His first trip abroad made a special point: With his first official visit taking him to Paris, Foreign Minister Gabriel clearly demonstrated why the friendship between Germany and France is absolutely essential.
It was not an ordinary trip. The first official visit of a Foreign Minister’s term of office carries special significance. After assuming office on Friday (27 January), Foreign Minister Gabriel departed early this morning (28 January) on a visit to Germany’s most important partner. In Paris, he was received by his French counterpart Jean‑Marc Ayrault. The two Ministers discussed the most pressing foreign policy challenges.
Providing encouragement and ideas for Europe
The meeting focused on the future of Europe. “Together, France and Germany have always driven European integration – by providing impetus, courage and ideas – and that is the role they must assume right now,” Gabriel said. He and his French colleague were in agreement that, for Europe to be strong, Europe’s citizens must be shown how invaluable EU integration is, and what great opportunites this can hold. “There is still no region in the world in which people can live with as much freedom, democracy and security as they can in Europe,” Gabriel said.
Franco‑German teams to focus on key future issues
The close friendship and partnership between Germany and France extends far beyond European issues. Whether it be dangerous crises, global challenges or the future of the EU: Germany and France can achieve more together than by acting alone. That is why Gabriel and Ayrault agreed to establish Franco‑German teams comprising staff from both foreign ministries that will examine all important issues, such as the future of transatlantic relations. “It is important that, both on substance and publicly, Germany and France demonstrate they have common positions on nearly all issues.”
Less than 24 hours after assuming office, Foreign Minister Gabriel’s first official visit made clear that Franco‑German friendship remains the bedrock of Germany’s foreign policy.