Security Policy in the Wake of the Arab Spring
Enlarge image Guido Westerwelle und Thomas de Maizière meet their French counterparts (© Photothek/Trutschel) In Müllheim, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière met with their French counterparts on October 1. The special session of the Franco-German Defence and Security Council looking at current security policy challenges was held where the Franco-German Brigade has its headquarters.
The talks centered on the Syria conflict and the situation in the Sahel region. Germany and France advocate a political solution to the Syria conflict. To this end, they intend to provide stronger support for the Opposition in Syria. The focus currently is on alleviating the suffering of the people on the ground and stabilizing the situation in Syria’s neighboring countries.
Enlarge image Westerwelle and de Maizière during the talks (© Photothek/Trutschel) Alongside the Syria conflict, the consultations focused on the situation in the Sahel region. Islamist extremists are currently controlling northern Mali. It is feared the region could become a safe haven for international terrorists. Germany and France thus want to work to prevent further destabilization. Foreign Minister Westerwelle explained after the talks that non-military support in Mali was also ultimately a question of Europe’s security. Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière said all activities had to be led by the Africans themselves.
The Franco-German Defence and Security Council was set up in 1988 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty. It is the most important bilateral forum for all security and defence affairs between Germany and France. The Franco-German Brigade was initially a symbol for the will to cooperate on military policy. With the Eurocorps, it now provides a basis for European armed forces as part of the European security and defence policy.