Baerbock supports energy cooperation in Colombia
Current information about Germany’s foreign policy and foreign relations.
09.06.2023: Baerbock supports energy cooperation in Colombia
Cali (d.de/dpa) – During a visit to Colombia, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has voiced support for a closer energy and climate partnership with Latin America’s fourth-largest country. “Colombia has enormous potential to become a heavyweight in renewables and green hydrogen,” the minister said following a meeting with Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez in the city of Cali.
In the evening, Baerbock presented Márquez with the Prize for Women’s Rights and Democracy of the German-Latin American-Caribbean women’s network “Unidas”. The 41-year-old human rights and environmental activist has been awarded the prize for her services to the rights of women and Afro-Colombians, and to the fight against illegal mining. Baerbock said that Márquez embodied the “battle for equality that we are pursuing together” and that the prize-winner was a role model for feminist foreign policy in Germany, giving a voice to millions of women.
07.06.2023: Baerbock appeals for partnership of democracies in Brazil
São Paulo (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has offered Brazil a partnership of democracies in view of the global challenges. “Let us shake hands and together shape a future that will benefit us all,” Baerbock said during a speech in the Brazilian business metropolis São Paulo. She said that sustainable trade relations that benefited all sides, the battle against unilateral dependencies and joint efforts to contain the climate crisis were crucial. Baerbock and Germany’s Labour Minister Hubertus Heil had been invited to give speeches on the subject of democracy by one of Latin America’s leading think tanks, Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV).
06.06.2023 : Flasbarth at UN-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi
Berlin (d.de) – Liveable cities are an important success factor in the fight against marginalisation, poverty and climate change, stressed Jochen Flasbarth. The state secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is representing Germany at the second assembly of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme UN-Habitat, which is taking place in Nairobi. One central topic at the meeting is urban development as an engine for implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. In this context, Flasbarth said: “Urbanisation is a mega trend of the 21st century. It often leads to additional challenges on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The densely populated cities in the Global South are frequently affected by poverty, violence, inadequate infrastructure and environmental pollution.” He added: “Whether we succeed in resolving the major global issues will be decided chiefly in cities.”
05.06.2023: Preparatory negotiations for international climate change conference in Bonn
Bonn (dpa/d.de) - Six months before the next international climate change conference in Dubai, ten-day interim preparatory negotiations are set to begin in Bonn. The Special Representative for International Climate Policy at the Federal Foreign Office, Jennifer Morgan, says she is seeking to build a “broad coalition for an ambitious global climate policy so that we can make groundbreaking decisions in Dubai that will enable us to take a major leap towards a climate-friendly, sustainable and therefore better world”. At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) from 30 November to 12 December, the global community is to take stock of its climate efforts to date and measure them against the targets agreed on at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015.
02.06.2023: Scholz and Macron seek de-escalation in northern Kosovo
Bulboaca (dpa) – On the sidelines of the European Political Community summit in Moldova, Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have held talks aimed at easing tensions in the conflict that has escalated again in northern Kosovo. “We have had intensive talks with Kosovo and Serbia,” Scholz said after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Vjosa Osmani, the president of the Republic of Kosovo. He explained that he himself, but also Macron and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, were very keen to de-escalate tensions.
The situation in the Serb-populated northern part of Kosovo has been causing great concern in the EU and Nato for days. Kosovo, which nowadays is populated almost exclusively by Albanians, had declared itself independent in 2008. To this day Serbia refuses to acknowledge this and is demanding the return of its former province.
01.06.2023: Germany supports protection of Congo Rainforest in Cameroon
Berlin (d.de) – Germany will in future provide Cameroon with more support with protecting the rainforest in the Congo Basin, an ecosystem that is particularly important for the global climate and rich in biodiversity. The area also plays a key role as a source of income for the local population. Germany’s Development Ministry (BMZ) has pledged around 20 million euros to fund protective measures. BMZ State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth said that in this region Cameroon’s forest was “the last remaining area of rainforest that still absorbs CO₂ on a net basis and also features unique biodiversity”. At the same time, millions of people live in and earn their livelihoods from the forest. He stressed: “Protecting the forest has three-fold benefits, in other words: it protects the climate, it preserves biodiversity and it secures incomes for the local population.”
