Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab © FCDO and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas © Thomas Koehler/photothek.de
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas today, 30 June 2021, signed a Joint Declaration on foreign and security policy cooperation.
The Joint Declaration sets out shared UK-Germany priorities and ambitions on a range of issues including climate change, China and the Indo-Pacific and shared values. It is the first such bilateral agreement between the UK and Germany on foreign and security policy issues.
The text also mentions the Königswinter Conferences: “30. We consider the Königswinter Conferences, the Outlook Group and other groups to be key fora for outreach and feedback, and an opportunity to maintain a strong and close relationship with the foreign policy community. Also beyond this domain we consider close ties between our civil societies to be of great importance and we commit to engaging jointly in fostering their cooperation.”
The Joint Declaration comes as the UK prepares to welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the UK for an official visit on Friday.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:
Germany is an essential ally and together we are tackling global issues from climate change to humanitarian crises. The Joint Declaration will strengthen our bilateral co-operation on foreign and security policy for years to come.
Over 20 named issues are covered by the Joint Declaration, demonstrating UK-German commitment to continue to provide leadership on issues of global importance.
These include the shared desire to strengthen cooperation in humanitarian affairs in order to respond better to humanitarian crises, including seeking to agree coordinated action to unblock humanitarian access and protection constraints in countries at risk of famine and strengthen anticipatory approaches to crisis.
The Declaration also establishes an annual Foreign Minister Strategic Dialogue, which will “assure a high level of cooperation and coordination on all matters of foreign policy”.
Germany is the UK’s second biggest trading partner and every fifth international publication by German scientists is in collaboration with UK institutions. The UK and Germany cooperate closely on foreign and security policy issues both bilaterally and through multilateral bodies such as NATO, the G7 and the United Nations. Germany will take over the G7 Presidency from the UK next year.
Joint Declaration by the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.
1.Germany and the United Kingdom are strong and like-minded global partners. We want to cooperate closely in order to provide responsible leadership on foreign policy issues in support of multilateralism and a rules-based international order. Our cooperation is rooted in our European and universal values, our global approach and our shared institutional framework as members of the UN, NATO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other multilateral fora such as the WTO, WHO, G7 and the G20, and as signatories to the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
2. With this Joint Declaration, we affirm our commitment to the strategic unity of Europe and our joint unconditional commitment to Euro-Atlantic security. Furthermore, we are enhancing our long-standing close bilateral cooperation and consultation on foreign and security policy issues by establishing a strategic dialogue.
3. For Germany, its membership of the European Union remains a key reference point and it supports cooperation between the EU and the UK. Regarding bilateral undertakings, Germany, as an EU Member State, will ensure the highest possible level of transparency towards the institutions and Member States of the European Union.
A joint global responsibility
4. We will jointly promote a more peaceful, secure and safer world, respect for democracy, the rule of law, global education and human rights including gender equality, media freedom, freedom of religion and belief, and addressing the human rights dimensions both of climate change and of the use of artificial intelligence. We will deepen our cooperation in the fight against poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. We will continue to work together to combat the threat of terrorism, take strong action against organised crime and tackle malicious activity and hostile threats from both state and non-state actors.
5. We will join forces to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and to tackle future global health crises. Jointly, we will promote a multilateral approach to addressing global health challenges especially by strengthening WHO as the leading and coordinating authority of the global health system. We will strive to protect equitable access to goods such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. We will work together on future pandemic preparedness and seek to reduce the spread and impact of zoonotic diseases, following a One Health approach across human, animal and environmental health. We recognise the importance of stronger, more resilient health systems to ensuring that countries are better able to prevent, detect and respond to health threats.
6. We will work together to lead international efforts to tackle climate change and its implications for international peace and security, and to improve the coherence of global action to protect the environment.
7. We will promote global efforts to address the root causes of conflict, instability and inequalities, which requires, inter alia, that the Sustainable Development Goals be achieved worldwide. We will work together to help end child labour and forced labour and foster responsible business conduct in global supply chains. We support youth education and empowerment for a positive contribution to their societies.
