The outgoing Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) sees the "time for an end to illusions" in foreign policy.

In such a “disillusionment” lies the chance “for a new political sobriety, for undogmatic confidence, for a pragmatic realism,” Maas said, according to the previously published manuscript of the speech at the foreign policy forum of the Körber Foundation on Monday morning in Berlin.

A factual analysis of the situation included three elements, Maas continued: Firstly, the current era of transformation in the world is causing a system to be formed in which there is more competition and more cooperation at the same time, in which “states are more dividing while they are are at the same time as close as never before. "

Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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Second, Germany has "all the prerequisites to survive in such a competitive, cooperative and networked world". Maas listed: “Our economy is strong, our society is stable, our state is capable of acting”. Germany has strong partners and allies in the EU and NATO; it is "an active player in global multilateralism". On this basis, it must “continue on the ambitious path that it has taken in recent years”.

Maas mentioned as a changing condition - and possibly as a warning to the coming federal government - that German foreign policy must be “more than the extension of German domestic policy”, otherwise “noble German claims” will collide with “world political realities” in the future. Rather, it is important to pursue two priorities at the same time: "We have to strengthen our own position - and we have to cooperate more with all countries in the world".

In his opinion, this also includes the “dialogue with those who do not share our values”.

Political approaches such as “maximum pressure” and attempts to isolate “or the insistence on one's own moral superiority” rarely led to the goal in international politics.

Maas listed the successes of diplomatic engagements during his term in office: the peace process in Libya, the return to the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the settlement of disputes between Turkey and Greece.

And he called up the key words of those challenges in which negotiations with all countries are necessary in order to achieve progress: climate change, global economic development, the fight against corona.

Maas: Germany has to make its NATO contributions

In order to survive in foreign policy competition, however, Germany must remain the economic and technological leader and “continue to make its contributions” to NATO. Both are the prerequisites for being able to meet states like Russia and China internationally. Maas said, "States like Russia and China are putting the rule-based order, international law and universal human rights under pressure". Hybrid threats and disinformation “gnaw on our open societies”. The “Chinese system” stands for “autocratic values ​​that we do not want to live by in democratic states”. On the other hand, he would like to see “better relations” with Russia, but this would require progress in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Most recently, however, Moscow had "a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Normandy format (Germany,France, Ukraine, Russia) refused. The ball for solutions lies “in Moscow's field”.

Maas predicted that the EU would “continue to speak with one voice with regard to Ukraine.

And he described as a central future foreign policy task that Germany must remain a bridge builder to the Central and Eastern European EU countries.

Maas said, "a division of Europe into East and West, into a two-speed Europe that our eastern neighbors perceive as a first and second-class Europe, weakens us all".

It is important to hold Europe together internally and to make it more sovereign externally.

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