Germany and Spain: Bilateral relations

01.03.2024 - Article

Spain is an important bilateral and multilateral partner for Germany, and there is a broad overlap in the convictions and fundamental values underlying the two countries’ foreign policy. Relations between Germany and Spain are close and friendly. As of the end of 2023, 182,631 Spanish nationals were living in Germany (Federal Statistical Office) and 125,800 German nationals were living in Spain on a permanent basis (National Statistics Institute, Spain).

Political dialogue between the two countries is close and founded on mutual trust. During Spain’s Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2023, Federal Chancellor Scholz and many federal ministers travelled to Spain. Before the country assumed the Presidency, Foreign Minister Albares visited Berlin in April 2023. King Felipe VI paid a state visit to Germany in October 2022. Alongside high‑level visits, senior officials meet regularly for consultations. At the last intergovernmental consultations in October 2022, they endorsed the German-Spanish Action Plan for greater bilateral and EU cooperation.

In 2023, the bilateral volume of trade was around 91.8 billion euro. Spain ranked 11 as a source of imports to Germany (38.6 billion euro) and as the destination for German exports (53.1 billion euro) (Federal Statistical Office figures). Germany was the most important supplier of imports for Spain and the second-largest export market (Spanish Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business) with more than 1800 German companies accounting for over 200,000 jobs in Spain (thus indirectly supporting around half a million jobs). The German Chamber of Commerce Abroad, Germany Trade & Invest and the German National Tourist Board all have a presence in Spain. In 2023, 10.8 million German tourists visited Spain making Germans the third-largest group of visitors after those from Britain and France (INE).

Spain was the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2022. The Goethe-Institut promotes cultural exchange from its offices in Madrid and Barcelona. Spain currently has 26 schools in the Schools: Partners for the Future programme, a worldwide network funded by the Federal Foreign Office, including nine German schools abroad. The German Academic Exchange Service, the German Archaeological Institute and four of the German political foundations (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung) also have offices in Spain.

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