Cameroon’s south forms the western fringes of the huge Congo Basin Rainforest. Around a quarter of the tropical rainforests that remain worldwide are to be found in the Congo Basin. However, the forest is shrinking, mainly due to uncontrolled deforestation for energy production and the creation of new fields and plantations.
31.05.2023: Four Russian consulates in Germany must close
Berlin (d.de) – The German government has revoked the licences of four of Russia’s general consulates in Germany. They will now have to close by the end of the year. This is Germany’s response to the recently announced restrictions on German government officials in Russia. Moscow had announced on Saturday that it had introduced “an upper limit for the number of personnel at German representations abroad and German cultural organisations”, namely a maximum of 350 persons. The decision will mean that several hundred German officials, such as diplomats, teachers and staff of the Russian branches of the Goethe-Institut, will have to leave Russia.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that the Russian government had “taken a step of escalation”, explaining that the closure of the consulates was a reaction to Moscow’s order and that this would create a “parity of personnel and structures”. Furthermore, Germany will shut its consulates in Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, though the German embassy in Moscow and the consulate in Saint Petersburg will continue operating. A minimal presence of cultural staff – at German schools and branches of the Goethe-Institut, for example – will be maintained. The personnel limit ordered by Moscow necessitated the closures, the ministry’s spokesperson said.
31.05.2023: Germany condemns anti-homosexuality law in Uganda
Berlin (d.de) – Germany has strongly condemned the new law against homosexuals in Uganda. Development Minister Svenja Schulze said: “The anti-homosexuality law in Uganda violates fundamental human rights to which Uganda has committed itself and which are enshrined in the Charta of the African Union.” She stated: “Same-sex love is not a crime.” Luise Amtsberg, the federal government commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, said: “The anti-LGBTQIA+ law has been passed in Uganda despite the international community’s campaign for it not to be signed. The law represents a massive violation of the fundamental human rights of queer people. Every individual has the right to live in safety and to freely develop their personality and thus to live how they want and love whom they want. It is right that Germany is now expanding its solidarity and support for the LGBTQIA+ community in the country, to protect them and their work.” Amtsberg went on to say that Germany will do everything it can “to offer the best possible protection to activists who are in acute danger”. In addition, she believes that German funding for Uganda should be reviewed to ensure “that it does not bolster any anti-LGBTQIA+ forces in Uganda”.
30/05/2023: Federal Foreign Office condemns clashes in Kosovo
Berlin (d.de) – The German Foreign Ministry condemned the attacks of Serbian protesters against the international peacekeeping force KFOR. “We most strongly condemn the unacceptable violent attacks that happened in Northern Kosovo his afternoon, and in which dozens of KFOR/NATO soldiers and a number of civilians were hurt. Our thoughts are with the injured individuals who we hope will recover very soon,” it says in a statement. The peacekeeping force reported that 30 KFOR soldiers, including 19 Hungarians and 11 Italians, suffered injuries such as broken bones and burns. 53 Serbs were injured, according to the hospital in the nearby city of Mitrovica. The Federal Foreign Office calls for “all violence and all activities that would give rise to further tension to be stopped immediately. De-escalation of the situation is urgently necessary. We are calling on Kosovo and Serbia to enter into talks to this end without delay, and to further work towards implementing the agreement on the path to normalisation drawn up in February in March, also with regard to the Association of Serb Municipalities.”
The protests in Northern Kosovo with its almost entirely Serbian population are directed against the appointment of new mayors that had been elected in April and who are members of Albanian parties. The elections had been boycotted by the vast majority of Serbs.
26.05.2023: Scholz offers German assistance with Cyprus negotiations
Berlin (dpa) – Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has offered Germany’s assistance to revive reunification negotiations between the two parts of Cyprus. “Germany stands ready to help rebuild trust among all involved,” said Scholz following a meeting with Nikos Christodoulides, the new president of the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU member. “And if so desired, we will be happy to support the process of negotiations,” he said.
