The European Directorate-General, established in 1993, is responsible for the ongoing political dialogue with all EU member states, as well as for devising, shaping and coordinating the German Government’s policy on Europe.
European policy is about much more than ensuring the stability of the euro or creating the Schengen area. Whether it be data transfer in connection with air travel, the implementation of sanctions against Iran or Syria, or new fishing quotas: almost all political spheres today have a European dimension on which decisions are made in Brussels.
At the same time, we maintain an intensive dialogue with our 26 EU partners, especially our immediate neighbours, on all key foreign, security and European policy issues. This dialogue is also intended to facilitate cross-border and regional cooperation, promote trade and investment, as well as enhance youth and student exchanges. After all, our EU partners account for 60 per cent of Germany’s external trade, thus making a considerable contribution towards our prosperity.
The European Directorate-General is the hub for cultivating Germany’s bilateral relations with all other EU member states. Moreover, it is in charge of the Federal Foreign Office’s overall coordination of the German Government’s policy on Europe. Even though responsibility lies in the first instance with line ministries in individual policy areas such as economic and financial matters, transport, the environment, as well as justice and home affairs, they coordinate their policies on all key European issues with the Federal Foreign Office. This is the only way to ensure a reliable and predictable German policy on Europe for our partners and, at the same time, to make it possible to effectively safeguard German interests.
The European Directorate-General at the Federal Foreign Office not only ensures the overall coherence of Germany’s policy on Europe but is also responsible for substance in key areas of policy. These include issues affecting the EU institutions, for instance fundamental and legal matters (for example, the Lisbon Treaty or the status of the German language), the EU’s spending policy (the Multiannual Financial Framework), relations with the European Parliament, matters relating to the enlargement of the EU and its external relations (such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and sanctions policy), as well as regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea and Danube regions.
The European Directorate-General is responsible for the preparation of the General Affairs Council at Foreign Minister/Minister for Europe level, which in turn prepares the European Council, that is to say meetings of the Heads of State and Government of the member states, where decisions are made on the European Union’s general political objectives and priorities. Furthermore, the substantive aspects of trips by the Minister, the Federal President and the Federal Chancellor to our EU partner countries are prepared by the European Directorate-General, as are the numerous visits by European Heads of State and Government as well as Foreign Ministers to Germany.
At present, the European Directorate-General is headed by Michael Clauß. It consists of eleven divisions and the Task Force EU Treaty of Lisbon 2009. Furthermore, it is playing a prominent role in the task force preparing the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, with which the foundations for the Franco-German partnership were laid in 1963.
Last updated 25.01.2013