UK's Johnson to host Germany's Merkel on July 2

By: AFP      Published: 06:15 PM, 25 Jun, 2021
UK's Johnson to host Germany's Merkel on July 2

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she visits Britain on July 2, a spokesperson for his Downing Street office said on Friday.

"This will be a chance to discuss a range of issues, including deepening the UK-Germany relationship and the global response to the coronavirus pandemic," the spokesperson said, explaining that the two leaders would meet at the prime minister's Chequers country residence northwest of London.

Merkel's visit, likely her last before she steps down after 16 years in power, will follow discussions between the pair at this month's G7 summit in Cornwall in southwest England.

Johnson's attempts to sell his vision for post-Brexit Britain at the summit were overshadowed by lingering tensions following Britain's departure from the EU which have framed relations with European leaders, including Merkel, in recent years.

In particular, London has clashed with Brussels and other European capitals over checks on goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK under a protocol, signed separately from the Brexit trade deal agreed in December.

Merkel has also pushed for the 27-member bloc to follow Berlin's lead and to quarantine travellers from Britain to stop the spread of a more transmissible Delta variant strain of the coronavirus first identified in India.

At the G7, Johnson and Merkel also discussed foreign policy related to Russia.

In the last two days, Britain and Russia squared up over a naval incident off the coast of Crimea after Moscow claimed it had fired warning shots at a Royal Navy destroyer in the Black Sea.

An initiative by the German chancellor to arrange direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin was scuppered on Friday amid particular opposition from eastern European leaders.