The Federal Foreign Office’s European Directorate-General focuses on issues concerning the EU and the advancement of the European idea. A key part of its work is strengthening cohesion in Europe by promoting European solutions and close bilateral cooperation with the EU member states. The Directorate-General is in charge of the Federal Foreign Office’s overall coordination of the German Government’s policy on Europe.
The Federal Foreign Office’s European Directorate-General was established in 1993. The European Directorate-General deals with strategic considerations regarding the future of the European Union as an integration project and with key priorities such as deepening economic and monetary union, continuing to enhance the common area of freedom, security and justice, and strengthening the EU as a shaping force in an increasingly globalised world. The future of the EU as an integration project and its migration policy are further focuses. Brexit is also among the European Directorate-General’s current tasks. The United Kingdom Task Force, which coordinates the German Government’s work surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU, was established within the European Directorate-General. The Directorate-General is also responsible for negotiations on the multiannual financial framework, i.e. for the EU’s spending policy.
Devising, shaping and coordinating Germany’s policy on Europe
The European Directorate-General plays a leading role in devising, shaping and coordinating the German Government’s policy on Europe. Effective coordination 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, together with the Directorate-General for European Policy of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, therefore coordinates instructions for the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) in Brussels, which prepares the meetings of the Council. The European Directorate-General is, in particular, responsible for preparing the General Affairs Council at the level of Foreign Ministers and Ministers for Europe, as well as the European Council of Heads of State and Government.
The European Directorate-General liaises closely with other units of the Federal Foreign Office and other Federal Ministries in order to formulate and coordinate German interests and to advocate them either within the framework of the EU or bilaterally.
The various divisions within the European Directorate-General are responsible for basic issues, community policy and coordinating EU commissioners in Germany and abroad. This includes EU internal affairs such as EU spending policy, as well as fundamental issues of EU external relations (enlargement and neighbourhood policies); relations with the European Parliament and the EU’s human resources and language policy are also part of their remit.
Bilateral exchange and regional cooperation
The country divisions coordinate intra-European cooperation, bilateral exchanges and regional cooperation, for instance in the Baltic and Danube region. They cultivate and shape bilateral relations with the other 27 EU member states. The objective of the European Directorate-General’s work is to expand and maintain the excellent intra-European relations. We entertain an intensive dialogue with our EU partners, especially our immediate neighbours, on key foreign, security and European policy issues. This dialogue is also intended to facilitate cross-border and regional cooperation, economic exchange and investment, as well as to support exchanges at the level of civil society and enhance youth and student exchanges.
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