Current German Foreign and Security Policy - Priorities and Tendencies

Authors:

  • Oldberg Ingmar

Publish date: 2006-01-01

Report number: FOI-R--1976--SE

Pages: 104

Written in: Swedish

Abstract

Since Angela Menkel (CDU) took over as chancellor in late 2005 she has striven for improved relations with old and new allies within NATO and the EU, at the same time as she asserts Germany´s position in world politics. Merkel seems to care more than her predecessor Schröder about cooperation with the United States, e.g. Iran, but still advocates peaceful solutions to conflicts. The German Armed Forces, which are being restructured to meet new types of threats, increasingly contribute to NATO and EU missions outside Europe. Also Merkel seems to view the EU and its integration as top priority, but she is more sceptical than Schröder of further enlargement. The close cooperation with France appears to be downscaled a little. Concerning Russia Merkel apparently wants a less personal relationship to Putin than Schröder, which allows for criticism of the lack of democracy and great power behaviour towards the new states in Eastern Europe. But also Merkel speaks of strategic partnership and developing ties, especially in the energy field, when Germany has become dependent on Russia. The agreement on a gas pipeline between the countries across the Baltic Sea has disturbed Germany´s relations especially with Poland and the Baltic states, which are even more dependent on Russian energy and have been affected by pressure tactics.Merkel´s desire for improved ties with Poland are also hampered by the accession of a new, nationalistic and EU-sceptic government in Poland. The relations with Sweden remain good and free from problems. Overall, German foreign and security policy is mainly characterised by continuity, which partly is due to the fact that the government is a coalition with the Social Democrats.