In the aftermath of a Greek putsch and military intervention by Turkey, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus was split into two parts in 1974, one Greek-dominated and the other Turkish-dominated. The buffer zone between the two parts of the island is monitored by UN Blue Helmet forces. The Republic of Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but discussions to overcome the division have been on hold since 2017.
25.05.2023: Germany to support water sector in Palestinian territories
Berlin (d.de) – Germany will once again be supporting the Palestinian water sector, including in the West Bank. This is one outcome of the government negotiations on German-Palestinian development cooperation. Roughly 1.8 million people across the country will benefit in particular from the construction of sewage treatment plants and support with desalinating sea water. Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has pledged a total of around 125 million euros for the next two years. The objective of Germany’s development cooperation support is to improve living conditions for the population and establish a future Palestinian state. Besides water projects, support for job, training and study opportunities, especially for women, was agreed during the government negotiations. Germany also openly addressed the overdue parliamentary and presidential elections and the difficult situation of Palestinian civil society, however.
24.05.2023: Bundeswehr ends earthquake assistance in Turkey
Altinözü (dpa) – Germany’s army, the Bundeswehr, is ending its assistance for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and withdrawing from the town of Altinözü. In the Turkish earthquake region not far from the city of Antakya, a team of around 140 has been operating a field hospital in cooperation with Turkish personnel. For a long time the Bundeswehr’s field hospital was the only place in the region to offer surgical operations, says Kai Schlolaut, contingent commander and a colonel in the medical corps. The tents, which were arranged like tunnels, contained among other things an operating theatre, X-ray diagnostic equipment, a pharmacy, 25 beds, three intensive care beds, a kind of accident and emergency area and a waiting room. Around 100 patients were treated there every day. The Bundeswehr’s field hospital had previously been used in Mali and Afghanistan.
23.05.2023: Global Women’s Forum for Peace & Humanitarian Action 2023 begins
Berlin (d.de) – The three-day Global Women’s Forum for Peace & Humanitarian Action 2023 has begun at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. In staging the event in cooperation with the Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund (WPHF), Germany’s foreign office is honouring women-led civil society organisations working for peace, reconciliation and humanitarian aid under the most difficult conditions in crisis and conflict regions around the world. The forum will see representatives of around 150 civil society organisations from 33 countries share their experiences and knowledge about their engagement. Furthermore, it offers a unique opportunity to strengthen international strategic collaboration between the organisations. The conference opened with a video message by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and, on behalf of the hosts, Minister of State Anna Lührmann.
20.05.2023: Baerbock at meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels
Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will be meeting her EU counterparts in Brussels on Monday for a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council. A variety of topics are on the agenda. One central point is the question of how the EU can become more capable of international action. In many cases, the fact that all decisions on foreign and security policy have to be approved unanimously by all 27 member states is seen as an obstacle to this. Germany wants to change this principle and draw up proposals for a new procedure together with its partners.
Other topics include support for Ukraine in its defence against the Russian war of aggression, especially financial support via the European Peace Facility. The situation in the Horn of Africa is also to be discussed, as is the situation in Sudan. The ministers will adopt the eighth sanctions package against Iran for human rights violations in the brutal oppression of its own people. Furthermore, the foreign ministers of the six Western Balkan countries will be guests at an informal meeting to discuss questions of the EU accession process.
17.05.2023: Baerbock in favour of UN mediation in Yemen civil war
Jeddah (dpa) – Germany is pushing for a UN process to resolve the years-long civil war in Yemen. Following a meeting with Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that a truce brokered by the United Nations was the prerequisite for a “lasting and stable peace”. “To achieve this, all parties must be involved.” She also said it was essential that states in the region support the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg. According to the German government, 67 percent of Yemen’s population is reliant on humanitarian aid. That is around 21 million people, roughly 11 million of whom are children. Baerbock spoke of “one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises”.
