The United States and Canada are Germany’s closest allies outside Europe. Large areas of common interests, shared challenges and fundamental values form a bond between our democracies on both sides of the Atlantic. The post of Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation was therefore created at the Federal Foreign Office in 1981. Peter Beyer has held this post since 11 April 2018.
His official title is Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation in the Field of Intersocietal Relations, Cultural and Information Policy. Peter Beyer, who studied in the United States and served as rapporteur for the US in the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the German Bundestag, thus deals with a wide range of issues.
He issued the following statement on 11 April 2021 to mark the third anniversary of his appointment by the Federal Cabinet:
Transatlantic relations are again developing in the right direction. I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue playing an active role in shaping this key sphere of German foreign policy, both at the Federal Foreign Office and as a parliamentarian. Since my election to the German Bundestag in 2009, transatlantic relations have been the focus of my parliamentary work in the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Alongside European integration, relations with the United States and Canada form the central pillar of our foreign relations. The United States is our most important security and trading partner outside Europe, a partner with whom we share values. The North Atlantic Alliance will continue to be a strong partnership and play a decisive role with respect to our security and our prosperity. However, our democracies are facing challenges, both from within and at international level, as a result of similar developments. It is therefore crucial to underscore time and again the shared basis of our relations and to consolidate and extend our cooperation. Civil-society dialogue has a particularly important role to play in this regard. To my mind, one of my central tasks is to promote this dialogue and act as a bridge-builder between the partners.
I am keenly aware here of the historic role of the United States, particularly for us in Germany. The United States, Canada and Germany are natural and strategic partners in many fields ranging from business and technological development to security, climate policy and human rights protection.
Building bridges between the partners
In view of the growing economic and political clout of China and other emerging economies, global security policy challenges and the efforts of various actors to undermine our peace-oriented and rules-based international order, it is essential to clearly emphasise the common basis of our relations time and again and to consolidate and expand our cooperation in a wide range of fields. Only joint projects have the potential to breathe life into the transatlantic partnership.
Especially today, civil-society dialogue has a particularly important role to play in this regard. The Coordinator therefore supports networking between people in Germany and North America and seeks to build bridges between the partners.
The Coordinator’s work focuses, among other things, on cooperation in science and research, current social policy issues such as demographic trends and the impact of new media, as well as contacts to Jewish organisations.
The office of Coordinator of German-American Cooperation was created in 1981, initially in parallel in Germany and the United States. It was later renamed and expanded to include cooperation with Canada. On the German side, this post was previously occupied by former State Secretary Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, as well as former German Ambassador in Washington, DC and former State Secretary Bernd von Staden. It was also held by Prof. Werner Weidenfeld, a political scientist from Munich, Karsten D. Voigt, former Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, Hans‑Ulrich Klose, former Member of the German Bundestag, Philipp Mißfelder, who went on to become Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, and Jürgen Hardt, the current Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag and Peter Beyer’s immediate predecessor.