Wednesday, 27 through Friday, 29 October 2021, Republic of Ireland: President Michael D. Higgins welcomed on Wednesday, 27 October his German counterpart, Federal President, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, accompanied by his wife Ms Elke Büdenbender, at Áras an Uachtaráin, the Presidential Residence, for a 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.
The discussions between the two Presidents followed on from that which they had at the recent meeting of the ‘Arraiolos Group’ of non executive presidents held in Rome in September. As per a the statement of the Irish presidency, among the topics that the two Presidents discussed were:
i) the post-COVID adjustment in Europe and the global vaccination programme, particularly in Africa and the developing world; ii) the Future of Europe and the need for greater social cohesion and dialogue; iii) further developing educational and cultural links between the two countries; iv) climate change and the upcoming COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference; v) current threats to global peace, the importance of multilateralism and the role of the State; vi) Afghanistan and impending food disaster following the recent United Nations report; vii) the issue of protecting and promoting regional languages within the European Union was of particular interest in the discussions.
President Higgins took the opportunity to thank 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 were likewise hosted at Áras an Uachtaráin for a State Dinner. President Higgins and Sabina Higgins accompanied the German Presidential Couple for some of their engagements held in Dublin, Galway and Limerick over the course of their state visit.
President Steinmeier’s visit followed 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 am Main in Hesse, Würzburg in Bavaria and Leipzig in Saxony.
Germany is Ireland’s largest trade party within the EU, and third globally, in 2020 over 10% of Irish goods went to Germany, 1% of Germans visited Ireland in 2019 according to data provided by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.
For further information:
Irish Presidency: https://president.ie/en/media-library/photos/president-welcomes-mr-frank-walter-steinmeier-president-of-the-federal-republic-of-germany-and-ms-elke-buedenbender
German Federal Presidency: https://www.bundespraesident.de/SharedDocs/Reden/DE/Frank-Walter-Steinmeier/Reden/2021/10/211027-StB-Irland-Staatsbankett.html;jsessionid=9A66D833ED11CAEF17123E0730B4D807.2_cid505
Irish Embassy in Germany (Ambassador Dr. Nicholas O’Brien): https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/germany/about-us/