Written answers

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

State Visits

Photo of Lisa ChambersLisa Chambers (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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132. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on his recent trip to Germany; the discussions he had relating to Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30731/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I accompanied President Higgins and his wife Sabina on a State Visit to Germany last week, from 2 to 5 July.  

The State Visit was a truly memorable event which highlighted the historic and contemporary links between our two countries.  The success of the visit will, I believe, form a strong basis for further deepening and growing our already excellent bilateral relations in the years ahead. 

The President’s programme included engagements in Berlin, Leipzig, Würzburg and Frankfurt. I accompanied President Higgins to number of meetings where there were discussions on Brexit, including with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier; the Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel; and the Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, Michael Roth. 

In addition, I had a bilateral meeting with the Minister of European and Federal Affairs of the State of Hessen, Ms. Lucia Puttrich, where I briefed the Minister on Brexit issues. During the State Visit events, I also met with a number of Bundestag parliamentarians and took the opportunity to informally discuss Brexit with them as well.  

I appreciate Germany’s unwavering support in the Article 50 negotiations, including clear support for an operational and legally sound backstop to avoid a hard border. This solidarity was reaffirmed last week during the State Visit when President Steinmeier stated that Ireland's core interests are and will remain the EU's core interests. 


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