Bi-lateral relations, business, climate and other news from Germany and the Embassy
June 7, 2023 View online

Dear Readers,

Germany remains the second-largest donor to Ukraine, trailing only the United States, and serves as the leading weapons supplier within the European Union. With a significant commitment to military support, Germany provides equipment and weapons through its Federal Armed Forces and funding from the Federal Government's security capacity building program. Ukrainian President Wolodymyr Selenskyj commended Chancellor Scholz for his resolute dedication this month, “which in many ways becomes the determination for all of Europe,” he said in a video message broadcast in Kyiv.

Meanwhile, the Stolpersteine project, the world's largest grassroots Holocaust memorial, reached a milestone of laying its 100,000th plaque on May 26. The initiative, started by sculptor Gunter Demnig, places engraved cobblestone-sized blocks called Stolpersteine in front of victims' former homes, bearing their names and details. The 100,000th plaque was placed in Nuremberg, and US Ambassador Amy Gutmann recently also participated in a ceremony to lay eight blocks for her German Jewish relatives. The project aims to bring the scale of the Holocaust to a human level and preserve the memory of its victims as survivors pass away.

And on May 29,  the United Nations marked the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, celebrating 75 years of peacekeeping missions. Germany actively participates in these missions, with its Federal Armed Forces, police, and civil society experts supporting collective security as part of the "Blue Helmet" missions. The International Day was established in 2003 by the UN General Assembly to commemorate the start of the first peacekeeping mission in the Middle East in 1948. Over 2 million personnel have been deployed on more than 70 UN missions since then, including military, police, and civil society experts, working to protect and maintain peace.

And in other news, the world’s largest inclusive sports event is about to begin: from June 17-25, Berlin will host the Special Olympics World Games, bringing together thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities for 26 sports. Germany proudly welcomes the Games for the first time. The Special Olympics brings together thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities to compete in various sports, celebrating their achievements and promoting recognition and social participation for people with intellectual disabilities on a global scale.


The "Germany for Americans" team



Scholz reiterates NATO defence in the Baltics

While on a visit to Estonia, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated Germany’s commitment to defending its NATO partners in the Baltic in the case of an attack. “To be absolutely clear: we are prepared to defend every last square centimetre of NATO territory against attacks,” Scholz said after meeting his fellow leaders, Kaja Kallas from Estonia, Krisjanis Karins from Latvia, and Ingrida Simonyte from Lithuania. “The security situation here in the Baltic States, NATO’s eastern flank, remains delicate,” said Scholz, stressing that the necessary steps had been taken.

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Update: Military support for Ukraine

Germany remains the second largest donor to Ukraine after the U.S. and the largest weapons supplier in the EU. Germany provides military support for Ukraine by supplying equipment and weapons, these come from supplies of the Federal Arms Forces and from deliveries from industry financed from the Federal Government’s funds for security capacity building. Funding for the security capacity building initiative amounts to 5.4 billion Euros for 2023 (after 2 billion Euros for 2022) and additional authorisations to enter commitments in the following years amounting to 10.5 billion Euros. These funds are to be used primarily for military assistance to Ukraine. At the same time, they will be used for re-filling Federal Armed Forces stocks for items delivered to Ukraine as well as for Germany’s contributions to the European Peace Facility (EPF), from which costs incurred from providing military assistance to Ukraine can be re-imbursed to EU member states.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has praised Chancellor Scholz for the “determination” he has shown in providing aid for the country that is under attack from Russia. In his evening video message that is broadcast in Kyiv, Zelenskiy said: “And I thank Olaf, Mr Chancellor, for his personal determination, which in many ways becomes the determination for all of Europe.”

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NATO Foreign Ministers meet in Oslo: Getting ready for Vilnius Summit

On 31 May and 1 June, an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers took place in Oslo. Its chief purpose was to prepare for the NATO summit in Vilnius in July. Norway is only the second country to host a NATO meeting of an informal nature. The Ministers met in a very small and confidential setting. Instead of a pre-structured programme, the plan was to enable a more open, direct and interactive exchange. In concrete terms, this meant that only Ministers were in the room, without their advisors. No prepared statements have been read; instead, Ministers engaged in discourse and discussions to have a genuine debate.

