Germany is happy to enjoy a friendly relationship with Belgium
“I feel it is a great honour to have been received today by King Philippe and to have been awarded the Order of Leopold,” said Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel following bilateral talks with the Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo in Brussels on Friday.
For Merkel, being awarded the highest order of merit by the Belgian monarchy was a “recognition of the deep links between our two people”, one which could not be taken for granted given the history between the two countries. Merkel stressed that “We can be pleased that today we are bound together by friendship.”
Federal Chancellor Merkel: we must be “at the forefront of technology”
The Federal Chancellor explained that her talks with Prime Minister De Croo included discussions of current political challenges, noting that they agreed “that we can only be strong and defend our values if we are innovative and at the forefront of technology.” She drew attention to the outstanding examples of this in Europe, such as the pharmaceuticals industry and capacities in the field of micro-electronics. However, Merkel also warned that “the world does not sleep.”
The cultural highlight of the Federal Chancellor’s visit to the Belgian capital was a concert in the Palais des Beaux-Arts, which she attended with Prime Minister De Croo.
Trade agreements benefit Europe
The Federal Chancellor also addressed the technological challenges that had to be overcome as part of protecting the climate. Merkel emphasised the benefits to Europe of signing trade agreements with other parts of the world.
Significant responsibility for Afghanistan
The leaders’ talks also covered their joint efforts in Afghanistan. Merkel described how both Germany and Belgium bore a significant responsibility for Afghanistan, following the military operation “that did not end as we had expected.”