| 19 May 2024, Sunday |

Germany’s new foreign minister puts climate ‘high up’ on diplomatic agenda

Before starting her first official trip to Paris on Thursday, newly instated German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed the importance of tackling the climate crisis on her diplomatic agenda
“I’m going to give international climate policies the space they deserve on the diplomatic agenda from day one,” the foreign minister, a member of the Green Party, said in a statement.
“The most important task in diplomacy is preventing, containing and preferably solving crises,” Baerbock added. “And no crisis is a greater threat to the future of humanity than the climate crisis.”
Later Thursday, Baerbock travels to Brussels and will visit Germany’s eastern neighbor Poland.
Like previous German foreign ministers, Baerbock made Paris the first destination on her inaugural tour of European capitals. Baerbock called this not only a favored tradition, but also important due to the fact that “Germany has no closer friend than France.”
She met with her French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and said in a press conference afterward that they had discussed the two countries’ shared goals as well as climate policy, the crisis at the Poland-Belarus border and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
She also called for a common response to the case of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai and the possibility of diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February.
The new foreign minister said in her statement that the aim of the inaugural trip was also to reaffirm trust with Germany’s neighbors.
“The most important thing for me during this inaugural visit is to listen to our closest partners. We won’t pursue our own ideas and interests over the heads of our neighborst, and definitely not at their cost,” she said.
She went on to stress the importance of the European Union’s “basic values,” adding, “We cannot allow Europe’s foundations to crumble away, in particular with the rule of law and human rights.”
Baerbock will visit Warsaw on Thursday, where the governing right-wing Law and Justice Party has been at loggerheads with the EU over the independence of the Polish judiciary.
Baerbock had run as the chancellor candidate for the Green Party in September’s parliamentary election in Germany. While surfing a brief wave of popularity after the announcement of her candidacy, she later fell in the polls due in part to claims of plagiarism.
Nevertheless, the Green Party achieved its highest ever share of the vote, coming in third behind the Social Democrats and former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.
After several months of negotiations, the Greens, the SPD and the Free Democrats (FDP) formed a three-way coalition that was voted in on Wednesday.