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Role in the international arena

Federal President Joachim Gauck meets the President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres Jerusalem, Israel, 29 May 2012 Federal President Joachim Gauck meets the President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres © Steffen Kugler

Under Article 59 (1) of the Basic Law, the Federal President represents the Federal Republic of Germany in matters of international law, concludes treaties with foreign states on its behalf, accredits German diplomats posted abroad and receives all foreign ambassadors to Germany.

Many challenges of the 21st century can only be mastered through international cooperation. The Federal President uses his contacts abroad and with international institutions to support the efforts to resolve global problems. These include the preservation of peace, the fight against terrorism, protection of the environment and the climate, financial and monetary issues, energy supply and international trade.

The Federal President’s activities in the foreign policy realm often give rise to projects and initiatives for which he assumes the patronage. Examples of this are the “Potsdam Encounters” between Germany and Russia as well as German-Israeli and German-African youth exchange programmes.

The dialogue among cultures and religions is close to the Federal President’s heart. Particularly in the age of global communications, the exchange among cultures as well as different religious and ideological groups is especially vital for removing reservations and fostering mutual understanding.

The Federal President cultivates very close relations with European neighbours, as well as the unique relationship with Israel. He wants Europe to promote its values and convictions with one voice and boost global cooperation. To this end, he focuses on the common ground among countries at different stages of development and regards development policy as a long-term commitment.