Draw a clear line between "communities of interest" and real partners
Germany relies on its soft power capacity. Mistakenly, "globalisation" is understood to be first of all economic integration. However, the current European Neighbourhood Policy shows that a policy which is not linked to a clear political vision does not automatically lead to convergence. German foreign policy should therefore cooperate with its European and transatlantic partners to redefine the European neighbourhood policy.
As a highly integrated economic power, the Federal Republic's main aim is to protect its status as an exporting nation, its prosperity and its foreign trade.
There have long been calls, especially from abroad, for Germany's foreign policy role to be more proactive. This demand was also clearly expressed by German politicians at the Security Conference in February this year, in the speeches made by Federal President Joachim Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
With this demand comes the question of the interests and strategic objectives of Germany's foreign policy, a question which has long been regarded as taboo because German and European interests were considered as identical.
Nonetheless, a clear national interest does exist. As a highly integrated economic power, the Federal Republic's main aim is to protect its status as an exporting nation, its prosperity and its foreign trade. Asserting this does not mean creating a dichotomy between values and interests, as trade depends mainly on rule-based regimes. The strategic direction is also formulated in an ostensibly pithily-worded aspiration, namely to "shape globalisation".
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