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Prospects for German Foreign Policy

The fact that public debate on questions of international politics in Germany is very low key is hardly a novel insight. To describe the situation succinctly: Current public discourse is not commensurate with the colossal challenges facing Germany and the EU in the international arena. For Germany as one of the world’s strongest export countries it must be of vital interest to be able to continue relying on secure sea routes, favourable international conditions and a strong Europe. But this also means we cannot ignore developments in the Middle East, in Africa as well as in Asia and in the Americas. What do developments in those regions mean for Germany and Europe? In what areas should German foreign politics become engaged more strongly – which topics should the German public be exposed to more intensely?

In some areas, we must be ready to step out of the “comfort zone” in which we have become ensconced. The world is changing and we must respond to the changes. For this reason, Germany needs a far more comprehensive strategic discussion on foreign policy issues.

With our series “Prospects for German Foreign Policy”, we would like to contribute to this debate. These papers combine foreign policy analysis with concrete suggestions for action on German policy. Enjoy the read.

You are also welcome to join the discussion!

Write to politikdialog@kas.de!

The Central Mediterranean Route
January 8th, 2016

The movement of refugees across the Mediterranean will remain at its current high level in the coming years. A military mission of the European Union will only marginally reduce people smuggling across the Mediterranean because it fails to address the demand for such smuggling. Any move to tackle the causes of refugee movements requires the strengthening of the weak states involved.

From Wales to Warsaw: A New Normal for NATO?
October 6th, 2015

The crises on NATO´s Eastern and Southern flank persist and have permanently changed the security environment in Europe.

The 2016 German OSCE Chairmanship - Urgent Need for Reform under Conditions of Russian Veto Power
June 2nd, 2015

A successful OSCE Chairmanship must not only strengthen trust in the organisation in Russia, but in all Eastern European states. Their concerns pertain to all three OSCE dimensions and require greater attention. The OSCE is not simply a platform for communication between the West and Russia alone.

Strategic Deliberations about the Future of German Security Policy
April 24th, 2015

More than a year on from the speech President Joachim Gauck made at the Munich Security Conference, the impact of his words is still being felt. In view of the crises in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East, his demand for greater German engagement in international security policy has evoked particular resonance. Both crises remain unresolved, and there is every reason to assume that Germany will be faced with further challenges over the coming months.

The German G7 Presidency (III) - Climate Policy: Develop Emissions Trading System. Advance the Transformation of the Energy System. Enhance Adaptability.
Oct. 17th, 2014

Featuring the global climate conference in Paris, 2015 will be a key year in the fight against climate change. One of the main aims of the G7 Summit should be to forge a consensus on climate change for a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol within the G7. To achieve the two-degree target, the focus must remain on the avoidance of emissions. For this purpose an effective emissions trading system should be developed. Moreover, the superior climate technologies in possession of the G7 nations should be capitalized on in the framework of technology, capacity and scientific partnerships.

The German G7 Presidency (II): Placing Emphasis on Economic Aspects to Further Development
Oct. 17, 2014

The foundation for the new development agenda for the post-2015 era must be based on a thorough examination of the results achieved to date in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals drawn up in 2001. Current discussions on the sustainable funding of development cooperation and the interaction between climate policy and development policy must also be taken into account. Only if the growth potentials in the developing and newly industrialised countries can be harnessed will it be possible to prevent greater development and security challenges arising.

The German G7 Presidency (I): The G7 as an Opportunity - Returning to value-based Global Governance
Oct. 9, 2014

With the re-establishment of the G7, the democracies of the West will once again have their own forum as a community of shared values. However, the G7 nations face several fundamental challenges: Both a strategic debate about transatlantic relations and specification of a shared constructive position vis-à-vis Russia are required. During its G7 presidency Germany should thus clearly foreground the opportunities offered by a strengthened Western partnership of values. The German government should also promote the elaboration of a long-term vision and strategy for the MENA region.

Global Megatrends (III): Raw Materials – Explore Alternatives and Create New Paradigms
July 8th, 2014

Global energy consumption and the demand for industrial raw materials are continuing to increase with the sustained rise of new economic powers.

More Subsidiarity in Europe – but in the Right Place!
February, 4th, 2014

The principle of subsidiarity is a key building block in the architecture of the European Union because it regulates the distribution of responsibilities between the EU and its Member States, thus contributing to the democratic process. However, the crisis in the eurozone and the related measures taken at national and European levels to improve the financial and economic situation have called subsidiarity as regulated in the EU since the Treaty of Lisbon (2009) into question.

Global Megatrends (II): Demographic Change
November 5th, 2013

The ageing population and associated lack of skilled workers present a serious challenge to Europe’s competitiveness and to the sustainability of European welfare systems. Demographic change means that migration is no longer simply a security issue or a humanitarian challenge but has also become a significant economic factor.

Global Megatrends (I): Global Power Shifts
November 5th, 2013

The economic and political rise of new powers is putting pressure on the established architecture of international institutions. As a result, informal, issue-driven forums and regional organisations are taking on an increasingly significant role.

Security and Development in the Sahel
October 31st, 2013

In the course of the past year, the Sahel has developed into a regional crisis trouble spot, which will continue to affect Europe even once the current conflict in Mali has been resolved. Ethnic conflicts are weakening the region, thereby providing fertile ground for extremist groups and their terrorist activities. This paper proposes recommendations for action for German foreign policy, based mainly on the developments in Mali.

Germany’s Foreign Policy and the "Energiewende" - Action Areas and Approaches
October 8th, 2013

The manner in which the implementation of Germany’s transformation of the energy system (Energiewende) is being achieved is characterised by a considerable dynamic. There are no blueprints for Germany to refer to. In addition, this shift in energy policy is taking place at a time of great economic and thus geopolitical change in the global energy landscape.

European Island Solutions as a Basis for Strengthening European Defence Capabilities?
September 30th, 2013

For the first time since 2003, a session of the European Council dedicated to European defence and security policy will take place. The fact that the heads of state and government will be addressing this subject matter will provide a significant opportunity to give new impetus to concepts – which up to now have in many ways been lacking – for the project of strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities at the very highest political level. One approach that could potentially produce significant progress involves the concept of “island solutions”.

The fight against piracy: one aspect of Germany‘s maritime security
September 27th, 2013

David Petrovic takes up this issue and examines more closely one of the key areas of maritime security – the fight against piracy. As Mephistopheles said in Goethe’s Faust: “War, trade, and piracy, allow, as three in one, no separation.”

December Summit – Last Chance? - Impulses for the revitalisation of the common security and defense policy
September 23rd, 2013

The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the EU has so far rarely met the expectations. Lately, it has only played a marginal role in conflicts with European involvement. In the aftermath of the Libyan conflict, there was even some talk of the “demise” of the CSDP. Contrary to numerous predictions, so far the cuts in national defence spending caused by the economic and financial crisis have not produced the necessary political will for greater cooperation.

Economy as an Engine for Change: Opportunities of Increased Engagement in the Maghreb
July 12th, 2013

This paper sets out the essential challenges and obstacles for sustainable economic development. Based on this information, concrete recommendations for German (and European) policy makers are formulated which may help to sustainably promote the region’s development potential by means of concerted know-how transfer.

A Fragile Value Chain: The Need for German Maritime Engagement
July 5th, 2013

Reliable maritime lifelines are the foundation of our prosperity, yet in the face of new threats the fragility of global maritime trade routes has massively increased over the past several years. German society and the economic sector are not adequately attuned to this. This paper analyses the significance and the complex challenges confronting Germany as well as other industrial nations in securing their maritime lifelines.


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