Global Perspectives | Policy Paper | August 2017

GP Policy Paper “Need for new Alliances?”

German and European commitment in times of populist isolationism

Publication Download:

GP Policy Paper "Need for new Alliances?"

Please note: This GP Policy Paper is only available in German language.

Executive Summary

Starting Point 
The US’ withdrawal from international institutions and agreements requires Germany and Europe to assume global responsibility. This applies in particular to the interfaces between the topics of climate protection, security policy and development. However, there is still a considerable discrepancy between countries claiming commitment, their actual will to commit and the objective scope of German and European foreign policy.

First Steps to Change 
Successful political action in the areas of climate policy, security and development requires democracy, legitimacy and sustainability. These aspects challenge populist, isolationist aspirations. Even Germany, the largest EU member state, can only assert its power through joint action. The EU is the central place for conflict management and developing solutions, which in some cases can be applied globally. The second term of US President Obama in particular can serve as a catalyst for politically responsible integrative action in the areas of ​​climate policy, security and development.

Transformation Efforts
German and European climate policy can support innovation in a great way. In the area of climate policy, the emissions trading system in the EU offers an innovative approach, even if it still has functional deficits. This also applies to Germany’s transition to renewable energy, as a specific expression of Germany’s transformation efforts. Although not all conflicts of objectives have been resolved in this regard, its peace-building effects are internationally acknowledged.

New Alliances 
What will partnerships look like in future, for that Germany can put into action its transformation efforts? The content can be linked to the merger of climate and development policy objectives for the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In order to avoid international politics to be determined by individual states which demonstrate an obstructionist attitude, partnerships must be systematically developed – including ad hoc coalitions with progress-oriented countries, which take initiative and make far-reaching agreements. Another strategy for overcoming obstructionism is linking issues: integrating security, climate and development policies can help develop an agenda of preventive foreign policy and gradually bring about an environmental, social and peace dividend.


  • Wolfgang Schmitt, former Director Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
  • Dennis Tänzler, Director International Climate Politics adelphi
  • Michael Werz, Senior Fellow Center for American Progress


  • Global Perspectives Initiative

More Publications on This Topic:

Publication Download:

GP Policy Paper "Need for new Alliances?"


Stiftung Mercator 

Warning: Use of undefined constant GPI_PDF_BUTTON - assumed 'GPI_PDF_BUTTON' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/customer/www/ on line 277

Save as PDF

More Publications on This Topic: