On 8 December, Foreign Minister Baerbock is travelling to Ireland, where, among other things, she will meet her Irish counterpart Simon Coveney in Dublin. Ireland is one of the EU’s strongest advocates and within the EU pulls in the same direction as Germany. One important topic will be Ireland’s huge potential in energy generation. Ireland has enormous potential in wind power, with up to 70 gigawatts, much more than Ireland itself needs, and also in green hydrogen production. Foreign Minister Baerbock will also be talking to “Shamrock Children” and their descendants.
On 9 December, the Foreign Minister is travelling on to London, where she will meet her British counterpart James Cleverly for the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries. The dialogue takes place annually and is intended to enable deeper bilateral cooperation and coordination and to foster a shared understanding of key foreign policy challenges, in particular with a view to close cooperation on foreign policy issues between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
In addition, Foreign Minister Baerbock would like to set the EU’s very practical achievements, such as the youth exchange between the two countries, on a new footing.
Along with her British counterpart, she will be attending the German-British Königswinter Conference, which will be considering a wide range of issues: defence and security policy, economic affairs and education.
On both stops on the trip, one central issue will be the consequences of Brexit, which are particularly tangible for Ireland and the UK. Because on the island of Ireland, Ireland, which is an EU member state, borders directly on Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement brought peace to Northern Ireland after over 30 years of violent conflict. Prior to her departure, Foreign Minister Baerbock emphasised once again that on no account must this peace be put in jeopardy:
Yet precisely this is at stake as a result of Brexit and its consequences for trade, freedom of movement and other issues. And that is why all of us – in the EU member states and in the United Kingdom – have a responsibility to protect and to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol. For, by enabling a Northern Irish carpenter or an Irish farmer to sell their products in Dublin and Belfast respectively without customs and border controls, it prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland and thus also the reopening of the old wounds.