Brexit on agenda as Irish president starts state visit to Germany

Irish President Michael D Higgins was welcomed to Berlin with full military honours at the start of a three day visit on Wednesday by German President Frank Walter Steinmeier.

After holding talks with Steinmeier, Higgins was to be received by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and to have discussions with the president of the German parliament, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Ahead of his arrival, Higgins paid tribute to Germany’s “positive European and global leadership role” during the 2015 migration crisis in particular.

Germany had made sacrifices in welcoming people seeking a safe haven from conflict, repression, violence and hatred, he wrote in a guest column for Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday.

The ongoing Brexit talks are likely to form a major part of his discussions with German leaders, with the question of a so-called “hard border” between Ireland and Northern Ireland on the agenda.

Merkel visited Ireland in April. “Every step of the way we will stand together [with Ireland],” she said after meeting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin. (dpa/NAN)

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