PM Lee on official visit to Germany, Spain

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make official visits to Germany and Spain this week to reaffirm ties with the two European nations and discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make official visits to Germany and Spain this week to reaffirm ties with the two European nations and discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Dresden, GERMANY - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will make official visits to Germany and Spain this week to reaffirm ties with the two European nations and discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

He arrived in Dresden on Sunday for a four-day visit to Germany that coincides with the 50th anniversary of the country's diplomatic relations with Singapore.

Mr Lee will then travel to Spain for his first official visit there on Thursday and Friday, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Germany is Singapore's largest trading partner in the European Union, with bilateral trade amounting to $20 billion last year.

There are also some 1,400 German companies in Singapore, which is keen to boost links between the two countries in technology and advanced manufacturing, among other areas.

While in Dresden, the capital of the federal state of Saxony and a centre for science and technology, Mr Lee will meet Minister-President of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich.

He will then travel to the German capital Berlin, where he will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Lee will also have meetings with Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble.

In Madrid, Mr Lee will have an audience with His Majesty King Felipe VI and meet Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

He will also meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation José Manuel García-Margallo and Minister of Economy and Competitiveness Luis de Guindos.

Spain is Singapore's eighth largest trading partner in the EU, with bilateral trade at S$2 billion in 2014. There are over 200 Spanish companies in Singapore.

Mr Lee will be accompanied by his wife Ho Ching, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Law and Education Indranee Rajah, Minister of State for National Development and Defence Mohamad Maliki Osman, and Mayor of Central Singapore District Denise Phua.

In conjunction with Mr Lee's visit, International Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation will organise Singapore business missions to Germany and Spain.

During Mr Lee's absence, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be the Acting Prime Minister from February 1 to February 7.