8. We will strengthen our cooperation in humanitarian affairs in order to respond better to humanitarian crises, including seeking to agree coordinated action to unblock humanitarian access and protection constraints in countries at risk of famine and strengthen anticipatory approaches to crisis. We will enhance cooperation on conflict-prevention including stabilisation and peace building by establishing a UK-Germany Stabilisation Partnership. We will collaborate closely to ensure that our crisis engagement is gender responsive, and thus jointly contribute to the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Supporting a multilateral rules-based global architecture
9. We reaffirm our commitment to the rules-based international system and to the necessary reforms to ensure effective multilateral institutions. We underscore the core role of the United Nations in promoting a rules-based global order, maintaining international peace and security and promoting multilateral solutions to global problems. We remain jointly committed to working within the United Nations, in an effort to prevent violent conflict, respond to international crises and promote human rights. We commit to cooperating as closely as possible on all United Nations Security Council matters. We affirm our support for the efforts in the area of United Nations reform, making it fit for purpose. We will also advance reform of the United Nations Security Council. We support a new permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for the Federal Republic of Germany.
10. NATO is the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security. It remains the bedrock of our collective defence. We recognise the importance of a stronger and more capable European contribution to this. We remain jointly committed to NATO-EU co-operation. We strive to strengthen our co-operation in areas such as resilience, including cyber security and countering hybrid threats, security in space, military mobility in Europe, addressing China and climate security. In line with the decision made at the 2021 NATO summit, we will work together with allies to update the 2010 Strategic Concept as a means of strengthening NATO cohesion and the Alliance as a whole.
11. We will work together to strengthen the international disarmament, arms control, arms export control and non-proliferation architecture. We reaffirm our commitment to multilateral nuclear disarmament and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons which is the essential cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We will reinforce the Chemical Weapons Convention’s prohibition of all chemical weapons. We will work together to promote a substantive and effective review conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. We recognise the vital work of the OSCE in furthering conventional arms control and confidence- and security-building measures in Europe.
12. Against the backdrop of emerging and enduring threats, we commit to bolstering cooperation on combatting the challenges associated with cyber, critical technologies, disinformation, hybrid and hostile state activity more broadly, also as a means of strengthening our collective resilience. Building on our High-Level Dialogue on Cyber, we are seeking to establish closer operational cooperation, aiming at developing joint approaches to international governance, resilience of our societies and – as NATO Allies – deterrence, defending our democratic values and maintaining open societies. We will seek to build the capacity, agility, and resolve of our partners and Allies, in Europe and beyond, to counter the shared security challenges we face.
A shared strategic vision
We share a strategic vision on broader foreign and security policy issues:
13. Transatlantic relationship: Our joint approach to foreign and security policy issues is rooted in a Euro-Atlantic perspective. We recognise the importance of working with the United States to ensure strategic stability and European and international security, to address global challenges, tackle climate change and to work towards solutions for regional conflicts. Together with the U.S. we will strive to strengthen the multilateral, rules-based order anchored in our shared values, respect for human rights and the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We will work together to strengthen and renew this partnership in the future, also through multilateral cooperation and coordination, incl. in the UN, the G7, the G20, OSCE, and NATO, and between NATO and the EU.
14. Russia: With Russia continuing to pose a challenge to European security we will strengthen our and our partners’ resilience against Russia’s destabilising behaviour. We will show firmness in our principles to uphold international law or international commitments and the principles of the rules-based security order in Europe against any violations. We will address malign behaviour by Russia, working closely with other Euro-Atlantic partners to protect national security interests. At the same time, we are both convinced that a constructive and mutually benefitting relationship with Russia is possible and in our shared interest. We are committed to conducting constructive dialogue with Russia through appropriate channels in order to make clear our expectations and to discuss our ideas for concrete solutions on issues of common interest.
