I am delighted that we decided in the Federal Cabinet to appoint Robin Wagener to coordinate intersocietal cooperation and networking with the countries of the Southern Caucasus, Central Asia and the Republic of Moldova on behalf of the Federal Government.
As Head of the German parliamentary delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, he is even now very close to the organisation that brings all these countries together. With his many years of engagement at the heart of German civil society, he knows exactly what he is talking about. He will work with competence and drive to strengthen interpersonal encounters and with resolve to build bridges especially where the political situation is difficult.
We want to reach out to these countries with their wealth of diversity. They are not Russia’s backyard, in fact they are home to millions of different histories and traditions, to upheaval and conflict, to ambition and concern, to hope for a future in freedom, independence and prosperity.
For millions of people in these countries, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine turned what were elementary certainties upside down. Especially at this time, cooperation between societies is more important than ever.
People in Russia and Belarus are confronted with oppression and persecution at the hands of those in power. Bridges to the outside are being cut off and dialogue hampered. Trips are almost inconceivable. Robin Wagener will thus work as the central point of contact within the Federal Government to nurture contacts with exiled Belarusian and Russian civil society which is democratic and critical of the government.
Robin Wagener issued the following statement (8 February 2023):
I am very much looking forward to my new tasks as Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with the Southern Caucasus, the Republic of Moldova and Central Asia and as the point of contact for Russian and Belarusian civil society in exile.
Democratic civil societies are of immense importance in these countries. They are the backbone and guarantor of values-led action. After all, foreign policy is not just about diplomacy between governments but also about seeing the people outside government buildings.
As I perform this task, it will be a matter of course for me to stand by those who are working relentlessly and with all their strength in so many different and impressive ways to promote democracy, freedom and peaceful coexistence.
Supporting democrats in our European neighbourhood is in our own best interest.
Foreign Minister Baerbock has decided to appoint a Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with the Southern Caucasus, the Republic of Moldova and Central Asia in the Federal Foreign Office. Robin Wagener, Member of the German Bundestag, will take office as Coordinator on 1 March 2023 as decided today (8 February) by the Federal Cabinet.
He will focus on supporting and promoting cooperation between various social stakeholders in Germany and the societies in these countries. These include government agencies and institutions, non-governmental organisations and associations, representatives of science and research, culture, education and religion.