16.05.2023: Chancellor stresses cooperation with Global South
Berlin (d.de) – At the Global Solutions Summit 2023, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has placed the emphasis on equal cooperation with the countries of the Global South. He said that the issues of climate protection, migration and poverty reduction posed “enormous challenges” for the international order. At the same time, however, the potential for equitable global cooperation has “never been greater”. The countries of Asia, Africa and America “expect representation on an equal footing,” said Scholz. This must be reflected in the distribution of seats in international organisations as well as in the trade policy of the European Union.
More than 1,000 international participants from politics, science and business gather at the Global Solutions Summit to discuss global challenges and make proposals to policymakers. The recommendations are addressed primarily to decision-makers in the G20, G7 and other international organisations.
Chancellor Scholz has invited African states to come to Berlin on 20 November to advance the G20’s “Compact with Africa” initiative. Its goal is to stimulate economic growth in Africa.
15.05.2023: Baerbock on trip to Saudi Arabia and Qatar
Berlin (dpa/d.de) – During a three-day visit to the Gulf region, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock plans among other things to push for peaceful solutions in Yemen and Sudan. “The Gulf region is a geopolitical pivot between Asia, Africa and Europe whose influence extends far beyond the Arabian Peninsula,” Baerbock said before departing for Saudi Arabia and Qatar. She announced that she also intended to talk about human rights, saying that dialogue also involved “looking each other in the eye on issues where our positions are far apart”.
12.05.2023: Bundestag pays tribute to founding of the State of Israel
The German Bundestag has held a debate to pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was also in parliament for the occasion. The State of Israel was proclaimed on 14 May 1948. President Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz had already honoured the state’s foundation in April, emphasising the close relations between Germany and Israel. “For Germany, our responsibility for the State of Israel derives from our history,” said Steinmeier. “We are deeply grateful for the gift of reconciliation that Israel has granted us.” Scholz also stressed: “Today we are full of gratitude as we look at the close and special relations between our two countries – in politics and business, in science, culture and society.”
11.05.2023: Support for Madagascar with expanding renewable energies
Berlin (d.de) – Germany wants to provide Madagascar, which is particularly affected by climate change, with greater support with expanding solar and hydroelectric power plants. At governmental negotiations in Berlin, the German Development Ministry pledged around 30 million euros to improve the supply of energy on the world’s fourth-largest island. “Expanding solar and hydroelectric power in Madagascar is a great opportunity to produce electricity in an inexpensive and decentralised manner,” explained Parliamentary State Secretary Bärbel Kofler, adding that Germany is also helping Madagascar with setting up power grids to transport the electricity to the villages.
10.05.2023: Make better use of seas as “treasure for green energy”
Berlin (dpa) – At a meeting with European partner states, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has stressed how important offshore wind power is for the energy transition. The sea is “a treasure we all share, but also a treasure we can make better use of: a treasure for green energy,” Baerbock said at a Wind Forum with European partners in Berlin. “The European Commission estimates the capacity for wind power in the Baltic Sea to be more than 93 gigawatts. That is the equivalent to the output of around 90 average-sized nuclear power plants.” Guests at the Wind Forum included the Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Olavi Haavisto. Together with other states in the region, Germany plans to expand offshore wind power in the Baltic Sea.
09.05.2023: Scholz and Macron help mediate in the South Caucasus
Brussels (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron want to help ease tensions in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to European Council President Charles Michel, the two top-level politicians will take part in a discussion with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the sidelines of the next summit meeting of the European Political Community on 1 June. This is to follow a tripartite meeting that Michel will be hosting in Brussels on 14 May with the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The two South Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been engaged in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for decades.
08.05.2023: More help for Turkish earthquake victims
Berlin (d.de) – The German government is extending the option for Turkish earthquake victims to remain with their relatives in Germany by three months until the beginning of August. This was announced by the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of the Interior. “True friendship becomes evident at times of greatest need – and this also applies between Germany and Turkey,” declared Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stressed that Germany had organised massive assistance on the ground following the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria in February, but that it was also about supporting those who had lost everything. “That is why we made it possible within a very short time for people to stay with close relatives in Germany, to find some peace and quiet here, and to be cared for by their own families.”