15. China and Indo-Pacific: The Indo-Pacific is a region of great opportunity, at the centre of global economic and population growth, but also with unresolved conflicts and strategic competition, and threats to governance models and open societies. China’s economic and political influence is growing. On the basis of our shared values, we will work closely together on areas where China’s role and influence matters, strengthening the rules-based international system and international governance structures such as the UN, the WTO and the Bretton Woods institutions, and holding China to its international commitments, including on human rights. We will work together with partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region, supporting sustainable economic growth, upholding global norms and being a force for good. We will make common efforts to strengthen our institutions and the resilience of our societies against challenges associated with China’s increasing importance. Many countries in the region are strongly affected by the ongoing geopolitical shifts and would like to see stronger European engagement in Asia. We are committed to working in concert with our partners to realise the opportunities and manage the risks.
16. Climate change and biodiversity: We share the view that climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss constitute some of the most urgent challenges of our times. We commit to making the fight against climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss as priority issues for our bilateral cooperation and we will, through joint diplomacy and shared initiatives foster global efforts to tackle these interlinked challenges and their manifold consequences for global peace, liberty, health and prosperity. Ahead of COP26 we will align our asks of third countries to ensure our messages have maximum impact, and engage in joint lobbying where appropriate.
A common approach on regional policies
We agree to strive for a common approach to pressing foreign policy issues, such as:
17. Western Balkans: We reaffirm our shared commitment to the security, stability, prosperity and full sovereignty of all six Western Balkans countries in line with their European and EuroAtlantic paths. We emphasise the importance of advancing the rule of law and we commit to working closely together to support the Western Balkans countries in promoting regional cooperation, tackling corruption and organised crime, especially illicit finance, and to addressing legacy issues of the past, notably Missing Persons, including in the context of the Berlin Process.
18. Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus: We reaffirm our shared commitment to security, stability, prosperity, democracy and the rule of law in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus and support multilateral cooperation. We continue to support reform processes in all six countries of the region in order to achieve tangible progress for the public, and to increase the partner countries’ resilience to internal and external shocks. We emphasise the importance of sustainable reform implementation, particularly regarding rule of law and good governance and pressing issues including climate change. With regard to the Southern Caucasus, we underline our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and for the full implementation of the 2008 ceasefire agreement. On the conflict on Nagorno Karabakh, we stress the need for a lasting political solution between Armenia and Azerbaijan as the only way for rapprochement and reconciliation of the two people.
19. Ukraine: Standing fully behind Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, we strongly support the Normandy format and the continuation of the Minsk process discussions in order to achieve peace and stability in the region. We underline the need for implementing ambitious reforms in order to strengthen Ukraine’s institutions. Together, we support Ukraine’s challenging reform agenda.
20. Turkey/Eastern Mediterranean: We recognise the geopolitical strategic importance of Turkey and the need to work together on a wide range of mutual interests, including our support for UN-led efforts for a Cyprus settlement and stability in Libya, Syria, Iraq and the wider region as well as migration management and the fight against human trafficking and terrorism. We reaffirm our shared commitment to the democracy, rule of law and prosperity of Turkey and will seek to develop relations with Turkey on that basis. To this end, we will intensify our cooperation with Turkey in shared institutional frameworks in order to support the rules-based international order and Turkey’s European orientation (e.g. through NATO, Council of Europe, OSCE and G20).
21. Middle East: We will work together as a priority to preserve and fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) on Iran and address wider concerns, including destabilising Iranian activity. We will work with partners in the region to reduce existing tensions and support a regional approach to dialogue on security issues. We reaffirm our commitment to a sustainable political settlement in Syria. We will not consider reconstruction assistance until a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political settlement is firmly underway. We remain committed to a sovereign, stable, united and resilient Iraqi state that contributes to regional stability and is capable of undertaking the reforms necessary for its reconstruction.
