Communiqué - British-Irish Summit – Cathays Park, Cardiff, 22 July 2016
The British-Irish Council held an Extraordinary Summit meeting today hosted by the Welsh Government in Cathays Park, Cardiff. The heads of delegation were welcomed by the First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, on behalf of the Welsh Government.
The Irish Government delegation was led by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD. The UK Government delegation was led by the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, and the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Executive’s delegation was led by the First Minister, the Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA and the deputy First Minister, Mr. Martin McGuinness MLA. The Scottish Government delegation was led by First Minister, the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP. The Isle of Man Government delegation was led by the Chief Minister, Hon Allan Bell CBE MHK. The Government of Jersey delegation was led by the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, and the Government of Guernsey by the Chief Minister, Deputy Gavin St Pier. A full list of delegation members is attached.
The British-Irish Council was established as part of the multi-party agreement reached in Belfast on 10 April 1998. The Council plays a valuable role in developing and furthering links between its eight Member Administrations. It provides a dynamic forum for exchange of information and collaboration on policies of mutual interest and it fosters positive, practical relationships across these islands.
The Council Members offered their condolences to the people of France following the recent terrorist attacks in Nice and to victims of conflicts around the world.
Outcome of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU)
This meeting of the Council was convened to consider the outcome of the recent referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Member Administrations discussed the result and reflected on the implications for each individual BIC Member Administration, including those Administrations that are not part of the EU, as well as for the Council as a whole. The Council noted that there are a number of priority areas where implications arise, in particular: the economy and trade, the Common Travel Area, relations with the EU and the status of all citizens affected by the change. They further noted that the process for implementing the referendum outcome would become clearer in the coming months.
During discussions, Ministers collectively reaffirmed the importance of the Council as a key institution of the 1998 Agreement and an important and unique forum to share views, enhance cooperation and strengthen relationships amongst all Member Administrations at this time. They reiterated their commitment to facilitating harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships among the people of these islands.
It was agreed that the Council should be fully utilised to ensure that all Member Administrations work together to this end. The Council also agreed that an update on developments following the referendum result, including for the BIC work sectors, would be facilitated at the next BIC Summit.
Date and Location of the Next Summit Meeting The Council noted that the next BIC Summit would be hosted by the Welsh Government in November.