The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., is today beginning a visit to France and Belgium as part of a programme of Ministerial visits around the world to mark St Patrick’s Day 2019.
The visit offers the Tánaiste the opportunity to deepen our excellent relations with both countries. During his visit to Paris, the Tánaiste will give a speech on Brexit, Ireland and Europe at 27 at an event organised by the embassy in cooperation with the Jacques Delors Institute. He will also have a bilateral meeting with the French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau. The Tánaiste will have substantive engagement with the Franco-Irish business community, open the new Tourism Ireland office, visit the Centre Culturel Irlandais, have a number of engagements with the Irish community and witness the signing of contracts between EI client companies and their French partners.
In Brussels, the Tánaiste will speak at an Enterprise Ireland business roundtable and will meet client companies. He will also have a bilateral meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, Didier Reynders. He will address an event for over 800 guests from the EU, diplomatic, business and diaspora community. He will also visit the Grand Place to see it ‘greened’ for St. Patrick’s Day.
Expressing his appreciation, the Tánaiste said:
“It is a great honour for Ireland to have the Grand Place, one of the most beautiful and iconic tourist attractions in Brussels, as part of the 2019 Global Greening”
Speaking before his departure, the Tánaiste said that his visits to Paris and Brussels reflect the strength of the relationship that now exists with France and Belgium.
“France and Belgium are valued partners. We enjoy excellent relations with both countries, which include vibrant political, economic, business, cultural, educational and community ties. I hope that my visits will help Team Ireland strengthen these relationships even further.”
Trade in goods with France and Belgium is over €28 billion per annum. This underlines the important economic ties that we have with both countries. Both countries are also important export markets for Irish food and drink sectors.
The Tánaiste’s programme is a collaborative effort from Team Ireland in France and Belgium (which includes Ireland’s Embassies in Paris and Brussels as well as teams from Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, and Tourism Ireland). Team Ireland supports Irish interests, companies and institutions in France and Belgium across trade, investment, finance, education, food and agriculture, scientific research, tourism, culture, community activities and people-to-people links.
St. Patrick’s Day provides Team Ireland with a unique opportunity to showcase Ireland.
During the visit, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney T.D will also attend the Foreign Affairs Council and an Article 50 General Affairs Council meeting.