On the international stage, Germany enjoys a very broad network of close contacts. It maintains diplomatic relations with almost 200 countries and is a member of all the important multilateral organisations and informal international coordination groups such as the “Group of Seven” (G7) and the “Group of Twenty” (G20). Heiko Maas (SPD) has been Federal Foreign Minister since 2018. The Federal Foreign Office, which is based in Berlin, has around 11,652 staff members. In total, Germany maintains 227 missions abroad.
The primary objective of German foreign policy is to ensure peace and security in the world. The basic premises on which this rests include the nation’s full integration into the structures of multilateral cooperation. In concrete terms this means: close partnership with France in the European Union (EU), firm roots in the community of values shaped by the transatlantic alliance with the USA, support of the right of Israel to exist, active and committed involvement in the United Nations (UN) and the Council of Europe, as well as the strengthening of the European security structure through the OSCE.
Together with its partners, Germany promotes peace, security, democracy, and human rights all over the world. Alongside crisis prevention, disarmament, and arms control, the broad notion of security promulgated by Germany embraces sustainable economic, ecological, and social aspects. These include a globalisation that offers opportunities for everyone, cross-border environmental and climate protection, dialogue between cultures, and openness towards guests and immigrants.
Since the end of the East-West conflict, new opportunities and challenges have emerged for German foreign policy. On the basis of its multilateral relations, Germany has accepted the increased responsibility it has been accorded since reunification in 1990. Through its many efforts, Germany nowadays plays a role in the political resolution of conflicts, the maintenance of peacekeeping structures, and crisis prevention as part of UN-mandated peace missions. To further support the UN in crisis prevention, Germany has trebled its contribution in this area, as Foreign Minister Maas stated in a speech to the UN in spring 2018.
Security requires more than military defence, and Germany is also increasing its efforts in humanitarian assistance and in foreign cultural policy. Germany has underscored its commitment by its successful candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2019-20.
In the age of globalisation and digitisation and against the backdrop of a fast-changing world, alongside classical foreign policy new fields are increasingly on the agenda, including, for example, “malign cyberoperations” or attempts via propaganda to influence public opinion.