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Germany's Angela Merkel makes last official visit to UK

World Saturday 03/July/2021 06:16 AM
By: DW
Germany's Angela Merkel makes last official visit to UK
German chancellor Angela Merkel said she was 'delighted' to visit Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle

LondonFinally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in the west of London.

"I'm delighted to be here," said Merkel when she was introduced to the British monarch, reviving memories of their moments at the G7 conference in Cornwall which she called the highlight of that trip.

The Queen said that it was "very nice" to see the outgoing leader once again.

The monarch even invited photographers to "take a picture and make history" as the European political giant bowed out of her UK visit in style.

Disagreements over sausages and football

While the talks seemed to go smoothly, Boris Johnson raised the problem of getting chilled meats like sausages into Northern Ireland.

According to European Union common market rules, importing chilled meats from third countries is not allowed. Britain is considered a third country by the EU since Brexit.

Although the grace period for sending British meat to Northern Ireland was this week extended until September, Johnson wants a more long-term solution.

"Imagine if Bratwurst could not be moved from Dortmund to Duesseldorf because of the jurisdiction of an international court," the UK Primer Minister said. ″You'd think it was absolutely extraordinary. So we have to sort it out.

"I'm sure as Angela says, with goodwill and with patience we can sort it out," he added.

On a more humorous note, Merkel remarked she was "a little bit sad" after England′s 2-0 beating of Germany in the Euro 2020 competition last Tuesday.

"I'm obviously grateful to you for breaking with that tradition, just for once," Johnson said of the habitual losses to Germany in past soccer matches.

The UK Prime Minister said he was creating a new academic medal in honor of his German counterpart.

The £10,000 ($13,800) award will be named after German-born British scientist Caroline Herschel, who broke new ground in astrophysics.

It would be given to any German or British woman who achieves excellence in science from 2022.

In a press conference after talks, Merkel thanked her British hosts for the "gracious hospitality" extended on her first bilateral visit abroad since the pandemic.

"Now that Britain has left the European Union it's a good opportunity to open a new chapter in our relationship, to find very practical formats where we can have very close contact," she said.

"We would be very happy on the German side to work together on a friendship treaty or a cooperation treaty, which would reflect the whole breadth of relations," she added.

However, Angela Merkel has said she will taking a "step by step" approach to the new relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit.

The German leader was also non-committal when asked if UK prime ministers could be invited to European Union summits as an attempt to repair ties in the post-Brexit era.

"We will see," said Merkel, who is in her last few months as chancellor of Germany.

Prime Minister Johnson has said he doesn't plan to order a reduction in crowds numbers at the remaining Euro 2000 tournament soccer matches at London's Wembley Stadium.

Crowd capacity at Wembley Stadium is to be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semifinals.

Merkel said she was "worried and skeptical" about high attendance of matches.

"Of course, we'll follow the scientific guidance and the advice if we receive any such suggestion," Johnson said after Chancellor Merkel said she was worried about UEFA's decision to let more people into stadiums.

"At the moment...the position is very clear in the UK, which is that we have certain events which we can put on in a very careful and controlled manner with testing of everybody who goes there."