Bi-lateral relations, business, climate and other news from Germany and the Embassy
April 30, 2024 View online
GERMANY FOR AMERICANS

Dear Readers,

April has been an intense month filled with diplomatic endeavors, environmental commitments, and steadfast international cooperation.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock embarks Wednesday on a trip to South Pacific, focusing on security policy and climate protection. Baerbock's itinerary includes a stop in Fiji, marking the first visit by a German foreign minister to Fiji and the region in 13 years.

In the wake of Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel on April 14th, the Federal Government has been actively engaged in preventing further escalation in the Middle East, including in recent talks between Chancellor Scholz and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Chancellor’s as well as Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s collaborative efforts with European counterparts resulted in the initiation of new EU sanctions against Iran, demonstrating a united stance against destabilizing actions. At the same time, Germany has been increasing its humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

In a significant move towards renewable energy expansion, the German government introduced "Solar Package I." This legislative initiative aims to streamline bureaucracy hindering solar power growth, setting ambitious targets for new installations. With plans to add 13 gigawatts in 2024 and 18 gigawatts in 2025, this initiative paves the way for substantial solar energy integration.

Take a look at this week’s newsletter segments below to read more about these topics and others. 

Yours,

The Germany for Americans team

US-GERMAN RELATIONS

Foreign Minister Baerbock embarks on a trip the South Pacific 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock embarks Wednesday on a trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, focusing on security policy and climate protection, with Fiji being particularly impacted by climate change. Baerbock's itinerary includes stops in Adelaide, Auckland, and Fiji, marking the first visit by a German foreign minister to Fiji and the region in 13 years.

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Germany Leads Efforts for EU Sanctions Against Iran Amid Calls for De-escalation

Following Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel’s national territory, the Federal Government is making every effort to prevent a conflagration in the Middle East. Federal Chancellor Scholz spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on the phone recently. At the European Council meeting, Scholz and his European counterparts initiated new EU sanctions against Iran.

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German Foreign Minister Baerbock comments as G7 ministers discuss Iran, Ukraine

Amid global turbulence, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock emphasizes the importance of democratic alliances, citing the G7 as a prime example of close coordination and trust among major economies. Following Iran’s attack on Israel on April 14th and reports of strikes in Iran on April 19th, Baerbock calls on all parties to prevent further escalation in the region, with the G7 committed to this objective as the German government closely monitors developments. In response to urgent needs in Ukraine, Baerbock and Defense Minister Boris Pistorius initiated a global effort to identify available air defense systems, with the G7 joining forces to address the crisis. Furthermore, the G7 asserts its stance against any nation supporting Putin's actions, underscoring this message, including to China, as a unified front against fueling conflict.

Watch Baerbock's speech

On Twitter

Humanitarian disaster in Gaza – Germany is providing assistance

The humanitarian situation in Gaza remains disastrous. In order to alleviate this suffering, Germany has repeatedly and significantly increased its humanitarian assistance.

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Minister announces initiative for reconstruction in Ukraine

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze unveiled an international initiative aimed at bolstering Ukraine's reconstruction endeavors, stressing the demand for skilled workers in healthcare, construction, and energy sectors. The SkillsAlliance for Ukraine initiative targets training individuals, including refugees and internally displaced persons, with a strategic focus on equipping them with essential skills crucial for Ukraine's rebuilding efforts, slated for launch at the Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in Berlin on June 11 and 12.

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German Chancellor Scholz pays tribute to Kant on the 300th anniversary of his birth

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz commemorated Immanuel Kant's 300th birthday, praising him as a pivotal figure in Western philosophy. Scholz, speaking in Berlin, referenced Kant's "Perpetual Peace," affirming the right of self-defense for those under attack and cautioning against forced peace treaties that could lead to renewed hostilities, a rebuke aimed at Putin's use of Kant to justify Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

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2023 Annual Disarmament Report

The German Government continued to promote arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation under difficult conditions in 2023. An overview of the priorities and challenges that this involves can be found here.

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ECONOMY & CLIMATE

More than half of electricity consumption from renewable energies

Renewable energy accounted for 56% of Germany's energy supply in Q1 2024, totaling 75.9 billion kilowatt hours and marking a 9% increase from the same period last year, as per projections by ZSW and BDEW published by the German Press Agency. BDEW Chief Executive Kerstin Andreae emphasized the positive trajectory in renewable energy adoption but stressed the necessity for accelerated efforts to meet Germany's climate objectives.

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The road ahead for international climate action: The 15th Petersberg Climate Dialogue at the Federal Foreign Office

The Petersberg Climate Dialogue, held from April 25 to 26, 2024, served as a significant milestone for the climate negotiations leading up to COP29 in Baku. Representatives from over 40 countries convened at the Federal Foreign Office for the conference.

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EMBASSY NEWS

German scientists visits German Embassy and US schools

German scientist Joachim Hecker visited us at the Embassy and turned our coworkers into real-life cyborgs! Here, our colleague Jasmin is controlling a robo-claw with her forearm! For the next few weeks, Hecker is in the US, where he will be visiting schools and conducting super cool science experiments with kids! Anyone know of Bill Nye the Science Guy? He's basically the German version.

Watch a Reel

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Number of organic farms in Germany is growing

The expansion of organic agriculture in Germany saw significant growth, with around 28,700 agricultural holdings managed under organic farming rules in 2023, a 10 percent increase from 2020. According to the Federal Statistical Office, this accounted for more than one in ten agricultural holdings, with organic farming covering 11.2 percent of agricultural land, totaling 1.85 million hectares, with Bavaria leading in land area at 423,000 hectares.

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