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Minister Flanagan and French counterpart Jean Marc Ayrault discuss Brexit


Minister Flanagan and French counterpart Jean Marc Ayrault discuss Brexit, the future of Europe, the Middle East Peace Process & a range of other foreign policy issues in Dublin

Following Minister Flanagan’s trade mission to Lyon, bilateral trade was a key element of Minister Ayrault’s visit

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, today (Wednesday) hosted his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault for talks in Dublin. A number of topics of common concern were discussed with Brexit as the main agenda item. The meeting built on previous bilateral talks in Paris.

Minister Flanagan stated:

“I was delighted to welcome my colleague Minister Jean Marc Ayrault to Dublin. France is a key partner in Europe on a wide range of foreign policy issues.  I have previously had a number of discussions with Minister Ayrault regarding Ireland’s unique concerns regarding Brexit.  I was heartened today when Minister Ayrault once again expressed a strong commitment on the part of France to ensuring the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process is fully protected.  He further publicly acknowledged Ireland’s unique challenges in respect of the border and our economic relationship with the UK.

“I have been in discussions with my colleagues around the EU for some eight months now to ensure we share clear mutual understandings of each other’s positions and concerns.  Ireland will enter the Article 50 negotiations, expected to begin next month, as part of Team EU, working closely with partner countries. 

In reference to Ireland’s strong trade links to France, Minister Flanagan added:

“Ireland and France have a very strong trading relationship and this was abundantly clear to me when I led a trade mission to Lyon last year.  Accordingly, I particularly welcome the economic and trade focussed elements of Minister Ayrault’s programme in Dublin today.  Our response to Brexit includes a strong focus on deepening our trade links with European partners.  France is Ireland’s leading export market globally for lamb, seafood and artisan beer; our second largest export market globally for beef and our third largest market for whiskey.  We will continue to build on these very strong foundations while also ensuring appropriate diversification of our export offering. 

“Of course, our links with France are not limited to trade and investment – a common appreciation of one another’s culture means we both welcome large numbers of tourists from our respective countries annually and our cultural and historic links stretch back centuries.

In advance of next month’s summit in Rome, Minister Flanagan commented:

“We discussed the Future of Europe in advance of the Rome summit meeting next month to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which offers us all an opportunity to recall the very real achievements of the EU in providing peace and stability, and to refocus on delivering jobs and growth for all of our citizens.

Regarding the Middle East Peace Process, Minister Flanagan further stated:

“I would like to commend Minister Ayrault’s role in the Middle East Peace Process on which France has shown great leadership. We share a similar analysis of the issues and the steps that need to be taken to ensure peace and stability in the region.  I was pleased to discuss these issues with Minister Ayrault today.

“Our meeting also allowed us to exchange views on EU-US relations and I briefed Minister Ayrault on my recent visit to Washington DC.

“Finally, regarding the situation in Eastern Ukraine, we both agreed that the Minsk Agreements have to be fully implemented by all sides.”



Press Office

22 February 2017