Following their meeting in Downing Street, London, on Monday, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and Prime Minister David Cameron issued a joint statement on the subject of “British-Irish relations – the next decade”:
“The relationship between our two countries has never been stronger or more settled, as complex or as important, as it is today.
“Our citizens, uniquely linked by geography and history, are connected today as never before through business, politics, culture and sport, travel and technology, and of course family ties…
“Our two economies benefit from a flow of people, goods, investment, capital and ideas on a scale that is rare even in this era of global economic integration…
“2011 was a momentous year, with the State Visit of Her Majesty The Queen to Ireland serving as a symbol of a modern, deep and friendly relationship. We look forward to the prospect of a return State Visit by the President of Ireland at an appropriate time.”
The Taoiseach and the Prime Minister spoke about economic recovery:
“We are committed to boosting competitiveness and productivity and to supporting innovation, research and development and we plan to intensify our cooperation to help to make this happen.
“Collaboration between our third-level colleges, research institutes and business sectors increases the benefits of investment in research and development. Acknowledging Dublin’s designation as European City of Science in 2012, we plan to examine the potential for increased collaboration in research.
“We will prepare a joint evaluation of the depth of economic relations between the UK and Ireland and of the opportunities for closer collaboration in support of growth to our mutual benefit.”
They also spoke of the Northern Ireland peace process:
‘We will maintain our efforts to promote reconciliation, underpinning the Executive’s objective of creating a cohesive, shared and integrated society in Northern Ireland. We will work together, with the Executive, to encourage the marking of forthcoming centenaries in a spirit of mutual respect, and the promotion of understanding.”
On “Working together in Europe”:
“We both look forward to Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2013 and we will work closely across the range of EU dossiers.
“We will continue to consult each other on key EU policy issues.”
They addressed global challenges:
“We remain committed to effective multilateralism and to the UN in particular.
“We share a commitment to tackle the challenge of climate change and will cooperate on climate change issues both within the EU, including in the context of the Irish Presidency, and in the context of wider international negotiations.
“We will continue to co-ordinate closely during Ireland’s period of Chairmanship in Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe during 2012.”
The Taoiseach and Prime Minister concluded:
“We intend that this Joint Statement will be the starting point for realizing the potential over the next decade of even stronger relations for current and future generations living on these islands.
“We will explore the potential for more exchanges/secondments of officials between our administrations.