The Auswärtiges Amt, Germany’s Foreign Office, houses an elite, professional diplomatic corps that is well-socialized into a cohesive diplomatic culture, which makes for disciplined and coherent foreign policy messaging, sometimes at the cost of flexibility and autonomy. The Foreign Office’s role in decision-making has been eroded by the advent of new bureaucratic “actors” and the growing centralization of policy in the office of the Chancellor. Meanwhile, a combination of new challenges—the refugee crisis, Brexit, Russian aggression, and others—have been unsettling, particularly with the weakening of multilateral institutions, through which Germany prefers to act. The resignation of Angela Merkel as Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party leader in 2018 and her announcement that she will not seek another term as chancellor add to the uncertainties ahead.
KeywordsGermany Auswärtiges Amt Diplomacy Diplomats Foreign policy Foreign ministry Foreign office
The authors wish to thank the following diplomats and scholars who were consulted in researching and writing this chapter: Philipp Ackermann, Helga Barthe, Harald Braun, Anke Freibert, Maria Gosse, Helge Holleck, John Kornblum, Wolfgang Seibert, Klaus Scharioth, and Stephen Szabo.
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