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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar travels to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar travels to Berlin today for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Discussions will focus on the agenda for this week's meeting of the European Council - including Brexit, trade, EMU and digital taxation. They will also discuss their approach to the future of the European Union.

Bilateral relations will also feature. Germany is Ireland’s second largest source of inward investment, third largest source of tourists, fourth largest overall trading partner, and fifth largest food export market.

Following lengthy coalition negotiations on foot of federal elections last September, last week the Chancellor was formally re-elected to her position for the fourth time by the Bundestag.

The Taoiseach remarked In advance:

I look forward to my first visit to Berlin as Taoiseach, and to congratulating the Chancellor on her re-election. We have a lot of work to do together, both bilaterally and within our shared European Union.

The meeting also comes a day after the EU and the UK agreed that the backstop for the Irish border, agreed in December, must be made legally operative in the withdrawal agreement, to apply unless and until an alternative solution is agreed.

The Taoiseach and his counterparts will now decide on Friday if enough progress has been made to move on to the issue of the future relationship in the Brexit negotiations.