22. We intend to call on all parties involved in the conflict in Yemen to engage constructively in an inclusive UN-led political process, and to guarantee safe, rapid, and unimpeded access for principled humanitarian assistance, as well as vital commercial imports. We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-led humanitarian response. We support a negotiated two-state solution for the Middle East Peace Process, based on the internationally accepted parameters, and guaranteeing the security of Israel, as well as the legitimate expectations and rights of the Palestinians. We are ready to contribute to all credible efforts to restart the peace process. We are committed to comprehensive and long-term support to help stabilise Libya. We welcome the international framework provided by the Berlin Conference. We intend to call on all parties to the conflict to engage constructively with the UN process, respecting the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya, and upholding their commitments under international law. We will work together closely in order to enhance our partnership and cooperation with North African countries.
23. Africa: We reaffirm our joint commitment to supporting peace, security, stability, open societies and more prosperous countries, based on sustainable and green economic models in Africa and to jointly addressing issues of migration from and within the continent as well as population dynamics. We aim at intensifying coordination, working with African partners and in international fora on issues of mutual interest and in a spirit of true partnership. We will place particular emphasis on a continuing close cooperation in support of security and stabilisation in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. We reaffirm our commitment to supporting efforts to rebuild and strengthen the Somali state, and deliver a comprehensive security transition, as well as to strengthening the emerging democratic institutions of Sudan and to supporting a sustainable resolution of the economic crisis. Germany and the United Kingdom are strongly engaged in the Sahel region to improve security and stability, to foster development, to provide humanitarian assistance and to strengthen governance and ownership. The fight against climate change and environmental degradation, and the tackling of its security implications for Africa as the continent hardest hit by global warming also ranks very high on our common agenda. We will coordinate our advocacy for supporting Africa on climate issues, and work together to encourage investments in a green recovery, energy transition and nature regeneration in the region.
24. Central Asia: We will work together to support the governments of Central Asia to become more open to reform and increasingly aligned with the rules-based international system, recognising the potential of Central Asia to act as a bridge between Europe and Asia. We commit to working with the Central Asia region as a whole, as well as with individual countries, to become more resilient to external threats, inter alia through good governance and the development of globally integrated economies, which attract international investment in order to offer stability and opportunities to citizens, including women, minorities and the younger generation. Through cooperation and dialogue, we will champion values including democratisation and human rights – promoting an active Civil Society and developing a diverse and vibrant media. On climate change we will continue to encourage governments to make and deliver ambitious commitments on the use of clean energy, protection of environment and sustainable use of resources respecting the long-term needs of both citizens and regional partners while recognising the close link between climate change and security.
25. DPRK: We will continue to support firm and effective measures to encourage the DPRK to engage in meaningful dialogue and take concrete steps towards the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
26. Afghanistan and Pakistan: We will continue to work together closely in Afghanistan including through NATO, to promote Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace efforts. We are committed to countering terrorism, enhancing security, fostering stability, and promoting socio-economic development in order to help the people of Afghanistan and improve regional stability. We will continue to maintain our cooperation in Pakistan in order to support stability and prosperity in the region.
27. Latin America and the Caribbean: The United Kingdom and Germany recognise the vast potential offered by cooperating with Latin America and the Caribbean. We will maintain a close dialogue on issues with a regional impact such as the Venezuelan migration and refugee crisis and the mitigation of and adaptation to, existing impacts of climate change.
28. We have jointly decided to hold an annual Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue on all matters of foreign policy and international affairs. This Strategic Dialogue will provide guidance to assure a high level of cooperation and coordination in all matters of foreign policy.
29. Regular consultations should also be held between Permanent and State Secretaries, Political Directors, Regional Directors, Policy Planning Units, Legal Advisors and UN Directors and Permanent Representatives.
30. We consider the Königswinter Conferences, the Outlook Group and other groups to be key fora for outreach and feedback, and an opportunity to maintain a strong and close relationship with the foreign policy community. Also beyond this domain we consider close ties between our civil societies to be of great importance and we commit to engaging jointly in fostering their cooperation.
This Joint Declaration of Intent was signed in the German and English languages, both texts being equivalent.
London and Berlin, 30 June 2021
Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, UK
Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Germany
Taken from the FCDO press release.