05.05.2023: End of Bundeswehr mission in Mali
Berlin (dpa) – After nearly eleven years, the Bundeswehr’s participation in the UN Blue Helmet mission in Mali in West Africa is set to end on 31 May 2024. Germany’s Federal Cabinet decided that the 1,100 soldiers stationed there would be withdrawn by this date. If the Bundestag also gives its approval, the currently largest foreign deployment of the German armed forces will be history in one year’s time. The German government now wishes to restructure its engagement in the Sahel region south of the Sahara. Civilian support for the region is to be deepened and security cooperation is to be concentrated on Niger, Mauretania and the states on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. The Bundeswehr is still training soldiers in Niger.
04.05.2023: Chancellor Scholz departs for Africa trip
Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has departed for his second major trip to Africa as head of government, during which the focus will be on regional conflicts, renewable energies and also the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Scholz will first be visiting Ethiopia, where he will also meet representatives of the African Union that 55 African states have joined. He will then travel on to Kenya. In May 2022, very soon after taking office, Scholz had travelled to Africa for the first time, visiting the German Army troops in Niger, Senegal in West Africa, and South Africa, the continent’s only G20 member.
03.05.2023: German-Pakistani agreement on climate protection
Berlin (dpa) – Germany is offering Pakistan the prospect of 120 million euros to improve climate protection in the Asian country and to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This was agreed by German Development Minister Svenja Schulze and Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman on the sidelines of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin. According to a statement, the money will be used to better protect against flooding, to expand renewable energies and to provide social security benefits in the event of climate damage. “Where social safety nets are in place, people get back on their feet again more quickly,” explained Schulze.
02.05.2023: Scholz highlights importance of immigration for the labour market
Koblenz (dpa) – On International Workers’ Day, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz highlighted the importance of immigration for the German labour market. At a rally staged by the German Trade Union Confederation on May 1st, Scholz said that the German government was ensuring “that those who we need as workers here in Germany also have a chance in a regular way”. He added that the new Skilled Immigration Act was important in this context because it would ensure the future of the economy while securing jobs and the system of pensions and social insurance. The planned reform aims to make it easier for foreign skilled workers to come to Germany.
28.04.2023: Baerbock shocked at death sentence for German-Iranian
Salzburg (dpa) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has expressed shock at the Iranian judiciary’s confirmation of the death sentence against the German-Iranian citizen Jamshid Sharmahd. At a meeting of the five German-speaking foreign ministers, Baerbock said that the German ambassador in Teheran would now protest to the authorities there, the Iranian ambassador having already been summoned. “As the Federal Republic of Germany, we continue to do everything we can for Mr Sharmahd in Berlin, but also in Teheran.” She called on Iran once again to reverse the “absolutely inacceptable” and arbitrary sentence, saying that the 68-year-old had at no time had even the semblance of a fair trial. The Supreme Court in Iran had upheld the controversial death sentence against Sharmahd on Wednesday.
27.04.2023: German-African learning platform for girls launched
Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Development Ministry (BMZ) and the Education Alliance of German SMEs (Bildungsallianz des Mittelstands) have launched a project that will allow girls in Africa to acquire better training in mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology. The open atingi digital learning platform, which is free of charge, enables virtual programming and remote control of computer-operated machines in Germany. The platform is also intended to foster networking and cooperation between teachers in Germany and Africa. “Anyone with a good knowledge of mathematics, computer science, technology and natural sciences will have good chances on the employment market. We know that strong girls and women result in the better development of entire societies,” says German Development Minister Svenja Schulze, talking about the new project.
One first pilot project of the new cooperation are so-called FabLabs: open virtual workshops in which cutting-edge production techniques can be demonstrated and tried out.
