Together at Time of Change and Challenge
State Visit of the Irish President Michael D. Higgins to GermanyJuly 09th, 2019
On July 3, 2019, the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and Mrs Higgins arrived in Berlin at the start of their State Visit to Germany at the invitation of the President Steinmeier.
President Steinmeier and Ms Büdenbender welcomed President Higgins and his spouse Sabina Higgins to Bellevue Palace, built in 1786. The palace serves as the official residence of the German Head of State since 1994. Ireland's national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann, was played beautifully in the morning at Schloss Bellevue marking the occasion of President Higgins’ State Visit.
During the official meeting at Bellevue, President Higgins gave a speech, in which he highlighted strong and enduring German-Irish relations based on the most fundamental European values such as “tolerance, respect for human rights and a commitment to multilateral cooperation and the pursuit of inclusive and sustainable models of development.”
Following the meeting with President Steinmeier on the first day of the State Visit, President Higgins met the Federal Chancellor Ms Angela Merkel to further strengthen warm and friendly Ireland-German bilateral relations.
On the second day, the President Higgins travelled to Leipzig to meet the Minister-President Michael Kretschmer of Saxony and deliver a keynote speech at the University of Leipzig on the future of Europe, linking economy, ecology and ethics. In his address, President of Ireland suggested that the EU’s founding principles represent “the triumph of idealism over cynicism” and that such principles should be protected, especially at times when they are threatened by “increasing inequalities in income, wealth, power and opportunities.” The President emphasized the need for a wide and comprehensive debate and that smaller EU states must make their voices heard and take a leading role in deciding the future of the Union.
Later that day, the President Higgings attended the concert of Irish music “Other Voices Live” in Berlin, featuring Lisa Hannigan and Dermot Kennedy. Accepting a return hospitality invitation by the Irish President, the President of Germany Steinmeier also attended the concert. In his speech at the event, he spoke of Irish-German relations underscored by music and the role of State Visits in bringing peoples & nations closer together.
On the final day of the State Visit, the President and Mrs Higgins visited the Bavarian city of Würzburg, to celebrate its strong historical links with Ireland and its being the resting place of Irish martyr, St. Killian. Later that day, the President and his spouse attended the event organised by Tourism in Ireland and Galway 2020in Frankfurt, where he spoke of enduring strength of relations between Ireland and Germany.
On July 5, the President and Mrs Higgins left Germany. The President Steinmeier described the State Visit of the Irish President as highly successful and said “mission accomplished.”