During the IPBN’s Sustainability Conference, special guest Barry Andrews, MEP, told attendees that Lisbon demonstrates how a city should be forward-thinking when it comes to going green and hitting the EU Council’s aggressive climate targets by 2030, especially when it comes to energy.

According to the Ireland Portugal Business Network, Andrews also sees the maritime agenda as something that Ireland and Portugal will be working on closely together in the future.

There are synergies between Ireland and Portugal when it comes to the oceans and seas. Geoffrey Graham, moderator of the conversation and member of the IPBN said, “there are blue ocean agendas in both countries as well as integrated maritime policy and common fisheries policy…and Portugal is focused on implementation as well.” Graham asked Andrews if he saw synergies between Portugal and Ireland and a shared investment in maritime sustainability and whether he saw this line of action as a reality.

With the UK out of the EU, Ireland has been left a bit isolated, according to Andrews. Ireland would have been in alignment with the UK on certain issues, like justice and home affairs, tax issues, financial services, etc. As both countries are common-law and outside of the Shenghen zone, the MEP says, “we could have shared our homework.”

Andrews explained that the geographical isolation also makes it difficult for Ireland because it doesn’t have physical or regional alignment with anyone, the way that Portugal’s has a Mediterranean relationship with countries like Malta. Nor does it have proximity to the Nordic/Baltic nor the Franco-German relationships, so Ireland has to find less obvious ways to forge its own alignments, therefore Ireland is actively working to build on existing friendly relationships with these countries. The MEP says, “I think there is work we can do with Portugal on the Maritime Agenda. When Ireland was successful in becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council, one of the things that we pushed was our sustainability around oceans that had a particular appeal to island nations around the world…and I expect Ireland and Portugal will be working together on that agenda.”

The Ireland Portugal Business Network highlight Ireland’s Maritime agenda targets include protecting fish stocks, conserving at least 10 percent of coastal marine areas for science, protecting fisheries’ rights, and reducing marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities including marine debris and nutrient pollution.