26.04.2023: Germany’s President Steinmeier congratulates Israel
Berlin (d.de) – In a video message, Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has congratulated Israel on the 75th anniversary of its independence on 26 April 2023. “When Ben Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel 75 years ago, the Jewish people finally gained a homeland, finally gained their own state – after centuries of violence, persecution and displacement, of rampant antisemitism, after the betrayal of all civilised values that was the Shoah, the most heinous crime in the history of humanity, committed by Nazi Germany,” said Steinmeier. The federal president expressed his deep gratitude for the “gift of reconciliation that Israel has granted us”. He closed with the words: “For our friendship, we must do both: ensure remembrance and shape the future. Mazel tov!” For the first time, the German Air Force will also be taking part in a fly-past to celebrate the anniversary. The aircraft will be flown by Chief of the German Air Force Ingo Gerhartz. The wings of the jet are decorated with the German and the Israeli flags. (with dpa)
25.04.2023: Minister of State Lührmann in Slovenia
Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s minister of state for Europe and climate at the Federal Foreign Office, Anna Lührmann, is visiting the Slovenian capital Ljubljana for talks. “Slovenia is an important and close partner with which we have many ties,” Lührmann said at the start of her trip. The talks in Slovenia will focus on the close German-Slovenian cooperation in the European Union. Besides joint support for Ukraine, which is under attack from Russia, the talks will primarily address cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkan, questions of enlargement, institutional reforms in the EU, the rule of law and joint efforts to protect the climate.
24.04.2023: Steinmeier stresses German-Canadian friendship
Ottawa (d.de) – During a visit to Canada, Germany’s Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has underlined the importance of the close relations between the two countries, saying that Germany and Canada have enjoyed a good friendship for decades. “But the recent geopolitical changes, Russia’s war against Ukraine, the conflict between China and the West,” Steinmeier said, have increased the importance of relations. “If we say, looking back, that we knew in the past that we liked each other, then now we know that we need each other more than ever.” Trade will be facilitated by the Ceta agreement that the Bundestag ratified in December. It is intended to promote business between companies in the EU and Canada by removing nearly all tariffs and establishing common rules. (with dpa)
21.04.2023: Demand for human rights defenders to be released in China
Berlin (d.de) – The foreign ministries of Germany and France have demanded the release of human rights defenders who have been sentenced and arrested in China. “We are appalled by the sentencing of human rights defender Xu Zhiyong and lawyer Ding Jiaxi to 14 and 12 years in prison respectively, as well as by the arrest of lawyer and winner of the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan,” announced spokespersons of the Federal Foreign Office and the French Foreign Ministry. “We call for their immediate release and for an end to the repressive measures against human rights defenders.”
20.04.2023: Baltic Offshore Wind Forum on 9 May in Berlin
Berlin (d.de) – Under its presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), Germany, together with Denmark, will host the Baltic Offshore Wind Forum on 9 May 2023 in Berlin. Offshore wind power can make an important contribution to energy independence. To take full advantage of this potential, the Baltic Sea states are keen to step up their cooperation on the expansion of renewable energy sources and the necessary infrastructure. Furthermore, energy security in the Baltic Sea region is facing new challenges because of Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine.
With its forum “Energy Security in the Context of Europe’s Changing Geopolitical Landscape”, Germany is providing a platform for key stakeholders in both the public and the private sector, as well as for civil society. The forum will bring together representatives from the entire Baltic Sea region and will be organised jointly by the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the German Energy Agency (dena). The hosts will be Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is an intergovernmental organisation of ten member states and the European Union that was founded in 1992 as the result of a German-Danish initiative.
19.04.2023: German Chancellor Scholz visits Portugal
Berlin (d.de) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is visiting Portugal and will meet with Prime Minister António Costa in the capital Lisbon. Their talks are expected to focus on current issues in European and economic policy, as well as on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.
14.04.2023: German government welcomes World Bank’s reform steps
Berlin (d.de) – There has been broad support at the World Bank Spring Meetings for a fundamental reform of the World Bank. The objective of the reform is for the bank to be better able to support developing countries in overcoming global challenges such as climate change. Initial measures are to be implemented immediately, enabling the World Bank to grant a total of 50 billion dollars in additional loans over the next ten years. The reform had been initiated in the autumn by German Development Minister Svenja Schulze and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Niels Annen, state secretary at the development ministry and Germany’s representative at the meetings, said: “The goal of fighting poverty will continue to guide the World Bank’s actions – but anyone wishing to successfully tackle poverty also has to take climate change, pandemics and other global crises into account these days.” He called for further “substantial reform steps” by the Annual Meetings in October.
