The visitors, including Irish Senator Neale Richmond, arrived in Luxembourg on Sunday.
On Tuesday the Irish delegation of – amongst other things – finances and EU affairs visited the Chamber of Deputies. They arrived on Sunday. After visits to European institutions, it was time to get down to business: discussions mainly concerned Luxembourg-Ireland relations. Brexit and the Article 50 extension were also main topics of debate.
It was a financial mission: Luxembourg and Ireland are famously the foundation of Europe. No wonder that the relationship has continued to be carefully maintained in the last few years. Both sides hope for more growth.
The Irish Senator Neale Richmond said they felt very well received, what with being one of the small EU nations club. It had been a deliberate move to keep the Irish embassy open throughout the financial crisis, and Luxembourg and Ireland benefited from a strong financial and agricultural alliance. But what’s growing is the sense of companionship between people: an increasing amount of people are flying between Dublin and Luxembourg, and an growing number of Irish people moving to Luxembourg and vice versa. This is something they want to support.
Talks between Marc Angel, president of the Chamber’s external relations committee, and the Irish ambassador touched on Brexit. If it were up to the Irish, the whole fiasco would be called off; there was nothing good to be said about Brexit. It wouldn’t be financially profitable for Ireland either. When they joined the European community, 60% of their exports went to Great Britain. This number has gone down to 12%. In contrast, their milk and meat industry – including foodstuffs such as cheddar cheese and butter – are in high demand. The day of the Brexit vote, the mushroom and tomato industry dropped by 10%. With Brexit, there will be little growth in the finance and tech industries. The Irish Government won’t be able to transform a 55-year-old farmer into a hedgefund manager overnight.
There is also a heavy resistance against a new border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The “Good Friday Agreement” takes precedence.