Stepping up bilateral dialogue

New Zealand's Prime Minister in Berlin Stepping up bilateral dialogue

Although they are geographically so far apart, Germany and New Zealand have agreed to step up cooperation, underscored Chancellor Angela Merkel following her meeting with Prime Minister John Key at the Federal Chancellery.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key

New Zealand's Prime Minister and the Chancellor underlined the many shared interests of their two countries

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

"Our relations have a new intensity," said Chancellor Angela Merkel after her talks with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. Recent bilateral meetings have revitalised relations between the two countries, she stated. As well as bilateral matters, the two leaders discussed general issues of regional relevance and common concerns relating to the fight against terrorism.

Youth exchange to be further promoted

The two sides agreed on cooperation arrangements, in particular with a view to encouraging contacts between young people from Germany and New Zealand, stressed Angel Merkel. This can take the form of internships and work and travel programmes, she explained. "We have agreed on a scholarship exchange and have already implemented some of the points on our common agenda," she reported.

In the field of agriculture too, cooperation is planned. Both Germany and New Zealand enjoy a very high level of agricultural production and processing. "There are openings here for dialogue," underscored Angela Merkel.

Strengthening trade and investment

Pivotal to the talks were free trade issues. New Zealand is already part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. "If we take a look at what is happening in that part of the world, we cannot fail to be impressed. This spurs us on to speed up negotiations on TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) with the USA," said the Chancellor.

Far-reaching agreement exists between Germany and New Zealand in terms of free trade in general. Both sides stress the importance of the forthcoming negotiations between New Zealand and the EU regarding a high-quality, substantial free trade agreement.

"It is good that following my visit, the European Union is also ready to negotiate a free trade agreement with New Zealand," said Angela Merkel. That will be to the mutual benefit of both sides. Prime Minister John Key also expressed his optimism, "We are hopeful that this will result in a free trade agreement with the EU."

Both sides welcomed the recent successful conclusion of negotiations on a partnership agreement, which provides a formal framework for relations between New Zealand and the EU in the fields of politics, security, trade and investment. It is the foundation on which to further build relations over the decades to come, and is to be implemented swiftly in full by both sides.

Spotlight on international cooperation

In the international sphere too, Germany and New Zealand intend to establish a closer dialogue in future. The two countries have common interests in the field of major international developments including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine and in current policy on refugees and migration, which are of interest to New Zealand and also a serious concern for Europe, reaffirmed both sides.

John Key praised Germany’s leading role in trying to resolve the Syrian refugee crisis. New Zealand has declared itself willing to help and to take in 750 refugees as an emergency measure. "We will invest additional resources and funds in the refugee issue," said John Key. New Zealand, for instance, intends to improve the situation of the refugees living in camps in Jordan.

Joint action on climate change

With a view to the opening session of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on Monday, which both leaders attended, they both advocated the adoption of an ambitious, long-term, comprehensive and legally binding agreement.

"The climate agreement will have a roadmap, on the basis of which the countries will endeavour to make significant progress and at least firmly anchor the target of keeping global warming down to a rise of no more than 2° Celsius," stressed New Zealand’s Prime Minister.