The building of the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin

Federal Foreign Office, © photothek.net

01.08.2023 - Article

The Foreign Office is headed by Annalena Baerbock, the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. She is assisted by three Ministers of State and three State Secretaries.

Minister, Ministers of State, State Secretaries

The Federal Foreign Office is headed by Annalena Baerbock, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. Next in line are the Ministers of State, Anna Lührmann, Tobias Lindner and Katja Keul as well as the State Secretaries Susanne Baumann, Jennifer Lee Morgan and Thomas Bagger.

The Ministers of State support the Federal Foreign Minister in the performance of her 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. The State Secretaries direct the assigned spheres in headquarters and monitor Germany’s missions abroad. Every day, there is a Directors’ meeting under the chair of a State Secretary with all the Director-Generals of the Federal Foreign Office to discuss current global developments as well as the conclusions to be drawn.

Political Staff

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 her 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 is the contact point for journalists for all questions concerning the Federal Foreign Office. The management team, comprising a spokesperson and two deputies, represents the Federal Foreign Office in the Federal Press Conference and accompanies the Foreign Minister to all foreign policy appointments. With user-friendly up-to-date communication via social media, the Press Division provides information on the aims and focus of German foreign policy. The Division also constantly monitors the news for the Ministry and its leadership, providing summaries of the media landscape at home. Key tasks also include preparing and holding press conferences, background talks, interviews and photo calls.

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.

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