Working closely with a range of EU partners has always been important for Ireland. However, taking a strategic approach to these relationships has assumed renewed importance in the context of Brexit and requires a multifaceted engagement.
In many key EU economic and institutional policy areas – on the Single Market, areas of EU trade, EMU reform and the digital single market - we share common approaches with the Nordic, Baltic States and with the Netherlands. As we prepare for an EU of 27 we have worked with the Nordic, Baltic and Dutch governments to increase our strategic engagement with them on the EU agenda. This has included opportunities to meet together in the margins of different Council formations, stronger bilateral engagement and, as appropriate, joint initiatives. I hosted one such dinner for Foreign Ministers of Nordic and Baltic Member States, and my Dutch counterpart, in Luxembourg on 15 April.
At the same time we have been working to strengthen and diversify our relationships with all our EU partners. This has involved an increased range and intensity of inward and outward visits at Prime Ministerial, Ministerial and senior official level to discuss key issues and challenges on the EU agenda and to ensure that our perspectives and priorities are understood. We also participate actively in a range of likeminded groups linked to particular issues from the D9+ digital group to the Green Growth Group and the Friends of Excellence in research group, to give some examples.