Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth travelled to Ireland on 22 September. In Dublin he met President Michael D. Higgins, Minister responsible for European Affairs Darra Murphy and Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton, as well as representatives from the press and civil society.
Minister of State Roth held talks with Irish President Michael D. Higgins in Dublin on 22 September. During their discussion, the Minister of State for Europe highlighted the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries. Both Ireland and Germany had always been very interested in continuing to successfully develop European integration. Their talks also focused on how to create a social Europe. “In the long run, the EU will only be accepted if we ensure that all of our citizens are able to live in an economically successful and socially stable, liberal and inclusive Europe in which they have equal rights,” said Roth after the meeting.
Ireland: – an important and reliable partner in Europe
In his discussion with Minister for Europe Murphy, Minister of State Roth said that he was deeply impressed by the consistent progress made by Ireland, which had largely overcome the severe financial and economic crisis in just a few years. Ireland was an important and reliable partner in Europe, he continued. He particularly promoted a mechanism on strengthening the fundamental values and rule of law in the EU.
During a meeting with Irish journalists, Roth stated:
Ireland is a strong supporter of the EU, even in times of crisis. I would like to congratulate the Irish government and the Irish people for the way the crisis was handled and difficult situations were mastered.
Germany has always seen itself as an advocate for smaller EU member states. Small is beautiful! It is not the size of a country that matters in the EU. What really matters are ideas, creativity and a pro-European commitment. In this respect the smaller countries – like Ireland – have a lot to offer!
Following the talk with Minister for Europe Murphy, Minister of State Roth went on to meet Joan Burton, Leader of the Labour Party and Deputy Prime Minister. They discussed the fight against youth unemployment, currently an extremely important topic in Europe.
During his first visit to Ireland, Minister of State Roth also took time to meet the LGBT group Noise, which campaigns for acceptance and same-sex marriage in Ireland, and to hold a discussion with Irish students.