Minister, Ministers of State, State Secretaries
The Federal Foreign Office is headed by Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. Next in line are the two Ministers of State, Maria Böhmer and Michael Roth, as well as the State Secretaries Walter J. Lindner and Rainer Sontowski.
The Ministers of State support the Federal Foreign Minister in the performance of his official duties, assuming mainly political functions.
As the highest-ranking civil servants, the State Secretaries represent the Minister at the helm of the Foreign Service as a whole. They direct the spheres assigned to them in headquarters and monitor Germany’s missions abroad. Every day, there is a Directors’ meeting under the chair of the State Secretaries with all the Director-Generals of the Federal Foreign Office to discuss current global developments as well as the conclusions to be drawn.
The Political Staff of the Federal Foreign Office is directly responsible to the Federal Minister. It is split into three divisions.
The Office of the Minister lends organizational assistance to the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in carrying out his tasks.
The Parliament and Cabinet Division maintains contact between the Federal Foreign Office and Parliament and does the preparatory work for Cabinet meetings. Parliamentary work includes contacts with the parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag, preparation of plenary meetings on foreign and European policy issues, preparing and carrying out meetings of the Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, as well as the Bundesrat Committees on Foreign Affairs and European Union Affairs. Further tasks include answering parliamentary inquiries, preparing and implementing trips by Members of the German Bundestag to foreign countries and fostering international parliamentary contacts in collaboration with the administration of the Bundestag and of the Bundesrat.
The Press Division constantly monitors the news and press at home and is the first port of call for the print media, radio and television, as well as other opinion-making organs accredited in the Federal Republic of Germany for all questions regarding the whole spectrum of Federal Foreign Office work. The Press Division informs the top echelon and the individual divisions on the news and press at home. It helps prepare and carry out press conferences, background talks, interviews and photo calls. The Federal Foreign Office Spokesman represents the Ministry at Federal Press Conferences and accompanies the Federal Foreign Minister to all foreign policy appointments.
Policy Planning Staff
The Policy Planning Staff of the Federal Foreign Office analyses medium and long-term foreign policy developments, and prepares political policies and strategies, both with regard to content and communication. To this end, it works closely with academic institutes, foundations, political consultancy institutions and policy planning staffs at home and abroad. Moreover, the Policy Planning Staff monitors the work done by research institutes funded by the Federal Foreign Office. It also hires experts from academia and business for specific projects.
The Policy Planning Staff was established as a top-level unit of the Federal Foreign Office in 1963. It is accountable to the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs.