In the morning, Heiko Maas and Simon Coveney jointly opened the Business Forum of the Ambassadors Conference. This was followed by a bilateral meeting, after which Minister Maas stressed the two countries’ common agenda:
Germany and Ireland stand for an open and business-friendly Europe, and for a rules-based trade order. Our future is European - because only a strong and sovereign Europe will be able to act effectively in the wider world.
In hardly any other country does the European Union have as high an approval rating as it does in Ireland. “It’s a good thing,” Mr Maas said, “that we can count on Ireland’s pro-European voice and close friendship.” He went on to say that Ireland’s special relationship with the United States can be helpful when jointly promoting European positions in Washington.
Solidarity with regard to Brexit
Heiko Maas emphasised Germany’s deep solidarity with Ireland regarding the United Kingdom’s imminent exit from the European Union. “The impact on Ireland will be stronger, and more sustained, than for almost any other country. Our position is clear: a hard border must be prevented. There must also be no insecurity regarding, or worsening of, relations with Northern Ireland.”
To achieve this objective, the EU 27 must speak with one voice.
Deepening of relations
Already in December 2017, Simon Coveney – whom Maas praised as one of the most ardent supporters of the EU – announced that, especially against the background of Brexit, he intends to further expand and deepen relations with Germany. In April, during Heiko Maas’ visit to Dublin, the two Ministers agreed to draw up a bilateral agenda that they now intend to finalise. Ireland will open a Consulate General in Frankfurt, and in the autumn joint consultations will be held at State Secretary level - which will be an opportunity to launch many new projects with a close partner.