Ireland and Wales launch Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021-25, 1 March 2021

Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021-2025 sets out the ambition and plans for the Ireland – Wales relationship in years ahead.

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D.,  and First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford M.S., today published the ‘Ireland Wales Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021-25’.

This formal Shared Statement sets out the ambitions and plans for the Ireland-Wales relationship in the years ahead, as both countries work to increase cooperation and collaboration between Governments and partners across the business, arts, sporting and community sectors.

Commenting on the newly published Shared Statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said:

“I am pleased to mark St David’s Day with the publication of the Ireland Wales Shared Statement, which sets out our ambition to deepen cooperation with our Welsh neighbours to 2025 and beyond.

“I look forward to working closely with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford to deliver on the Shared Statement and associated Joint Action Plan.

I particularly welcome our plan to host an inaugural Ireland Wales Forum later this year to bring together political, economic and broader stakeholders to build relationships, to reflect on ongoing collaboration and to identify opportunities for further cooperation.”

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford commented:

“I am delighted, on our national day, to launch this shared statement with Ireland which underpins our joint commitment to strengthening our existing ties at political, economic and cultural level.

“Our shared ambitions are more important than ever as we both look towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I look forward to continuing to build on our existing ties and deepen co-operation with our closest European Union neighbour.”

At the heart of this new initiative is a shared commitment to maintain the closest possible relationship between Ireland and Wales, following the UK’s departure from the EU. The accompanying Joint High Level Action Plan builds on the two countries’ ongoing joint work across six key areas of cooperation. More than forty actions have been identified across the areas of political and official engagement; climate and sustainability; trade and tourism; education and research; culture, language and heritage; and communities, diaspora and sport.

Priority actions include:

  • Increasing the number of high level visits each year, building on the Taoiseach and Welsh First Minister’s bi-annual meetings at British-Irish Council summits, and creating opportunities for further ministerial engagement;
  • Convening the first annual Ireland-Wales Forum in 2021, bringing together Ministers and a wide range of stakeholders to develop relationships, exchange policy perspectives, share learning and build collaborations;
  • Undertaking annual bilateral consultations between government officials with a focus in 2021/22 on the following policy areas: diaspora; language policy; education; housing; remote working; and sustainability;
  • Exchanging learning on progress towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including on legislating for sustainable development from Wales’ 2015 Wellbeing for Future Generations Act; and the development of indicators to measure sustainability and wellbeing;
  • Sharing policy approaches and promoting joint collaboration for a green recovery from the impact of Covid-19, including at a regional level in Wales through the North Wales Regional Deal, and North Wales as part of the wider ‘Northern Powerhouse’ region;
  • Identifying and promoting opportunities for academic and student collaboration, mobility and exchange;

Further actions envisage deeper cooperation to build on the successes of the Ireland Wales European Territorial Cooperation Programme, increased parliamentary links, cooperation in renewable energy research, Irish language scholarships, engagement with diaspora communities, joint promotion of participation and inclusivity in sport, and continued engagement on shared policy priorities through the British Irish Council.