Foreign Minister Steinmeier met his counterparts from Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland at the annual meeting of German-speaking Foreign Ministers in Liechtenstein on Friday and Saturday (5 to 6 August 2016). This was the first meeting to be attended by Luxembourg. At the top of the agenda were the countries’ respective bilateral relations, as well as European and international challenges and joint projects.
First meeting attended by Luxembourg
Germany has been a regular participant of the meeting of German-speaking Foreign Ministers since 2012. The format of this year’s meeting was expanded to include Steinmeier’s counterpart from Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn. Alongside talks held by the Foreign Ministers, the two-day meeting featured a press conference and an encounter with young journalists.
Among other matters, the Foreign Ministers’ meeting addressed joint efforts to promote the German language abroad. These countries do not only have a language in common, however. They enjoy close political, economic and cultural ties and form a community of shared values, which means that they share many interests in the area of international affairs.
Opportunity for closer cooperation
Alongside efforts to promote their common language, this year’s meeting therefore honed in on a broad range of topics. In a joint declaration, the Foreign Ministers stated the following:
We are aware of the fact that we, at our meeting in Balzers this year, face varied and complex challenges for our societies, our neighbourly relations, a united Europe and the world as a whole. The citizens of our countries consider their security and hard-earned prosperity to be threatened by war, terrorism, radicalisation and international crime, as well as by their dramatic humanitarian impacts. They are calling on their countries’ political leadership to respond to their concerns and to forge new paths.
Together with his counterparts, Foreign Minister Steinmeier discussed joint efforts to tackle these numerous challenges. The Ministers expressed their commitment to solidarity and cohesion in Europe and reiterated their desire to continue to work to ensure transparent, inclusive and strong international institutions.
Work in the OSCE
An excellent example of the participants’ cooperation on key topics are their joint efforts to promote peace and security within the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which was chaired by Switzerland in 2014. The German Foreign Minister, the current Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, will pass the baton to his Austrian partners next year. The three countries’ great commitment is helping to strengthen this important organisation, which plays an important stabilising role in such areas as the conflict in Ukraine.