Publication details

The “New” German Foreign Policy and its Responsibility Discourse



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description Germany has positioned itself as a nation that holds “special responsibilities” in international relations. “Responsibility” has long been a traditional hallmark of German foreign and security policy. In recent years, German foreign and security policy has been hit by a new wave of a “responsibility debate”, sparked by seminal speeches of Federal President Joachim Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Munich Security Conference in 2014, marking the beginning of a “new” German foreign policy. Top German political representatives unanimously called for Germany to take on “more responsibility in the world” in order to respond to multiple European and international crises. Ever since, the term “responsibility” has become a buzzword within German foreign policy vocabulary. Its meaning, however, remains ambiguous. What does “responsibility” stand for? Where does it stem from and what are its implications? By answering these questions, the paper aims to explore the meaning of “responsibility” in the German foreign policy discourse and the degree to which it moved beyond a mere rhetorical exercise.
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