German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier received his counterparts from the G7 countries and the EU High Representative in the Hanseatic City of Lübeck on 14 April. The two‑day Foreign Ministers Meeting is taking place under the auspices of Germany’s G7 Presidency.
Ceremonial opening at the City Hall
The spring meeting of the G7 Foreign Ministers was officially opened on Tuesday evening (14 April) when the guests were received at the historic City Hall of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck. There, Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomed his counterparts from Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan, as well as the EU High Representative. Secretary of State Kerry from the USA is to arrive on Wednesday morning.
With its connections all around the globe, the Hanseatic City has always been a symbol of open‑mindedness and, as the home of three Nobel laureates, is famous far beyond Europe’s borders. Foreign Minister Steinmeier said that Lübeck was “the right place” for this meeting:
When we consider the history of this city and this region, then we can say that it has always been a hub of globalisation. Trade and entrepreneurial spirit transformation across linguistic and national borders was part of everyday life.
The G7 delegations – which actually number eight
The European Union High Representative is also part of the G7 Foreign Ministers format, and that is why in fact eight delegations are convening under the chairmanship of Germany’s Foreign Minister Steinmeier.
- France: Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister
- Great Britain: Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary
- Italy: Paolo Gentiloni, Foreign Minister
- Japan: Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister
- Canada: Robert Nicholson, Foreign Minister
- The United States: John Kerry, Secretary of State
- EU: Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy
Focus on current foreign policy crises
The G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting is taking place in unsettled times. There have rarely been as many concurrent crises to overcome as there are today. They include above all the Ukraine conflict, the difficult situation in many countries in the Middle East, and the fight against terrorism all over the world.
Combating the Ebola epidemic, maritime security and the effects of climate change also pose significant challenges to policy makers. Close foreign and security policy coordination among the seven most significant industrial nations is more important than ever – especially for Germany.
At the beginning of the meeting, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said:
As always, the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting is devoted to the following key question: How can we achieve peace in this world? What can we do to, at the very least, make crisis situations and conflicts less dangerous?
This is what the heads of delegation would be discussing on Tuesday and Wednesday, said the German Foreign Minister.
Thanking the citizens of Lübeck
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his particular thanks to the citizens of Lübeck for hosting the G7 meeting. While he was aware of the fact that the meeting meant that “the city had to shoulder a number of burdens”, he added that “we need these kinds of meetings, which is why we are at pains to sensitise the citizens to this fact”.
During the brief encounters with residents close to the event venues that the Foreign Minister was able to fit into his schedule, Steinmeier spoke to people who were waiting, for example about foreign policy changes in recent decades.
Remembering Günter Grass and discussion with young people
Before the start of the official programme of the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting on 14 April, Foreign Minister Steinmeier and EU High Representative Mogherini signed the book of condolences for the German Nobel Prize laureate Günter Grass, who died on 13 April, on Tuesday afternoon.
Mogherini and Steinmeier then fielded questions from around 120 young people. An hour‑long panel discussion on current foreign policy topics with the title 'WARM UP - We are discussing foreign policy in Lübeck!' (#G7WarmUp), organised in cooperation with the Willy Brandt Foundation and the Willy Brandt House Lübeck, was also on the programme.
Beforehand, Steinmeier and Mogherini – guided by school children – visited the Willy Brandt House, where the Nobel Peace Prize Diploma of the native Lübecker is also kept.
During the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting, you can follow us on Twitter @AuswaertigesAmt as well as @GermanyDiplo: #G7Luebeck.
To read more on the German Presidency of the G7, go to: www.g7germany.de