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“Where the land ends and the sea begins” (Luis de Camões): Foreign Minister Baerbock travels to Portugal for her first official visit

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock with her portuguese counterpart João Gomes Cravinho

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock with her portuguese counterpart João Gomes Cravinho, © Kira Hofmann/photothek.de

03.01.2023 - Article

Portugal is a role model in many respects. With its pro-European attitude, its pioneering role in protecting our oceans and climate, as well as its state-of-the-art digital infrastructure, it demonstrates that it is at the extreme tip of Europe only in geographical terms.

Germany can learn a great deal from Portugal in this regard. Foreign Minister Baerbock said the following prior to departure:

Germany and Portugal are already working hand in hand on many issues. We are close partners – in the EU, in NATO and in the United Nations. And we want to join forces even more.

Pragmatic diplomacy for a strong Europe

The focus of the visit is on both bilateral cooperation and Europe’s stance in the world. Portugal’s close cultural ties to lusophone countries such as Mozambique, Angola and Brazil are an important bridge to this end. Foreign Minister Baerbock will bring along proposals for a “cooperation agenda 2023” with a view to jointly tackling important issues such as the digital transformation, climate and marine protection, as well as to further deepen European and foreign policy cooperation between Germany and Portugal.

With its ambitious climate and energy policy, Portugal is facing up to the reality of increasingly dry and hot summers. In addition, Portugal recognised early on the key role that the world’s oceans play for the climate and our food security. We want to learn from each other also in this area. - Annalena Baerbock

In times of global system rivalry and the return of war to Europe, few things are more important than close partnerships. Foreign Minister Baerbock will therefore also attend the Portuguese Ambassadors Conference during her visit. The Conference will provide an opportunity to engage in exchanges and discussions with Portugal’s diplomats.

“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire”

The story of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes shows how decisive the role of individual diplomats can be. During the Second World War, Mendes saved the lives of around 30,000 Jews in France who were fleeing the Nazis. He used his position as Portuguese Consul General in Bordeaux to grant entry visas for Portugal to the refugees – against the explicit instructions of his government. Foreign Minister Baerbock will pay tribute to this commitment to humanity when visiting Aristides de Sousa Mendes’ grave of honour and commemorating the victims of Nazi terror.

A Blue Generation for a green planet

The organisation Fundaçao Oceano Azul is committed to the protection of the oceans and has launched the Blue Generation programme. The programme aims to teach children between the ages of four and nine about the world’s oceans and to raise awareness about marine pollution – as part of the curriculum across the country. During her visit to Lisbon, Foreign Minister Baerbock will meet representatives of the organisation as well as teachers. She will be shown what is at stake if we do not protect the oceans during a subsequent tour of Lisbon’s famous Oceanarium. She will be accompanied by Federal Government Commissioner for the Ocean Sebastian Unger.

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