(1) Hope at the Horn of Africa
Ethiopia and Eritrea were mortal enemies for decades. Millions of people fled as a result of the fierce conflict and repeated outbreaks of fighting. But in 2018, something very unexpected happened – the two countries signed a peace treaty. Hand in hand, the two heads of government called for reconciliation on both sides in front of an audience of tens of thousands. Germany is supporting the two countries on their path to lasting peace.
(2) Solutions instead of populism – the UN Compact for Migration
Despite deliberate disinformation and a large-scale campaign by nationalists, the vast majority of countries adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. In doing so, the international community sent a strong message. Migration is a phenomenon that affects the whole world and has many causes. Nationalist slogans are not the answer. Lasting solutions can only be found if countries work together at the international level. The most important questions and answers on this topic are available here.
(3) Our aid is reaching those in need, for example in Iraq
The terror militia IS has left millions of internally displaced and traumatised people, an infrastructure in ruins and a shattered economy in its wake in Iraq. Germany is helping the country in order to ensure that a new crisis does not arise as a matter of course.
The German Government has invested over 1.5 billion euros in food, drinking water, clothes, mine clearance and education with the aim of improving the chances of a peaceful future in Iraq. And this approach is bearing fruit – more than four million internally displaced persons have been able to return to their homes.
(4) Overcoming rifts – Colombia is inspiring the world
For over 50 years, Colombia was shattered by a brutal conflict that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced millions until an historic peace agreement heralded a new era two years ago. All over the world, people admire the courage Colombians have been demonstrating since then in their efforts to overcome the deep rifts in the country. Germany actively supports the peace process, for example through mine clearance and integration projects for displaced persons.
(5) Record amount of donations to the Central Emergency Response Fund
In 2018, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) received more support than ever before (over 550 million dollars) to provide rapid help to people in emergency situations. A large part of this support came from Germany, with the German Government providing 95 million euros.
(6) The EU and Japan – openness rather than isolationism pays off
Prosperity is not created by borders and customs duties, but rather by exchange and free trade. The European Union and Japan are showing how this is done. In 2019, the world’s largest free trade zone will come into effect between the two economic areas. Both economies will benefit greatly as a result. However, this could be just the start. There is a good chance that the EU will also reach consensus with the Latin American alliance MERCOSUR in 2019. The resulting free trade zone would be far larger than that between the EU and Japan, as would the opportunities for Europe’s economy.
(7) A milestone for climate protection in Katowice
Many small steps are often needed in diplomacy in order to overcome major challenges. One example is the fight against global warming. The UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice in 2018 was an important milestone. Representatives of over 190 countries agreed on a joint set of rules, which lay down how countries will implement the Paris Climate Agreement in the future.
(8) Emerging stronger from a crisis – 20th anniversary of the euro
The single currency was launched as a virtual currency in 1999. Three years later, the first banknotes and coins came into circulation. As regards inflation, the euro has proved far more stable than Germany’s previous currency, the Deutschmark. Keeping the currency shared by 19 countries on an even keel has repeatedly posed huge challenges. In the meantime, the single currency is a firm part of European identity. Living and working in other EU countries is a normality. The euro has become the symbol of the European idea for entire generations.