At a meeting in Dublin in April 2018, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney had agreed to launch the process for adopting this Joint Plan of Action for Enhanced Bilateral and EU Cooperation. The paper was adopted at the meeting on 15 November by State Secretary Andreas Michaelis, his Irish counterpart Niall Burgess and representatives of other ministries from both countries.
The aim is to provide a framework for intensifying bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries in the EU and on foreign policy. For example, Germany and Ireland want to pursue more joint goals in Africa. There are also plans to carry out joint projects in the fields of financial stability, climate protection, agricultural policy and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas commented on the agreement as follows:
The Joint Action Plan which we agreed today shows how close relations are between Ireland and Germany. We do not just want to cooperate more closely at bilateral level – on research and innovation, as well as on finance issues or agricultural policy. We also want together to help to make Europe more able to act and to strengthen the United Nations and the rules based multilateral order as a whole.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that he very much welcomed the consultations in Berlin and the Joint Plan of Action:
This reflects Ireland’s determination to work with our German partners on an increasingly intensified basis as envisaged in the Review of our bilateral relations that I published in April. Ireland already enjoys a particularly warm and fruitful bilateral relationship with Germany but there is scope to further develop our engagement and to increase our cooperation across a range of areas. In so doing, we have the potential to advance the interests and values that we share as friends and fellow members of the European Union.
Ireland policy as part of the like-minded initiative
The close cooperation between Germany and Ireland forms part of the Federal Foreign Office’s like-minded initiative, which aims to consolidate ties with like-minded EU Member States further, thus creating a sovereign Europe that is able to act both internally and externally.
Particularly in view of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, Germany’s cooperation and continued solidarity with Ireland, which will be significantly affected both economically and politically by Brexit, is especially important.