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). The Federal Foreign Office, which is based in Berlin, has around 11,230 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 it is based 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 peace-keeping structures, and crisis prevention as part of UN-mandated peace missions. In the midst the current crisis in the European security order, in 2016 it will assume the Chairmanship of the OSCE and will promote an affirmation of the Helsinki Principles and a strengthening of the OSCE as the main regional security organisation in Europe.
The public discussion surrounding the “Review 2014 – A Fresh Look at German Foreign Policy” project revealed that the premises on which German foreign policy are based have proven their worth. However, it also showed that in a rapidly changing world German foreign policy faces three main challenges, which can be described with the words “Crisis – Order – Europe”. In order to be better prepared to master them, and as a result of the review process, the Federal Foreign Office is being restructured.