Germany’s ambassador to the UK says he is keen to explore closer cooperation with Greater Manchester following a two-day tour of innovative businesses and organisations within the city-region.
Andreas Michaelis travelled to Greater Manchester this week at the invitation of Greater Manchester Mayor and GM LEP board member Andy Burnham.
Germany is a key strategic partner and integral to Greater Manchester’s International Strategy.
The city-region has the ambition to become Germany’s strongest economic partner in the UK outside London, building on a strong relationship.
The German ambassador started his tour at MediaCity in Salford, visiting production studio dock10 – the UK’s largest multi-camera studio – and Host, the Home of Skills and Technology in Salford, where he met Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett and Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, operator of HOST.
Commenting on the infrastructure at MediaCity, he wrote on Twitter:
“This morning I was at MediaCityUK in Salford – impressive architecture, and intriguing concept having so many media giants in one district.
“Coming from Germany, where the media is not just located in the capital, I know of the advantages of this approach.”
Ambassador Andreas Michaelis and Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett
He later met Greater Manchester Mayor and GM LEP board member Andy Burnham and used social media to demonstrate his awareness of Greater Manchester culture and hopes of closer economic ties.
Posting on Twitter, he added:
“Enjoyed a great meeting with Mayor Andy Burnham. Discussed business development and links with Germany. Impressed by the energy of the Mayor and his team. Being in Manchester we raised football and Joy Division, too.”
Mr Michaelis was presented with a Manchester City shirt signed by the Blues’ German footballer Ilkay Gündogan.
The German ambassador later enjoyed a walking tour of Greater Manchester and visited the historic Chetham’s library, where he sat at the desk where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels worked together.
He said that he was “following Germany traces in Manchester – at the desk of Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels and exploring the magnificent, annotated copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartman Schedel at Chetham’s. Both objects bear vivid testimony of the centuries-old close ties between our countries.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Ambassador Andreas Michaelis
During day two of the German ambassador’s tour of Greater Manchester, he got to see innovative businesses and organisations working in Stockport and Manchester, including engineering business WEFL and musicMagpie, where he met GM LEP board member Cllr Elise Wilson, also the leader of Stockport Council, and the council’s Chief Executive Pam Smith.
He also met representatives of the German company BASF, which has a base in Stockport.
The ambassador also visited Manchester for a meeting with Manchester city council leader Sir Richard Leese – also a GM LEP board member – and toured the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, where he learned about some of the new applications for #graphene and other 2D materials that are being rapidly prototyped and developed for commercial use.
Meeting with Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
The visit also provided an opportunity for the ambassador to hear about the Greater Manchester Economic Vision and discuss Innovation Greater Manchester with Richard Jones, Professor of Materials Physics and Innovation Policy at the University of Manchester.
Commenting on the visit to Greater Manchester via social media as he returned to London, Mr Michaelis thanked Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham for hosting the visit and said:
“Manchester is a dynamic hub for innovation. With a strong industrial tradition & commercial base, it has attracted an impressive number of companies. Keen to explore future cooperation between Germany & Manchester region.”
Visiting Siemens headquarters in Manchester