Transatlantic relations – cornerstone of German foreign policy


Alongside European integration, the transatlantic partnership is the most important pillar of German foreign policy. The United States is Germany’s closest ally outside Europe.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco© dpa / picture-alliance
Transatlantic relations are shaped not only by common values and a shared history but also by common interests as well as close societal, political and economic links.

German foreign policy aims to gear transatlantic relations to the agenda of the future. That will require close mutual trust between the United States and a Europe that is confident of its own abilities and sees itself not as a counterweight but as a partner.

Partners in addressing global challenges

The challenges facing the international community are immense – from armed conflicts, failing states, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to issues relating to the stability of the global economic system, poverty, epidemics, shortage of resources and the impact of climate change.

No country can come to grips with such challenges on its own. It is only by joining forces that the transatlantic partners can muster the necessary political, economic and military clout to tackle global challenges and help shape the world of the future.

One of Germany’s foreign policy goals is therefore to further intensify transatlantic dialogue and deepen concrete cooperation. We are expanding the transatlantic agenda to include – beyond traditionally prominent areas such as disarmament and economic cooperation – important topics for the future such as climate protection, energy security and cyber security. In these and other areas that directly impact on people on both sides of the Atlantic, we plan to systematically promote closer transatlantic exchange and collaboration.

Europe and the United States broadly agree both in their assessment of core threats and challenges and in their definition of fundamental policy goals – the advancement of peace, stability and security as well as democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the market economy.

As in every partnership, however, views may on occasions differ as to the priorities in dealing with the threats and challenges we face as well as what means and instruments should be employed. This makes it even more crucial to foster intensive transatlantic debate, including on contentious issues.

Close societal ties

The Capitol in Washington
Das Kapitol in Washington© picture alliance / dpa

How close transatlantic relations are is clear also from the multitude of societal and cultural contacts between Germany and the United States. There is a long tradition of exchange programmes for pupils and students, researchers and sportsmen and sportswomen.

For 60 years now US soldiers and their families have brought the American way of life to Germany and tend also to take back with them a positive image of our country. Germany’s close contacts with American Jewish organizations likewise help build mutual understanding and trust.

EU-US relations

The EU and the US enjoy close ties. At government level regular consultations take place. At societal level contact and dialogue are promoted by a wide range of individuals, groups and associations. The US and the EU are also the two most closely linked economic regions in the world.

Relations between the EU and the United States

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