As the new year begins, the G7 Foreign Ministers’ baton passes to Japan
Under the German Presidency in 2022, the G7 became a well-coordinated crisis management team, with many of its activities focussed on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, especially with a view to addressing the global consequences. Germany’s G7 Presidency ended on 31 December 2022, and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has thereby passed on the baton to her Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi. The first regular meeting of Foreign Ministers under the Japanese Presidency is set to be held in Japan in mid-April.
Together with our partners, we will keep up our strong support for Ukraine as it deals with Russia’s war of aggression.
Almost on a daily basis, new horrible images reach us from Ukraine: power plants, community heating facilities and apartment buildings are going up in flames. Russia is specifically targeting civilian infrastructure with its bombing campaigns and is thereby seeking to deny Ukrainians the basic necessities of daily life during the winter season. To make sure these plans to lay waste to the Ukrainian state are not fulfilled, the German Government is currently providing critical aid to Ukraine in the form of a winter relief package.
As we enter the new year, Germany will continue to stand by Ukraine as it defends itself against the Russian invasion. An overview of Germany’s non-military assistance for Ukraine is available here. An overview of military support is available here.
In 2023, Europe will continue to deepen the Union
As Europe heads into 2023, we will remain on track to building a strong European Union that is capable of action. This is also the key objective of the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which begins on 1 January. The energy supply sector is only one example: by expanding the use of renewable energy sources in Europe, we will make ourselves less dependent on the import of fossil fuels. Through the Council of the Baltic Sea States, for which Germany holds the Presidency until the middle of the year, we will among other things work to enhance cooperation among the countries of the Baltic region, by promoting the expansion of offshore wind turbines in order to better harness blue energy in the North and Baltic Seas.
Europe in your wallet and day-to-day life: Croatia adopts the euro and fully joins the Schengen area
While Croatia has been an EU member since July 2013, as of 1 January 2023, its membership is being enhanced when it comes to people’s everyday lives: the euro will now be the official currency of Croatia, making it the 20th member of the euro area. Also, as of 1 January, passport checks will end at the country’s sea and land borders with the other countries in the Schengen area. For air travellers, passport and ID checks will no longer be conducted as of 26 March. The change will coincide with the switch from the winter to the summer schedule of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This will create true freedom of travel by eliminating long waits at the borders.