Ireland and France have agreed a Joint Plan of Action (2021-2025) to strengthen and deepen relations between the two countries across a range of cultural, educational and political activities.
The plan was signed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. and Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs during the visit of President Macron to Ireland.
Minister Coveney said:
“I am delighted to sign an ambitious Joint Plan of Action between our two countries which will strengthen practical cooperation across a range of sectors and bring tangible benefits for our businesses, cultural institutions, schools, higher education institutions and research institutes, as well as ordinary citizens.
“This plan signals the ever stronger bilateral relations between Ireland and France. Such closer cooperation and collaboration was precisely my intention when I launched the Government’s Strategy for developing our relations with France in August 2019.”
The Joint Action Plan represents an ambitious agenda that reflects Ireland and France’s shared priorities: supporting sustainability; increasing trade connectivity; fostering the digital economy; strengthening education and research links; promoting the French language; and fostering cultural cooperation.
The commitments made in the Joint Plan of Action include:
- Expanding Ireland’s diplomatic footprint in France to support trade and business relationships, opening a new Consulate General in Lyon and appointing a new Honorary Consul in Roscoff to support partnerships in Brittany.
- A number of ambitious projects in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable agriculture and fisheries.
- The two Governments reiterating their strong support for the flagship Celtic Interconnector project which will provide the first direct electricity link between Ireland and the continent.
- A number of projects which will support trade connectivity and promote trade and business partnerships between Ireland and France.
- A particular focus on strengthening links between students, faculty and researchers in educational institutions including strengthening cooperation in higher education, further education, training and research.
- A number of projects to promote the learning of French at secondary level in Ireland, in particular through the language assistants scheme and supporting the development of the French language for the potential introduction of foreign languages at primary level.
- Working jointly to facilitate the placement of students from Northern Ireland in French higher education institutes.
- Jointly promoting cultural exchanges, including by creating several new cultural fellowships and residency programmes between Irish and French institutions and jointly celebrating in 2022 the centenary of the publication of Ulysses as a pivotal moment in Irish, French and European modernism.
In advance of signing the Joint Plan of Action, Minister Coveney and Minister Le Drian also attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between 7 Universities (3 Irish (NUIG, UL and UCC) and 4 Universities in Brittany, a project also included in the Joint Plan.