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'France will remain a faithful friend': Macron meets President Higgins on first official visit

The visit is part of the French President’s pledge to travel to the capitals of all 27 EU states.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 26th 2021, 12:00 PM

Macron at Aras 010 French President Macron arrives at Áras an Uachtaráin. Sam Boal Sam Boal

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron has met with President Michael D Higgins this morning at Áras an Uachtaráin ahead of a meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Greeted by Higgins and his wife Sabina this morning, Macron then signed the Áras’ guest book, where he wrote:

“Because Ireland has constantly struggled in favour of peace; because it was a land of asylum before it became a land of welcome; because its society shows solidarity and is opened; Ireland occupies a precious place at the heart of the European dream. 

“Your invitation on this day to meet the minds which shape Ireland is a great honour and a source of inspiration. France is your closest neighbour within the European Union and will remain a faithful friend for the future.”

Higgins and Macron discussed a range of topics including the future of the European Union post-Brexit, social Europe, Africa, and the crisis facing the global Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Topics discussed also included the climate crisis and a number of other global issues including the situation in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Haiti.

President Higgins stressed his support for a social Europe, and the need to develop new connections between economics, ethics and ecology.

He thanked President Macron for his continuing support for Ireland, our shared ideals in the European Union and France’s assistance in relation to our citizens in Afghanistan.

The Taoiseach and Macron are expected to discuss the situation in Afghanistan later, as well as the Irish Army Rangers coordination with French military to aid Irish citizens looking to leave the country.

Martin will also discuss the Covid-19 situation, the European economic recovery plan, Brexit and corporation tax with the French president.

Macron at Aras 003 Sam Boal Sam Boal

Macron is to travel to Government Buildings for a working lunch with the Taoiseach, followed by a press conference with the media.

The official French visit programme also includes a number of other engagements.

The president will be accompanied by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, and  Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Bilateral meetings with their Irish counterparts will be held with Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State Thomas Byrne.

Macron said he wanted to travel to the capitals of all 27 European Union member countries before France takes up the EU presidency in January.

In the evening, President Higgins and his wife Sabina will host a working dinner in honour of the French President.

Our Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be covering the press conference today and you can follow her on Twitter here. You’ll find reports on that press conference on our home page soon

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