President Michael D. Higgins announces details of the State Visit to Germany
Date: Mon 1st Jul, 2019 | 13:01
President Michael D. Higgins today announced details of his upcoming State Visit to Germany, the first such visit by an Irish Head of State since 2008.
President and Sabina Higgins will be accompanied on the State Visit by An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney. In addition to his meetings with political leaders at federal, State and city level, President Higgins will participate in a number of events hosted by Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland, to assist in their work of strengthening business links.
Over the three days, President Higgins will visit four German states, including the federal capital Berlin, Frankfurt in Hesse, Würzburg in Bavaria and Leipzig in Saxony, reflecting the Irish government’s commitment to deepening our relationship with Germany – a vital political and economic partner for Ireland and a fertile landscape for Irish culture.
The visit takes place 90 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The State Visit will begin on Wednesday 3 July, with a formal welcome by German President Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at Schloss Bellevue.
After the meetings with President Steinmeier, President and Sabina Higgins will visit the Brandenburg Gate, followed by a meeting with the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Mr. Michael Müller. The President will then lay a wreath at the Neue Wache, Germany’s national monument.
In the afternoon, President Higgins will address a gathering of business leaders in the agri-food industry, hosted by Bord Bia. The event will focus on increasing the presence of high quality Irish food exports in the German market.
The President will continue with meetings with the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel, at the Federal Chancellery, and President of Germany’s national parliament, Mr. Wolfgang Schäuble, in the Bundestag.
The President will then address an event hosted by Enterprise Ireland, for CEOs of 30 leading Irish companies and their German business partners, and attend a State Dinner hosted in honour of President and Sabina Higgins by President Steinmeier and Ms. Elke Büdenbender.
President Higgins will deliver the keynote address of his State Visit at the University of Leipzig.
President Higgins will be the first Irish Head of State to include Leipzig – a city in the former East Germany – in the programme for a State Visit, reflecting Ireland’s intention to go beyond traditional centres of Irish links and build new links for the future.
In his address, entitled ‘The Future of Europe: Re-balancing Ecology, Economy and Ethics’, the President will pay tribute to Irish-German relations and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of European cooperation towards sustainable, inclusive development.
President Higgins will then visit the Church of St. Nicholas and have meetings with the Lord Mayor of Leipzig, Mr. Burkhard Jung, and the Minister President of the Free State of Saxony, Mr. Michael Kretschmer.
That evening, President and Sabina Higgins will welcome German President Steinmeier to a special performance in the “Other Voices” series, taking place in Kreuzberg, in Berlin.
President Higgins will meet with the newly appointed Chief Economist at the European Central Bank, Mr. Philip Lane, before travelling to Würzburg in Bavaria, a city with strong cultural and ecclesiastical links with Ireland, dating back to time of St. Killian who travelled to the city in 686 AD.
The President will meet the Lord Mayor of Würzburg, Dr. Adolf Bauer, and other local leaders, before travelling on to Frankfurt, where he will mark the opening of a new Consulate General, the first such diplomatic representation in continental Europe in the modern era.
President Higgins will then have a meeting with the Minister for Federal and European Affairs of the Hesse State Government, Ms. Lucia Puttrich, before concluding the State Visit.