joachim Gauck in July 2015. High-level visits to Germany by Irish Government officials include that by then President Mary McAleese in February 2008 and, most recently, the visit by Prime Minister Enda Kenny in July 2016.

Economic relations

Economic relations between Germany and Ireland go back a long way. The German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce was established in 1980. The more than 300 German companies that have set up business in Ireland employ more than 20,000 people.

Germany is one of Ireland’s largest trading partners, ranking third in 2015 among the destinations for Irish exports and taking approximately 9.3 percent of Ireland’s total exports. In terms of imports, Germany ranked fourth among the countries of origin, supplying some 6.6 percent of Ireland’s total imports. (These figures are taken from the Germany Trade and Invest report on Ireland’s economy “Wirtschaftsdaten kompakt: Irland”.) According to Federal Statistical Office figures, German exports to Ireland were worth approximately 5.8 billion euros in 2015, putting Ireland in 36th place among Germany’s export destinations. During the same period, German imports from Ireland were worth around 11 billion euros, giving Ireland a ranking of 21st among the countries of origin. Germany’s main exports to Ireland are motor vehicles, chemical products, electronic goods and machinery. Germany’s imports from Ireland include primarily chemical products, electrical and electronic goods, food and services.

Cultural relations

Cultural relations between Germany and Ireland are very close and largely maintained without any government involvement. There are numerous active town twinning arrangements and exchange initiatives.

As Germany’s official cultural institute, the Goethe-Institut has a branch office in Dublin. In 2015, 1177 participants took advantage of the broad range of language courses it offers.

Ireland’s seven universities and 14 institutes of technology (comparable with Germany’s universities of applied sciences) maintain a number of partnerships with German universities. There are seven German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) lectors and a DAAD German language assistant working at Irish universities. A Centre for Irish-German Studies was established at the University of Limerick in 1997. Every year, the Federal Foreign Office and the Educational Exchange Service (PAD) of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) invite the five Irish secondary school students who have achieved the best results in German nationwide in their Junior Certificate to visit Germany. A further 24 secondary school students also travel to Germany as part of a language promotion programme. In addition, under the Agreement between Ireland and Germany concerning Cultural Co-operation of 1983, German students of English are placed in Irish schools as assistant language teachers by the PAD and Irish assistant language teachers are assigned to German schools.

St Kilian’s German School in Dublin is an international school at which subjects are taught using the Irish curriculum. After obtaining the Bilingual Leaving Certificate or the Leaving Certificate in combination with the German Language Certificate (DSD) Level II, graduates of the school can apply directly to study at German universities and other higher education institutions. The close cooperation with the Lycée Français d’Irlande (LFI) on the Franco-German Eurocampus, which includes joint instruction in some subjects, serves as a global model.The Lutheran Church in Ireland has international members in its congregation and is headed by a pastor sent from Germany. For decades, it has been actively engaged in the ecumenical movement in Ireland.

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