Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, TD, will visit Berlin tomorrow (11 December) to meet the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas, and hold a number of bilateral engagements.
The visit was arranged to mark the symbolic ‘handover’ from Germany’s membership of the United Nations Security Council to Ireland’s (with Ireland taking its seat on 1 January 2021).
The visit will also allow the two Ministers to discuss the significant strengthening of relations between Ireland and Germany, under the 2018 Joint Plan of Action.
Speaking ahead of his meeting with Minister Maas, Minister Coveney referred to the shared values and principles which inform Germany’s and Ireland’s support for the United Nations:
“Ireland and Germany are unwavering supporters of the United Nations and multilateralism. We believe the Security Council has a vital role to play in preventing and resolving conflict. Ireland will work on the Council to strengthen conflict prevention, support peacebuilding efforts, and ensure accountability for breaches of international law. We will also engage actively across the entire Council agenda, dealing with many of the world’s most difficult conflicts.”
During the visit, the Minister will meet with leading members of the Bundestag, and discuss the latest developments with regard to Brexit. Speaking in advance, Minister Coveney commented:
“While the negotiators have much work to do in the coming days I continue to believe that with political will, a deal can be done.”
Minister Coveney will also discuss Brexit with FM Maas, and the current state of bilateral relations between Ireland and Germany. Speaking in advance, Minister Coveney said:
“Bilateral relations between our two countries have flourished in the two-and-a-half years since I launched our new strategy for Ireland in Germany. We have added value and depth to a whole range of bilateral and European areas of cooperation. In the coming months, we will look at how to renew the Strategy and identify new goals which we can together pursue as firm friends and partners within the EU.”
Note for Editors
Minister Coveney’s Berlin programme
- During the visit, Minister Coveney will meet with Minister Maas for bilateral discussions and a UN Security Council handover ceremony. The Ministers will also hold a joint press conference.
- Minister Coveney will also meet Gunther Krichbaum, Chair of the Bundestag European Union Affairs Committee, Norbert Röttgen, Chair of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ralph Brinkhaus, Leader of CDU Parliamentary Group in the Bundestag.
Plan of Action
- Minister Coveney and Minister Maas agreed a Joint Plan of Action in late 2018 to strengthen bilateral relations between Ireland and Germany.
- Some of the key outcomes of the Strategy to date include the establishment of Ireland’s new Consulate General in Frankfurt, and the establishment of a German-Irish Council representing community and cultural groups. Ireland’s Embassy in Berlin has almost doubled in size over the last four years and now includes representatives of four Government Departments (DFA, D/Finance, D/ETE and D/AFM).
- The implementation of the plan has also resulted in significantly increased contact at official and political level including new programmes for young politicians and the State Visit to Germany by President Higgins, accompanied by Minister Coveney, in 2019.
UN Security Council
- Ireland was elected to one of the two Western European and Others Group seats on the UN Security Council on 17 June 2020. The two-year term commences on 1 January 2021. Norway was the other country elected from the WEOG group.
- Germany and Belgium will conclude their two-year terms on the Council on 31 December 2020.
- Ireland’s approach to the Security Council is based on three principles: Building peace, Strengthening conflict prevention, and ensuring accountability for breaches of international law.