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Baerbock stresses importance of cooperation in the Baltic Sea region

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has emphasised the importance of close cooperation between the Baltic Sea states in view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. “The security of each of us is the security of all of us - also here in the Baltic Sea Region,” Baerbock said at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in Wismar in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. She added that the war in Ukraine had been a watershed moment for the region and especially for the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

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European Political Community Summit in Moldova

The states of the European Political Community (EPC) gathered for a summit meeting in Moldova’s capital Chișinău on June 1, 2023. At the end of the European Political Community Summit, the Federal Chancellor Scholz reiterated that despite certain disputes between individual countries, everyone present was united in the view “that the Russian attack on Ukraine is an attack on European peace and security”.

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Celebrating 75 Years of UN peacekeeping

The United Nations celebrated 75 years of peacekeeping missions on 29 May, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Germany’s Federal Armed Forces, police and civil society experts join in supporting collective security under the aegis of the UN through regular involvement in so-called “Blue Helmet” missions. In 2003, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 29 May to be the annual International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers as it was on this day in 1948 that the first peacekeeping mission began in the Middle East. Since then, over 2 million military personnel, police officers and civil society experts have been deployed on over 70 UN missions to protect and preserve peace.

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Hundreds of German civil servants must leave Russia

Several hundred German civil servants such as diplomats, teachers and employees of the Goethe Institut must leave Russia. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the decision was linked to the reduction of Russian intelligence services in Germany. A representative of the Federal Foreign Office said that Russia’s decision would require “major cuts across all areas of our presence in Russia,” and that this was a “unilateral, unjustified and incomprehensible decision” by Russia. Germany prohibited Russia from operation four of five consulates general in Germany.

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Humanitarian aid: Fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa

The people in the Horn of Africa are suffering a once-in-a-century drought. It has hardly rained for five years now. This has a drastic impact on food security. Aid worth over 2 billion euros was pledged at a UN donors’ conference for countries in the Horn of Africa. Germany is massively expanding its assistance for the region by providing 210 million euros.

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Skilled labor immigration: Foreign Minister Baerbock and Labor Minister Heil travel to Latin America

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil are set off on a trip to Brazil, Colombia and Panama on Sunday. A Foreign Office spokesperson announced that the two ministers would to some extent be taking part in a joint programme in Brazil, focusing on the topic of skilled labour immigration. Other stops on Baerbock’s inaugural trip to the region will be Colombia and Panama. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour said that the aim was to find pragmatic solutions in recruiting skilled workers. Heil said it was crucial to be sensitive and not deprive a country of the labour it required itself. Instead, a situation should be created where the countries of origin stand to benefit just as much as the people who come to Germany. There is enormous labour potential in the care sector in Brazil.

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Preparatory negotiations for international climate change conference in Bonn 

Six months before the next international climate change conference in Dubai, ten-day interim preparatory negotiations are set to begin in Bonn. The Special Representative for International Climate Policy at the Federal Foreign Office, Jennifer Morgan, says she is seeking to build a “broad coalition for an ambitious global climate policy so that we can make groundbreaking decisions in Dubai that will enable us to take a major leap towards a climate-friendly, sustainable and therefore better world”. At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) from November 30 to December 12, the global community is to take stock of its climate efforts to date and measure them against the targets agreed on at the Paris Climate Conference in 2015.

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German Ambassador visits historic German-American cemetery

On June 2, German Ambassador Emily Haber visited Prospect Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C., which is known for its German-American heritage and historical significance. Established in 1858, it served as the final resting place for many German immigrants and their descendants. It is the final resting place of more than 14,000 men, women and children. The cemetery became a cultural center for the German community, with German-language services and traditions observed. German fraternal organizations, such as the Washington Lodge of the Sons of Hermann, played a role in the cemetery's development. After the visit, Ambassador Haber said that the cemetery “reminds us of the promise of America – and at the same time, the German contribution to it.”


Promoting acknowledgement, confidence and participation through sports

Germany is hosting the Special Olympic World Games for the first time, the world’s biggest sporting event for people with mental and multiple disabilities. From June 17-25, 7,000 athletes from over 180 countries are coming together in Berlin and the surrounding region to compete for medals in 26 disciplines. The Special Olympics movement was initiated in the USA in 1969 by Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, a sister of US President John F. Kennedy. More than five million athletes in 174 countries, as well as a million trainers and volunteers around the world make the Special Olympics the world’s biggest sports movement for people with mental and multiple disabilities. The movement is officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).The 2023 Special Olympic World Games are a unique opportunity for Germany to promote acknowledgement and participation of people with disabilities. In the long term, this is about unlimited access to all areas of community life: education, labour, healthcare, sports and culture.

A publication of the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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