Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Michael Link today (25 June) flew to London together with State Secretaries Anne Ruth Herkes (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), Thomas Steffen (Federal Ministry of Finance), Ursula Heinen-Esser (Federal Ministry for the Environment) and Georg Schütte (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) for talks with their British counterparts.
The Federal Government’s State Secretaries Committee for European Affairs were returning the first visit to Berlin made by the British Government’s European Affairs Sub‑Committee led by David Lidington, the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Europe, on 28 November 2011.
After the meeting the Ministers of State issued the following joint statement:
“The United Kingdom and Germany are committed to cooperation in Europe on the basis of our shared objectives and interests. These joint discussions between our two European affairs committees are significant as a new initiative for both countries, and we are delighted to use this second meeting to build on the progress made during and since our first meeting last year in Berlin.
This initiative is led by our desire to strengthen bilateral relations and work together to build a prosperous and more resilient European Union.
Our discussion focused on the challenges and opportunities in the EU today:
- promoting growth through increased competition and better targeting of EU structural funds;
- completing the single market, particularly in the digital and service industries;
- generating employment;
- promoting free trade and research;
- reducing the regulatory burden, especially for small and medium enterprises;
- regulating financial markets;
- as well as global issues such as tackling climate change and encouraging sustainable development.
On this basis a joint work programme was endorsed.
Deepening relations between the UK and Germany can only be a positive step during these challenging economic times. We look forward to continuing and strengthening our cooperation at our third set of discussions, which we have agreed to hold in Berlin.”
The Federal Government’s State Secretaries Committee for European Affairs normally meets once a month to discuss and take decisions on major European policy issues. The chair is the Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office with responsibility for European affairs; the deputy chair is provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. With this second meeting of the two Governments’ European affairs committees, Germany and the United Kingdom are seeking to intensify their bilateral cooperation at this level on issues of European policy.