Germany's Foreign Policy

Today's German foreign policy has to be geared to three key guiding principles: Strengthening Europe as a model for cooperation and integration, advocating peace and disarmament and seizing the opportunities offered by globalization for the benefit of all. In the age of globalisation states, societies and economic areas are becoming increasingly interlinked. That has a definite impact on German foreign policy. Conflicts in other parts of the world now have a more direct impact on us here in Germany. However, the main aim of German foreign policy is still to maintain peace and security in the world.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier with South African President Jacob Zuma Enlarge image German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier with South African President Jacob Zuma (© Ute Grabowsky / photothek.net)

That encompasses issues such as conflict prevention, defence, disarmament and arms control, as well as human rights, ecological, social, cultural and development policy aspects. On account of the new regional and global challenges we are faced with, Germany is being expected to do more to strengthen peace and security in the world. 

Germany's commitment on the Balkans, off the coast of Lebanon and in Afghanistan shows that Germany is prepared to actively meet these challenges. Germany is committed to resolving conflicts, to combating international terrorism and to fighting poverty. The basis for all this is a reliable foreign, European and development policy which is rooted in the trust our allies and partners place in us. 

Europe and the Atlantic partnership: Core elements of German foreign policy  

The cornerstones of Germany's foreign policy are and will continue to be European integration and the Atlantic partnership. The two form the foundation of our bilateral and international relations, and most especially of our close friendship and co-operation with France. The German Government seeks to strengthen European policy within multilateral bodies, to promote transatlantic relations and shape our relations with neighbours, allies and partners with balance and good judgement. 

Co-operation based on partnership and a balance of interests are features of German foreign policy. Foreign policy is peace policy  No matter whether it is Somalia or Afghanistan, many trouble spots in the world are the result of the disintegration of statehood. Recognising political and humanitarian crises early on and acting accordingly is an important goal of German foreign policy. Bilateral commitments and international obligations are complementary aspects. Decisions made within the United Nations flank humanitarian aid measures. Strengthening international law is just as important as international understanding within the framework of foreign cultural policy.

Foreign Policy

UN campus in Bonn

Africa: Focal point of Germany's foreign policy

FM Steinmeier at opening of the German South African Business Conference

Germany's policy towards Africa is value-based; its principles are respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law and peaceful resolution of conflicts. Yet Germany also has clearly defined interests. As a major exporting nation we need a reliable and well-functioning world trade system, which cannot exist without peace, security and stability.