14.04.2023: Germany condemns North Korea’s missile test
Berlin (d.de) - The German government has condemned “in the strongest possible terms the recent illegal launch of a long-range ballistic missile by North Korea”. A statement said that the testing of a long-range ballistic missile, which is suspected to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, is “a further blatant violation of relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, increases the tensions in the region in an irresponsible manner and endangers regional and international peace.” The German government urges North Korea to refrain from carrying out further tests and to implement the decisions of the Security Council.
13.04.2023: Pistorius and Schulze in Niger and Mali
Berlin (d.de) – Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and Development Minister Svenja Schulze visit the Sahel countries Niger and Mali. The two members of the government stated clearly that Germany would continue to live up to its responsibility towards the Sahel region even after the planned withdrawal of the Federal Armed Forces from Mali. They landed on Thursday in Gao, where the Federal Armed Forces maintains a central base belonging to the UN mission MINUSMA. German involvement in the mission is to end by May of next year. More than 1,100 men and women of the Federal Armed Forces are currently stationed in Mali as part of the UN mission. At the same time, Germany is seeking to enhance its engagement in the Sahel region from a development policy perspective. The successful cooperation that already exists with the security forces in Niger is to be strengthened.
13.04.2023: Germany sees initial progress in connection with World Bank reform
Washington (d.de) – Germany sees initial progress in the envisaged reform of the World Bank towards a stronger commitment to climate action. At the Spring Meetings of the World Bank in Washington, the Development Ministry reported that the financial strength of the Development Bank was to be increased by 50 billion dollars over the next ten years.
Development Minister Svenja Schulze initiated the reform together with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The goal is for the bank to provide better support for developing countries to invest in climate action. Up until now, its main task has been to lend money cheaply to poor countries in order to strengthen their economies and reduce poverty. In the view of the German head of delegation at the meeting, State Secretary Niels Annen, the reform steps agreed on to date are not yet sufficient. “In order to achieve the necessary socio-ecological restructuring of the global economy, the world needs a real transformation bank,” said Annen in Washington. (with the dpa)
12.04.2023: Germany’s Foreign Minister Baerbock to visit China
Berlin (d.de) – Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will be travelling to the People’s Republic of China for her inaugural visit from 13 to 15 April. A meeting in Beijing is planned with her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang, whose invitation she has accepted. In addition, she is expected to hold talks with China’s most senior foreign policy official Wang Yi and with Prime Minister Li Qiang. Baerbock will also meet with representatives of the German business community. Josep Borrel, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and vice-president of the EU Commission, will be in Beijing for talks at the same time as Baerbock.
12.04.2023: German Environment Minister Lemke visits Fukushima
Berlin (d.de) – Before attending the meeting of environment ministers of the G7 states in Sapporo, German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke is visiting the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. At various commemorative sites she will talk to those affected by the 2011 tsunami catastrophe and local actors. A visit to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is also scheduled. In Germany, the disastrous tsunami and its consequences for the Fukushima nuclear power plant had prompted Angela Merkel’s government to phase out nuclear energy.
11.04.2023: Human rights commissioner travels to Ethiopia and South Sudan
Berlin (d.de) – Luise Amtsberg, the German government’s commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian assistance, is visiting Ethiopia and South Sudan. Prior to her departure, Amtsberg said: “Although the weapons have fallen silent in northern Ethiopia, the people there are still suffering. Efforts to address the human rights violations that have taken place are only just beginning. I am therefore travelling to Ethiopia, following the joint visit by Foreign Minister Baerbock and her French counterpart Colonna in mid-January, so that I can learn more about the progress of the peace process and the National Dialogue to address human rights violations, as well as the challenging situation facing women and girls in the country.” She added that the German government remained a reliable partner for Ethiopia, including in the sphere of humanitarian assistance.
