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Maas and the Nordic countries – strengthening multilateralism together

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met his Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian counterparts to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin. He brought a cherry tree as a gift.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met his Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian counterparts to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin. He brought a cherry tree as a gift., © Thomas Koehler/photothek.net

17.10.2019 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met his Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian counterparts at the 20th anniversary of the Nordic Embassies in Berlin.

Five countries are represented under one roof at the Nordic Embassies – something that is unique to Berlin. The embassies were inaugurated 20 years ago, and Foreign Minister Maas met his counterparts today to celebrate the anniversary and to discuss shared priorities such as strengthening multilateralism. Maas said:

This building is a symbol of multilateralism. Our cooperation gives me great hope. We need to tackle challenges together.

Brexit – hopeful signs from Brussels

The agreement reached today between the European Commission and the UK Government was also a major topic at the press conference. Maas sees ground for hope that an orderly Brexit will now occur after all.

A no-deal Brexit would have major disadvantages for people in the EU and the UK. The agreement is the outcome of compromises on both sides. I would like to thank Michel Barnier and his team in particular. He will truly have pulled off a diplomatic feat if an orderly Brexit can be achieved on the basis of this agreement. We are now looking in great detail at the legal texts we have received.

Maas expressed great relief that agreement had now been reached between the negotiating teams.

Even closer coordination on key issues

In addition to celebrating the anniversary and holding political talks, Maas met the Finnish and Swedish Foreign Ministers for bilateral discussions. Maas and his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde announced a new German-Swedish work programme called “The Like-minded Initiative”, through which the two countries aim to coordinate their work on key international issues even more closely. Both countries share foreign-policy priorities, including civil crisis management, arms control and disarmament, and the increasingly important topic of climate and security. Furthermore, both countries want to see progress on the implementation of UN Resolution 1325 in order to protect women from gender-based violence and to enhance their role in peace talks and reconstruction. The close coordination with the Nordic countries shows that strong partners share the goal of boosting multilateralism.

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