Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Brussels, 09/12/2021

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Dear Foreign Minister, liebe Annalena, first of all: „Herzlich willkommen in Bruessel und herzlichen Glueckwunsch to your appointment!“

It is a great pleasure to welcome you here – just one day after you took office.  This visit to Brussels is highly symbolic – immediately after you took office. It shows the importance you and the German government attach to the European Union and to European foreign and security policy. I personally really appreciate that. Thank you.

In our meeting, you explained your priorities and the absolutely pro-European foreign policy plan of the German government. I was very much pleased to hear about the ambition to strengthen the European Union’s external action and promote European Union values and interests more assertively. It is certainly very much needed.

We share a clear priority – to increase our strategic sovereignty and capacity to act, as it is stated in the Coalition Agreement. I am keen, liebe Annalena, to work together in the coming years to jointly strengthen the European Union’s external action and promoting European Union values and interests, for the European Union to become a more credible global actor.

During our discussion you reassured me that Germany’s diplomacy, led by you, will continue its strong European engagement and dedication, looking for joint European solutions and building bridges whenever necessary – to foster European unity on our foreign policy.

The threats and challenges we are facing make it more urgent than ever to shift gear, to set new concrete goals and objectives. In the coming weeks and months – maybe months -, we will be discussing shaping and finalising the Strategic Compass, this is maybe the first endeavour that we are going to face together. This Compass will define the security and defence objectives for the next years for the European Union.  We also discussed other key policy issues that need a continued strong engagement of Germany.

This includes the global crises, I am very happy to know that you will be the German representative for Climate. This global issue is going to be discussed at the highest level next year in many diplomatic fora. It is a good signal that Foreign Minister is at the same time the international representative for climate.

Closer to us, we have been discussing about the military build-up of Russia on the border with Ukraine. Let me use this opportunity to once again reaffirm the European Union’s unequivocal commitment to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We stand ready to use all tools at our disposal and are looking at ways to enhance Ukraine’s resilience.

We discussed China, climate diplomacy, pressing foreign policy issues like Iran, Belarus, Western Balkans, in order to see how we can promote our values and interests and how we can defend them.

Liebe Annalena, this is just the beginning of our conversation and close cooperation.

After this meeting, we will be also together tomorrow, at the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Liverpool, and on Monday again here in Brussels for the regular Foreign Affairs Council – it will be your first Foreign Affairs Council. I am sure that you will enjoy it – here the agenda is packed with challenging foreign policy topics.

To conclude, let me wish you success and joy as much as possible in this job – well, it is not a job that brings a lot of joy, but a lot of […] interest – for the benefit of the German people and for the benefit of all Europeans.

I had a very good relationship with your predecessor, my friend Heiko Mass. And [I want to] thank him for all his efforts and work together. I wish him the best in his new endeavours. And to you, most especially, I wish you the biggest success in your new very much strong endeavour as Foreign Affairs Minister of Germany.

Thank you very much.

Link to the video:  https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-215492

Source – EEAS

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