During her visit to the Algerian capital Algiers, Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed bilateral relations, as well as regional and security issues with Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia.
At a joint press conference, Angela Merkel stressed that Germany intended to help diversify Algeria’s economy. It has hitherto been strongly dependent on oil and gas. The country has gone through a rough period as a result of the drop in world market prices in recent years. Angela Merkel pointed to the newly established energy partnership.
Cooperation on defence and migration
Germany and Algeria cooperate in the defence sector. Germany recognises Algeria’s legitimate security interests and intends to continue structural cooperation, said the Chancellor. It is also about fighting terrorism and ensuring internal security.
The Chancellor also praised the good cooperation with Algeria on the readmission of rejected asylum-seekers. "Those who have no entitlement to stay in Germany in the long term must be returned to their own countries. And for that we need partners – Algeria is one such partner". At the same time Angela Merkel stressed that there must be legal options for people to come to Germany to train or to take up employment as skilled workers.
She praised the efforts of Algeria, Africa’s largest country, to resolve the conflicts in the region. Algeria is, for instance, playing a very active part in Mali and also in the discussion about the future of Libya. She shares the views of the Algerian government, she said, "that the countries must find their own solutions and that external partners can only provide assistance – they cannot solve the problems".
Visit to a PASCH school
At the start of her visit to Algeria the Chancellor visited a German-Algerian partnership school. The PASCH (Schools – Partners for the Future) school Lycée Aicha Oum El Moumine is a state secondary school for girls founded in 1970, which offers a scientific track and a humanities track. Some 700 girls attend grades 10 to 12 and then sit the baccalaureat, the school leaving and university entrance qualification. German is offered as the third foreign language.
The PASCH school is part of a worldwide network of schools with close ties to Germany, established ten years ago. Today the network numbers around 1,800 schools.
In addition to economic development, it is important that civil society be as open and diverse as possible. Chancellor Angela Merkel wound up her visit to Algeria with a meeting with human rights lawyers, intellectuals and women’s rights activists.