The 2020 budget – to tackle great challenges, we need cross-border solutions

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Bundestag debate on the 2020 Federal Foreign Office Budget

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the Bundestag debate on the 2020 Federal Foreign Office Budget, © dpa

11.09.2019 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas used his 2020 budget speech to lay out Germany’s priorities for the coming year. Next year’s draft Federal Foreign Office budget amounts to 5.7 billion euros, meaning that 1.59% of the Federal Government’s budget are allotted to foreign policy.

The Bundestag debate on the 2020 Federal Foreign Office budget was held on 11 September. The draft budget includes 5.738 billion euros for the Federal Foreign Office. That is slightly less than the previous year (5.825 billion euros). This represents 1.59% of the Federal Government budget.

In view of current global challenges, i.e. not only the recent return to great-power rivalry, but also economic globalisation, the digital revolution and the impact of climate change on peace and security, Foreign Minister Maas is convinced of the following:

Considering how all great challenges are no longer restrained by borders, they can only be tackled with cross-border solutions. The inability of the international community to act that we are witnessing in some cases can quickly lead to a loss of control at national level.

Against this background, Foreign Minister Maas laid out the priorities for German foreign policy in the coming year.


Often, to solve national problems, solutions must first be found for international problems. The point I want to make is that doing nothing is not an option.

Global challenges call for global responses. Cooperation with other countries will therefore remain the top priority of German foreign policy. One aspect of this is addressing international conflicts at an early stage:

If the Security Council wants to retain its importance, then we must make it more of a preventive Security Council. That is why the first order of business that Germany placed on the Council’s agenda – already in January – was the topic of climate and security.

Conflict resolution, stability and peace

The challenges that need to be met to maintain and create stability and peace are many and diverse. Germany is campaigning for preservation of the nuclear agreement with Iran, is actively seeking a solution to the conflict in Ukraine through the Normandy format, and supports diplomatic efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan.


In the second half of 2020, Germany will assume the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. By coordinating European policy, Germany will also be playing an important global policy role:

For this, we must have more common ground and greater cohesion. We need procedures to change. We need more majority decision-making in EU bodies.

Germany’s priorities in numbers

The political priorities are reflected in the draft budget. It contains 41.75 million euros in funding for Germany’s EU Council Presidency. An additional 10 million euros are to be made available for disarmament.
Tried and proven policies will receive further support: The draft budget contains an additional 10 million euros for scholarships to promote social dialogue. Germany’s cultural relations and education policy will remain just as important a foreign policy focus as humanitarian assistance, a sphere in which Germany is the world’s second-largest donor.


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