The German government has a new Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, will take over from Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal President Joachim Gauck presented Frank-Walter Steinmeier with his certificate of discharge in Schloss Bellevue.
Joachim Gauck praised the work of the outgoing Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. "The name Steinmeier will continue to be linked to Germany’s foreign policy. It is synonymous with tireless efforts to continue to negotiate, to mediate and to convince."
Hitherto Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel also received his certificate of discharge from this office. Joachim Gauck stressed, "You have prepared Germany, as a location for industry, to face tomorrow’s challenges." The Federal President thanked Sigmar Gabriel for his commitment and dedication in his capacity as Federal Minister for Economic Affairs. He made special mention of the efforts made by the minister to secure and create jobs, and to foster growth.
Article 64 of the Basic Law, Germany’s constitution, stipulates that federal ministers shall be appointed and discharged by the Federal President on the recommendation of the Chancellor. Ministers are presented with a certificate by the Federal President, which only comes into effect once signed by the Chancellor.
Federal President Joachim Gauck wished Sigmar Gabriel luck and every success in his new post. Sigmar Gabriel, he said, is assuming the office of Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs at a difficult time. "We face the challenge of defending the European Union and the transatlantic partnership, and ensuring that both are made fit for the future."
Brigitte Zypries, hitherto Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and former Federal Minister of Justice will take over as the new Federal Minister for Economic Affairs. Joachim Gauck wished her every success and hoped that she would be able to build on all that she and Sigmar Gabriel had already initiated.
Following the presentation of certificates at Schloss Bellevue, Brigitte Zypries took the oath of office in the German Bundestag. In the early afternoon the official handover then took place at both ministries.
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier is leaving the Cabinet because he will be standing for election to the office of Federal President on 12 February.