Shaping multilateralism: Ambassadors Conference in Berlin

Ambassadors Conference 2019: shaping multilateralism

Ambassadors Conference 2019: shaping multilateralism, © Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

26.08.2019 - Article

How can international cooperation be shaped? What role does Germany play in this regard? German Ambassadors will discuss these questions in Berlin from 26 to 29 August.

How can the conflicts in Syria and in eastern Ukraine be resolved? How can climate change be slowed down? And how can Germany assume international responsibility, whether as a member of the UN Security Council from 2019 to 2020 or within the framework of its EU Council Presidency in 2020?

“Never alone” – working together for a strong world order

Foreign Minister Maas opening the 17th Ambassadors Conference
Foreign Minister Maas opening the 17th Ambassadors Conference© Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

The principle of “never alone” applies to all of these questions, a fact that Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised at the opening of the Ambassadors Conference. The focus of this year’s conference is on “shaping multilateralism”. In other words, this is about how international problems can be solved together through cooperation and what role Germany can play in shaping the world order.

Maas emphasised that this objective could not be achieved alone:

“Never alone” – Germany has been guided by this maxim ever since the Basic Law was enacted. What is more, “never alone” is nothing more than an expression of pure reason. After all, our economy depends on free trade. Our knowledge-based society needs exchange and connections. Our security relies on strong partnerships.

The power of compromise

At the opening of the Conference, Maas said that what was currently growing were the extremes, the radical fringes on both sides of the political spectrum. At the same time, he added, scepticism about multilateralism and international cooperation was spreading in many international forums and regions of the world. Diplomacy, on the other hand, thrived on nuances and the capacity to find the middle ground. “Germany’s place is in the middle ground, the space between the extremes.” Germany’s strength was primarily based on one thing, namely the power of compromise, he went on.

An alliance for multilateralism

The heads of Germany’s missions abroad
The heads of Germany’s missions abroad© Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

International cooperation is not always easy, which is why it is clear that Germany needs partners. The aim is to forge ahead with like-minded countries and to find common solutions to political conflicts, migration, globalisation, the digital transformation and climate change. Moving forward together with countries that want to maintain a balanced international order is also the idea behind the alliance for multilateralism, which Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Heiko Maas established last year.

This year’s Ambassadors Conference focuses on how international cooperation can be shaped. For the 17th time, the heads of more than 220 German missions abroad around the world are meeting for four days in Berlin. Foreign Minister Maas opened the Conference together with Andreas Voßkuhle, President of the Federal Constitutional Court. Workshops and discussions are on the agenda, while tomorrow, Tuesday, the focus will be on the dialogue between diplomacy and business. European Commissioner for Competition Margarethe Vestager will attend the Business Forum as a guest of honour.


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