The conduct of German foreign policy is characterised by a number of similar yet distinct features compared with other EU member states. Germany shares with them the expansion of the foreign policy agenda and a steadily growing variety of actors due to economic interdependence and the gradual erosion of the former domestic/foreign policy ‘divide’. This has created enormous challenges for the Auswärtiges Amt,1 the German foreign ministry. The need to cope with the changed international environment2 and increased coordination efforts at the national level contrast with budget cuts and public criticism of excessively ‘heavy’ administrative structures. Those responsible for daily diplomatic business even publicly3 warn against models of a ‘lean state’ (‘schlanker Staat’), and, as part of it, a ‘lean’ foreign service. This is not surprising given the enormously enlarged agenda the diplomats have to manage. Classical tasks such as judicial and consular affairs have been considerably extended through economic interdependence and the growth of tourism. For Germany, unification added another 17 million Germans to the population. There are also relatively new foreign policy tasks such as ‘lobbying’ for Germany in the host country beyond traditional government circles (‘public diplomacy’) to avoid misperceptions (as in the case of the 1989 upheavals in the former GDR and Eastern Europe), and taking charge of official German visitors who have become particularly numerous.


Foreign Policy Foreign Affair Foreign Ministry Maastricht Treaty Political Division 
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Official reports

  1. Auswärtiges Amt (ed.), 125 Jahre Auswärtiges Amt. Festschrift (Bonn, 1995)Google Scholar
  2. Auswärtiges Amt (ed.), Deutsche Außenpolitik 1995. Beitrag des Auswärtigen Amtes zum Jahresbericht der Bundesregierung 1995 (Bonn, 1996)Google Scholar
  3. Hartmann, Peter ‘Generalisten im Dienste der deutschen Außenpolitik’, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 October 1996, pp. 12–13Google Scholar
  4. Herwarth, Hans von Bericht der Kommission für die Reform des Auswärtigen Dienstes (Bonn, 1971)Google Scholar

Books and articles

  1. Bulmer, Simon and Paterson, William E. ‘Germany in the European Union: gentle giant or emergent leader?’, in International Affairs 1 (1996), pp. 9–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Eberwein, Wolf-Dieter and Kaiser, Karl (eds) Deutschlands neue Außenpolitik, Bd. 4 Institutionen und Ressourcen (München, 1998)Google Scholar
  3. Grau, Ulrich and Schmidt-Bremme, Götz Gesetz über den Auswärtigen Dienst. Kommentar (Baden-Baden, 1996)Google Scholar
  4. Nordenskjöld, Fritjof von and Luy, Julius Georg ‘Der Auswärtige Dienst auf dem Weg nach Berlin’, in Auswärtiger Dienst, II (1995), pp. 4–11Google Scholar
  5. Ploetz, Hans-Friedrich von ‘Der Auswärtige Dienst vor neuen Herausforderungen’, in Eberwein and Kaiser, op. cit., pp. 59–74Google Scholar
  6. Rometsch, Dietrich ‘The Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union: Patterns of Institutional and Administrative Interaction’, IGS Discussions Paper Series No. 95/2, The University of BirminghamGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elfriede Regelsberger

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