Together for a resilient EU

The annual German‑British consultations of state secretaries on Europe were held in Berlin on 14 January. Under the chairmanship of Minister of State Michael Georg Link and the British Minister for Europe, David Lidington, state secretaries from many departments of the two countries came together.

The consultations which are held annually at the level of state secretaries provide an opportunity for an intensive exchange of views with the talks focusing this time on the future of the European Union and the strengthening of economic and monetary union.

Many challenges

As Minister of State Michael Georg Link pointed out after the consultations, the two countries want to work together to make the European Union better and more resilient. He went on to say it was a good time to compare notes on European questions as the agenda was abound with challenges.

At the German British consultations on Europe

At the German British consultations on Europe
© Photothek / Hünerfauth

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At the German British consultations on Europe

At the German‑British consultations on Europe

At the German British consultations on Europe

Initial progress could now be seen in work to overcome the European sovereign debt crisis, as Link underscored. “Now we need to resolutely continue on our path of fiscal solidity, European solidarity with a firm focus on growth.”

New growth momentum could for example be generated by improving European competitiveness and deepening the European internal market. There was also agreement that better use needed to be made of the growth potential of free trade. There was support, for example, for the idea of a comprehensive transatlantic free trade agreement, as Link explained, “Here there is huge potential for further growth on both sides.”

On the German side, the State Secretaries responsible for European issues at the Federal Ministries took part. The UK’s representatives included Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State from, among others, HM Treasury, the Department for Environment, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, as well as MPs from the governing parties. The consultations have been held annually in this format since 2011 under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office and the British Minister for Europe. The first meeting was held in Berlin in November 2011, followed by a second in London in June 2012.

Last updated 14.01.2013

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