Brexit dominates inaugural visit 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin Brexit dominates inaugural visit 

Alongside bilateral relations, European policy and Brexit were the main points on the agenda. On Wednesday Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at the Federal Chancellery with military honours.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a terrace of the Federal Chancellery

A lot to discuss - Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Before their talks the Chancellor stressed that an "intensive agenda" lay ahead of them at their first meeting in the Federal Chancellery. Talks naturally revolved around the latest developments regarding the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Angela Merkel stressed once again that Germany regrets this step, but noted "it is a fact". The aim now is to shape the withdrawal in such a way that "we can continue to have close relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union". Bilateral relations between Germany and the United Kingdom are also close and cordial - "and I would like to see them stay that way in future," said Angela Merkel. 

Provisions in place for all scenarios

31 October 2019 is the deadline for Brexit. By extending the date of departure until then, the EU gave the UK more time to achieve internal political clarity regarding the major aspects of accepting the withdrawal agreement and the future relationship.

The German government is prepared for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. It has made provision for all possible scenarios – including a no-deal Brexit. On 31 July, for instance, the Cabinet adopted the Brexit Residence Transition Act (Brexit-Aufenthaltsüberleitungsgesetz), which provides for all UK citizens and their families to be granted residence status in Germany. The German government is working closely with its European partners and the European Commission on all provisions.

In addition to Brexit, Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson discussed a large number of other international political matters - "in a spirit of friendship, a spirit of the desire to achieve understanding, and a spirit of conviction that we share the same values and the same intentions", as the Chancellor put it. 

Inaugural visit as head of government

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the former Mayor of London and UK Foreign Secretary, has held the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 24 July 2019. One day earlier he was elected leader of the Conservative Party.

It was the 55-year-old’s inaugural visit to Chancellor Angela Merkel in his capacity as British head of government. In 2016, he led the pro-Brexit Leave campaign in the run-up to the referendum on 23 June 2016, in which 51.9 per cent voted for Brexit.

The United Kingdom has a land mass of 244,000 square kilometres, making it Europe’s largest island state. It consists of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, and is home to about 67 million people. The population of London, which is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom, is almost nine million. Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952, is head of state of the parliamentary monarchy.