ARMIN Laschet, widely projected to succeed Angela Merkel as German Chancellor, has thrown his support behind a bid to reach a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom, a decision that is unlikely to impress Brussels.
In a letter to Dr Reiner Haseloff, President of the Bundesrat, or Federal Council, which represents Germany’s 16 regions, Mr Laschet, the leader of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), expressed his support for the concept. According to a Bundesrat decision, both North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony want the Federal Council to pass a resolution “to deepen German-British cooperation.” Mr Laschet is the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia.
In a plenary session on Friday, the Bundesrat will vote whether to accept the two states’ proposals.
“The Bundesrat notes that the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a close historical bond that has lasted for decades,” according to the resolution.
“The resulting German-British friendship is characterised by a diversity that is reflected in the close relationships in political and economic areas, as well as in particular in civil society, and cultural and scientific areas.”
“This bond will continue regardless of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.”
“The Bundesrat welcomes the trade and cooperation agreement concluded between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and at the same time points out that beyond its area of regulation, there is scope for further understanding between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom on issues that exclusively concern the bilateral relationship,” according to the resolution.
According to the resolution, the Bundesrat applauded the Federal Government’s efforts to maintain and deepen the bilateral relationship with the United Kingdom after the United Kingdom exited the European Union.
It went on to say, ““It emphasises the willingness of the federal states to play a committed part in this.”
“A joint declaration setting out the priorities of this cooperation for the next few years should serve as the basis for intensified relations.”
The Bundesrat further stated that German-British collaboration was widespread throughout the federal states and municipalities.
“The exchange between German and British partners is constantly maintained and deepened, not least due to the pronounced commitment of civil society at regional and municipal level.” the statement stated.
“This exchange makes an important contribution to mutual understanding and should therefore be further intensified. “
As a result, it was critical to assist both German and British individuals in actively shaping the German-British friendship, with city partnerships playing a “special role” in this.
“The Bundesrat calls on the Federal Government to pay particular attention to the promotion of youth and schoolchildren exchanges with a view to intergovernmental exchange,” the resolution continued.
“As the experiences of the Franco-German and the German-Polish Youth Offices show, a joint Youth Office can make a special contribution to strengthening the pupil and youth exchanges.”
“The Federal Council would therefore welcome expanding the UK-German Connection accordingly.”
According to the resolution, it was also critical to promote relationships between universities.
“The promotion of the acquisition of the partner language, the promotion of the mutual recognition of school-leaving qualifications and the creation of German-British excellence instruments for research, education and training are of particular importance.” it stated.
“The state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has decided to forward the attached motion for a resolution of the Bundesrat on the structuring of the German-British relationship to the Bundesrat.” Mr Laschet wrote to Mr Haseloff.
“I would like to ask you to include the submission in accordance with Section 36 (2) of the Bundesrat’s rules of procedure on the agenda of the Bundesrat meeting on June 25, 2021 and then to assign it to the responsible committees for discussion.”