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Statement following meeting between President Higgins and President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Date: Wed 27th Oct, 2021 | 15:00

President Michael D. Higgins received the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, accompanied by his wife Ms Elke Büdenbender, at Áras an Uachtaráin today, which commenced President Steinmeier’s three day State Visit to Ireland. 

Following a ceremonial welcome, a bilateral meeting took place between the two Heads of State. After the meeting, President Steinmeier rang the Peace Bell and planted an Irish Oak tree in the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin.

At their meeting President Higgins, in the course of his welcome to President Steinmeier to Ireland, highlighted the strong ties - historical, cultural, economic and of friendship - that link the two countries and its peoples.

The discussions between the two Presidents followed on from that which they had at the recent meeting of the ‘Arraiolos Group’ of European Heads of State in Rome in September. Among the topics that the two Presidents discussed were: 

  • the post-COVID adjustment in Europe and the global vaccination programme, particularly in Africa and the developing world;
  • the Future of Europe and the need for greater social cohesion and dialogue; 
  • further developing educational and cultural links between the two countries; 
  • climate change and the upcoming COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference; 
  • current threats to global peace, the importance of multilateralism and the role of the State; 
  • Afghanistan and impending food disaster following the recent United Nations report. 

The issue of protecting and promoting regional languages within the European Union was of particular interest in the discussions. 

President Higgins also thanked Germany for its support during the recent Brexit negotiations, especially in regard to the Northern Ireland protocol. The importance of building on the strong relationship between both countries post-Brexit was also discussed.

President Steinmeier and Ms Büdenbender will return to Áras an Uachtaráin this evening for a State Dinner in their honour, to be hosted by the President and Sabina Higgins. The President and Sabina will also accompany them on a number of engagements in Dublin, Galway and Limerick over the course of their State Visit.

President Steinmeier’s visit follows on the State Visit of President Higgins to Germany in July 2019, when the President visited four German states, including the federal capital Berlin, Frankfurt in Hesse, Würzburg in Bavaria and Leipzig in Saxony.