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Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to pay first official visit

14.03.2018 - Press release

 Before departing for his first official visit to Paris, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today (14 March) issued the following statement:

Straight after the handover ceremony today, I will be leaving for Paris to meet my French colleague, Yves Le Drian. This shows just how important our intensive cooperation with France is for us in Germany. France is our closest bilateral friend and partner. Coming from the Saarland, I well know the positive experiences and close ties beyond the confines of “high politics” that this relationship brings in practice for the people of our two countries. Nowadays, the shared border links people far more than it divides them. That is why we are working on a new Élysée Treaty designed to make the dense mesh of friendship and trust which has built up over decades even stronger.

We have achieved a lot in Europe when it comes to developing the common foreign and security policy, strengthening the single currency, protecting our common external borders and combating terrorism.

However, Germany and France must together ensure that, with all EU Member States on board, we find responses to the urgent challenges facing the Union in the next few years. This applies to external challenges: the EU needs to find answers to issues ranging from climate policy to the conflicts on our borders. But it also applies to internal challenges. Within the EU, we are working on the financial framework for the upcoming years, on safeguarding the fundamental value that is the rule of law, and on other reforms regarding which France has presented important proposals and which we must now tackle quickly. 

I am profoundly convinced that Europe needs the Franco German dynamism in these endeavours. Our cooperation generates a creative energy for Europe when we are looking for joint solutions.

Background

Straight after the handover ceremony at the Federal Foreign Office today (Wednesday, 14 March), Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will be leaving for Paris for his first official meeting with French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian. The talks will focus on bilateral and European questions as well as on the brutal conflict in Syria, the conflict in eastern Ukraine and other international issues.

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