British PM Boris Johnson to welcome Angela Merkel for swansong UK visit

German chancellor will become the first foreign leader to address the British Cabinet since US president Bill Clinton in 1997

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and her husband, Joachim Sauer (2nd L) speak to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and his wife Carrie Johnson at a reception with G7 leaders at The Eden Project in south west England on June 11, 2021. G7 leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, for three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall. / AFP / POOL / Jack Hill

Departing German Chancellor Angela Merkel will address Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Cabinet during a visit to Britain on Friday, the first time a foreign leader has done so in almost 25 years.

Mrs Merkel's visit is regarded in London as a chance to shore up diplomatic relations with its second-biggest trading partner after years of wrangling over Britain's exit from the EU.

Mr Johnson will host her at his Chequers country residence, where discussions will include pandemic travel arrangements. She will also meet the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Mrs Merkel has pushed for tougher EU-wide restrictions on travellers arriving from Britain, which is experiencing a surge in cases of the Delta coronavirus variant.

Mr Johnson's office said she would be the first foreign leader to address the British Cabinet since US president Bill Clinton in 1997, at the invitation of prime minister Tony Blair.

He praised the effect that Mrs Merkel, who plans to stand down after a September 26 election, has had on bilateral relations.

"Over the 16 years of Chancellor Merkel’s tenure, the UK-Germany relationship has been re-energised and reinvigorated for a new era," Mr Johnson said.

Germany imposes a 14-day quarantine period on British travellers.

The debate on travel arrangements has raised questions about whether London should remain the site of the final three matches of football's European Championships.

The two leaders are expected to agree to a number of initiatives, ranging from an annual joint meeting of British and German cabinets to cultural and youth exchange programmes.

Mrs Merkel’s audience with the Queen comes at the end of a busy week for the monarch and days after England defeated Germany 2-0 to gain a place in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, crushing their old rivals’ dreams.

The queen’s great-grandson Prince George, with his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were among those at Wembley on Tuesday night to see England beat Germany in a tournament knockout game for the first time since 1966.

She has carried out a series of engagements in Scotland as part of the traditional Royal Week visit.

After a final engagement at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) with the Princess Royal on Thursday, the Queen attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Berkshire for the first time since 2019.

Updated: July 2nd 2021, 6:06 AM
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