Afterwards, Amtsberg will visit South Sudan, the world’s youngest state, explaining that she wants to focus attention on one of the forgotten crises of our age. She said: “The country is still ravaged by conflict and violence. I will hold talks and visit projects on the ground to gain an overview of the difficult human rights situation as well as the significant humanitarian need in the country.”
04.04.2023: Baerbock condemns anti-personnel mines
Berlin (d.de). – To mark International Mine Awareness Day, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has stressed the outlawing of land mines: “Anti-personnel mines are atrocious weapons. They are the reason why mothers and fathers in countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia and Iraq still have to fear for their children every time they go outside to play, even decades after a conflict.” Baerbock called on Russia to “cease its reckless widespread mining of agricultural land” in Ukraine. Germany is a signatory to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and is the world’s second-largest funder of humanitarian mine clearance.
04.04.2023: Germany and Jordan want to revive peace process
Berlin (dpa) – Germany and Jordan want to work together to get the Middle East peace process moving. After talks with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Aiman al-Safadi in Berlin, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced on Monday that a meeting with Jordan, Egypt and France would soon be held to this end in the German capital.
03.04.2023: German government commissioner visits Yazidis
Berlin (d.de) – To see the situation of Yazidis and other religious minorities in Iraq for himself, the German government’s commissioner for freedom of religion or belief, Frank Schwabe, has visited Baghdad, Erbil and Dohuk. The trip focused on issues of reconstruction and resettlement in Sinjar, the main settlement area of the Yazidi minority that was mercilessly persecuted by IS. “Germany stands firmly by the side of the Yazidis. Together with the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government, we want to ensure that reconstruction and resettlement are driven forward in Sinjar,” Schwabe said.
03.04.2023: German Chancellor Scholz visits Romania
Berlin (dpa) – Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz has visited Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, and Moldovan President Maia Sandu in Bucharest. The talks will initially focus on European, security and energy policy. At a subsequent tripartite meeting, support for Moldova will be discussed.
29.03.2023: AA condemns ban on political parties in Myanmar
Berlin (d.de) - The military junta in Myanmar has banned the National League for Democracy, the party of Nobel laureate and former head of government Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as 39 other parties. Germany’s foreign ministry has condemned this further “blatant example of [the military junta’s] contempt for its own people” and their desire for freedom: “We condemn the conduct of the junta, which is acting without any basis in democracy and the rule of law. The dissolution of the parties is further evidence that the elections announced by the regime would be a farce and would not be safe, free or fair under the current conditions. Germany calls on the military in Myanmar to put a stop to the violence, especially the attacks on civilians and the brutal repression against the opposition, without delay and to release all political prisoners.”
28.03.2023: Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue opened
Berlin (d.de) German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has opened the 9thBerlin Energy Transition Dialogue in Berlin. The report can be found here.
27.03.2023: Government travels to Netherlands for consultations
Berlin (d.de). – The governments of Germany and the Netherlands are meeting for the fourth time, this time in The Hague. Joint projects are to be discussed during the course of the German-Dutch government consultations. Three topics will take centre stage: climate action and energy security, innovation and digitisation, and security and defence policy in view of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Germany and the Netherlands share a 567-kilometre border, the two countries are important trading partners within the European Union, and both are popular with one another as holiday destinations. With very few other countries does Germany have such close and trust-based relations as with the Netherlands, be it on the economic and political level or indeed on the military and cultural level.
26.03.2023: Germany supports “Silencing the guns”
Berlin (d.de) – Katja Keul, minister of state at the Federal Foreign Office, is travelling to the United Nations in New York to support the initiative “Silencing the guns”. Keul said: “How this UN initiative on small arms control can be effectively implemented will be the subject of an open debate in the UN Security Council on Peace and Security in Africa hosted by the Mozambican presidency. It is particularly important to me that we fight not only the symptoms but also the causes of violence and conflicts together with our African partners. For us, this also means linking our stabilisation projects and development policy even more closely with each other and with African initiatives.”