Solidarity in difficult times
Maas underlined in Oxford that the UK’s decision to withdraw from the European Union was regrettable for both sides. However, this was now reality, and it was important to adapt to it as far as possible. Maas and Johnson therefore agreed to draw up a joint declaration on a strategic partnership in foreign policy. In the recent case of the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in the UK, it had become clear how important international solidarity is in difficult times, Maas said.
Western community of shared values
Even after Brexit, Germany and the UK will retain close ties in the western community of shared values and stand together. This partnership is also expressed in the two countries’ membership of organisations such as NATO, the OSCE and the G7. Germany and the UK also share global policy interests such as upholding the Vienna nuclear agreement with Iran and combating climate change. Close coordination and a joint approach are also needed to resolve the crises and conflicts at Europe’s borders, such as those in Syria and eastern Ukraine.
Opening of the Königswinter Conference
The German UK partnership goes far beyond cooperation at governmental level. The Königswinter Conference – one of the most long standing and renowned forums for the exchange of Germany UK views – is a shining example of the close ties between the two countries’ civil societies. The conference is organised by the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft and receives funding from the Federal Foreign Office. Foreign Minister Maas gave the opening speech at the conference, which is addressing the topic “Brexit: leaving old certainties – defining the road ahead for UK German relations” this year.