A Greater Role in Europe

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - The newly formed coalition government that recently took office in Berlin, seeks to reinforce German leadership in European affairs by shuffling its foreign policy appointments. As the current personnel chart indicates, the re-staffing of the institutions strengthens EU foreign policy ties to Berlin and the focus on the interests of national influence becomes apparent. German objectives will be channeled through the EU foreign policy staff in Brussels, which forms the nucleus of the central diplomatic service for all of the EU member states. Whereas the previous director of the German staff in Brussels has been transferred to the chancellery in Berlin, the chief of staff for the outgoing Foreign Minister, Fischer, will take up her post in the EU headquarters. In this function, she is due to prompt the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. Further personnel changes bring geopolitical specialists for Eastern Europe and Northern Africa into the foreign ministry. The newly assigned Minister of State, Gernot Erler is known for his belligerent views.

Sub-Department Europe

The new foreign policy advisor to Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will be Christoph Heusgen (CDU), former director of the "Sub-Department Europe" in the Foreign Ministry. Heusgen played a major role in the initial phases of the creation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Since 1999, he has served as the EU High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana's, director of the political staff, in which all EU member states have their representatives. This panel is also known as "the strategic planning and early warning unit," is considered to be the central command post for foreign policy decisions in Brussels, and is the nucleus for a central EU diplomatic service. In his new function in Berlin, Heusgen will be responsible for all questions concerning EU foreign and security policy.

Integral Part of the Security Strategy

During his stay in Brussels, as advisor to former German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, Heusgen participated in the planning of the so-called EU Security Strategy paper. That paper was adopted by the European Council in December 2003. Among Heusgen's successes in Brussels is the subordination of the so-called Non-Government Organizations, to become part of the official EU ("Human Rights") foreign policy. "NGOs are today better enmeshed in a network, than they had been 20 years ago," the new chancellery advisor is quoted to have said. He held meetings in close succession with representatives of the alleged non governmental associations. "They are long since an integral part of the EU Security Strategy," is, in the meantime, being said about the so-called NGOs.[1]

Unbelievable Opportunity

If Heusgen is dispatched by the Chancellor to confer with Brussels, he can talk in German, because the designated CSFP Directrice of Planning will be Helga Schmid. Ms Schmid was in the inner circle of the German Foreign Ministers, since 1993 and most recently was the chief of staff for Josef Fischer. She accompanied the foreign minister on nearly all trips abroad.[2] The foreign ministry, one of the decisive crusaders for a "nucleus Europe" determined EU foreign policy, insures for itself, with Heusgen's assignment of Schmid to the post in Brussels, the predominating influence on the EU High Representative. "Germany has an unbelievable opportunity to play a decisive role in Europe," predicted Heusgen.[3]

Problems

As demanded by the new state minister in the foreign ministry, Guenter Gloser (SPD), the EU should particularly intensify its policy relationship with its neighboring southern states. It is necessary to take the "time (...) to tackle these problems, awaiting a solution there," demands Gloser, who has transactions with the North African states through his various functions.[4] Gloser is the chairman of the German-Maghrebian Parliamentary Group in the Federal Parliament and was chosen rapporteur for the EU - Mediterranean Policy. Among the North African "problems" seen by the outgoing government, is above all that of refugees, whose transit routes toward Europe traverse the Maghreb states. In cooperation with Gloser, the new Interior Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, (CDU) will also continue to stress the demands of his predecessor, Otto Schily, (SPD), for the concentration of refugees in North African camps.[5]

Aggressive

Gernot Erler, the second designated state minister in the Foreign Ministry, had his focus on Eastern Europe. Among Erler's functions are "Coordinator of the Federal Government for German-Russian Civil Society Cooperation", he is member of the German Steering Committee of the "Petersburger Dialog", Chairman of the German-Kazakh Society, and the German-Bulgarian Forum and President of the Southeast Europe Society. Known as an aggressive politician from the belligerent wing of the SPD, he has distinguished himself, last year, through his support for the putsch in the Ukraine [6] and has been appealing for a long time for associating the Southern Caucasus states to the EU.[7]

Put Through

To the double-role played by Erler is the integration of his party's hesitant war proponents into whatever the respective government policy is at the moment. Erler officiates as the assistant speaker of the group "Parliamentary Leftists" within the SPD's parliamentary group and boasts of being among the sponsors of the Darmstaedter Signal, an anti-war association, with SPD background. He was successful in legitimizing, within his party circles, the internationally illegal NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. Even the succeeding military interventions have met with his approval. It is supposed that Erler will further accentuate the military course of German foreign policy, which enjoys support across party lines, and put through this policy even against the skepticism of liberal and conservative officials.

Explicitly

This is proof of the truth behind the declarations of representatives of the governing parties, to the effect that the new government insists on following a policy of a nuanced continuity and on envisaging explicitly the extension of German military interventions under the banner of "peace missions."

[1] Humanitäre Lösungen für humanitäre Krisen?; Freitag 15.04.2005
[2] Fischers Büroleiterin berät EU-Außenpolitiker Solana; Financial Times Deutschland 17.11.2005
[3] Merkels Welt-Erklärer; Die Zeit 47/2005
[4] Ansprache von Günter Gloser anlässlich der Eröffnung des Workshops der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung "Barcelona and beyond - many ways, one goal?" am 10. November 2005 in Berlin
[5] see also The Libyan Project, Undesirable and Detention Camp Specialists
[6] see also Sozialdemokratische Drohungen und Antisemitische "Kultur"
[7] see also SPD-Außenpolitiker: Deutschland und EU sollen Südkaukasus "befrieden"