Speaking in the German Bundestag, Foreign Minister Maas committed to a more active global role for German and European foreign policy. The drastic changes in the global order made a more proactive European engagement in the world a matter of urgent necessity, said Maas during the budget debate on Wednesday (16 May). Fundamental principles of international law, free trade and multilateralism were at risk, he went on, adding: “Europe must close the divide which others are opening up.”
Germany involved in crucial negotiations
Crises like those in Syria and Ukraine or the conflict around the Iranian nuclear deal required strong involvement on the part of Germany, Maas stressed. Germany is now playing a vital part in the crucial negotiations around all three of these conflicts. For example, as a facilitator in the “Small Group”, it is helping to identify possibilities for a political settlement in Syria. In order to give fresh impetus to the Minsk peace process for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Maas suggested during his trip to Russia that talks in the Normandy format should be relaunched. The dialogue with Russia needed to produce more results in future, Maas said in the Bundestag.
Protecting Europe’s security interests
Germany is also playing a central role in the negotiations regarding the future of the Iran nuclear agreement. The non proliferation of nuclear weapons is in the Europeans’ immediate security interests. Germany would therefore do everything in its power to ensure that the deal stays in place, the Foreign Minister said. Together with the European signatories and the Iranian Foreign Minister, Maas had been in Brussels the day before for talks on the future of the nuclear deal.
“We will not look on and do nothing”
Germany’s readiness to take on more global responsibility is also reflected in its candidature for a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council. There, too, Germany would advocate for international cooperation and the preservation of a rules based order, said Maas, emphasising that: “We will not look on and do nothing while nationalists and populists try to turn back the clock. Now and in the future, a peaceful global order must be based not on the law of the strong, but on the strength of the law.”