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Angela Merkel receives the Taoiseach

Agreement on European questions

Germany and Ireland are in agreement on their stance on Brexit, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Taoiseach, or Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar. Before the European Council meeting at the end of this week the two leaders discussed EU matters at the Federal Chancellery.

Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, with military honours. Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Leo Varadkar, the Taoiseach, with military honours Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Their talks focused on the consequences of Brexit. For Ireland, its border with Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, is a crucially important issue.

The Chancellor reported that she had been "extremely happy" to note the agreement reached by the chief negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom on 19 March 2018. "We realise of course that a lot more problems still need to be solved," said Angela Merkel. The question of what form the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will take is "very sensitive and vitally important".

Germany supports the Irish position

All parties involved agree that a solution must be found, and Germany "fully" supports the Irish position, declared Angela Merkel. For Ireland it is "absolutely essential" to prevent a hard border with Northern Ireland, stressed the Taoiseach.

On Friday the European Council is to adopt guidelines for future negotiations with the United Kingdom.

Working together for free world trade

Decisions regarding the further development of Economic and Monetary Union and the Banking Union are to be taken at the June meeting of the European Council, reported the Chancellor.

Commenting on the threat of punitive tariffs being imposed on imports to the USA, the Chancellor said that she hoped "that we will not have to respond to additional tariffs". Ireland and Germany, she declared, "support free world trade and we do not want to take any protectionist actions".

On Thursday and Friday the EU heads of state and government will be in Brussels for a meeting of the European Council. The EU27 intends to adopt the guidelines for negotiations over the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Mar 20, 2018