In his first overseas trip for 2017, Prime Minister Bill English will three European capital to discuss issues including trade and security.
“This is an opportunity to exchange views on a range of issues facing Europe and the world, and to reaffirm that New Zealand remains a committed friend and partner,” Mr English says.
“The focus of my trip will be to advance New Zealand business and trade opportunities in the region, including starting the negotiations on an FTA with the European Union this year.”
In Brussels, Mr English will meet with the three Presidents of the EU – European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.
He will also meet with Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel. (Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Reynders Didier is on a visit to New Zealand this week.).
In London, Mr English will meet Prime Minister Theresa May and Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“I will be interested to hear Prime Minister May’s views on Brexit and will take the opportunity to reaffirm New Zealand’s commitment to working toward a high quality trade deal when the UK is in a position to negotiate,” Mr English says.
In Berlin, Mr English will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.
Mr English will be accompanied by Trade Minister Todd McClay in Brussels and Foreign Minister Murray McCully in London and Berlin. Dr Mary English will accompany her husband.
The visit runs from January 9-18, during which Mr English will also meet a range of other government, business and academic leaders to hear their views on the political, economic and security situation in the region and about opportunities for New Zealand there.
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