It has taken advantage of the separation of the European Union and the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland inaugurated, this Friday, an honorary consulate at the headquarters of the Brittany Ferries company in Roscoff (Finistere), with the aim of strengthening relations between the two countries after Brexit.
“France is now Ireland’s closest neighbor within the EU and Britain is the closest region to us,” said James Browne, Irish minister deputy to the Justice Minister, during the meeting, a ceremony that evoked “a rebound in Brexit” in relations between France and Ireland.
“French businesses are growing in Ireland, and France is one of the main markets for Irish goods, services and agricultural products,” the minister said, noting that trade between the two countries had increased by 18% last year.
It was the president of Brittany Ferries, Jean-Marc Roué, who was named honorary consul, “a proud Breton”, “a peasant general manager”, described the minister, referring to the origins of the shipping company, created in 1972 by Breton farmers. eager to find new outlets across the Channel.
The number of connections between French and Irish ports multiplied by 4
The vice president of the Brittany region in charge of international affairs and Europe, Stéphane Perrin, boasted “prospects for collaboration between French and Irish ports that we had not suspected, thanks to Brexit”. “Thank you, Boris Johnson! “, he joked.
“Brexit has created new challenges, for Ireland and for France. But where there are challenges, there are also opportunities,” said Niall Burgess, Ireland’s ambassador to France. The number of connections between Irish and French ports has quadrupled “in less than two years,” from 12 crossings to nearly 50 a week, he said.
Many Irish companies prefer to opt for the sea route instead of crossing the UK for their trade with the EU, said the director of Enterprise Ireland France, Patrick Torrekens. “It is about avoiding additional customs procedures. Going through the British border, there is a risk of delays” in the event of a check, Patrick Torrekens said.
Since 2019, passenger traffic has increased by 43% between France and Ireland and by 15% that of goods, according to the new consul Jean-Marc Roué. “We have the ambition to make our products known in Ireland”, also indicated the president of Brittany Ferries, whose main shareholder is the Sica de Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Finistère), the first French vegetable cooperative. Pink Roscoff onions were distributed to members of the Irish delegation after the ceremony.
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