By State Minister Dr. Florian Herrmann, Head of Bavarian State Chancellery and Minister of State for Federal and Media Affairs
The Bavarian State Government is firmly committed to the transatlantic partnership and to NATO. We nuture this friendship quite deliberately. Our close contact with Consul General Timothy Liston, working relations with the Embassy in Berlin and personal meetings with members of the U.S. Congress in Munich last year reaffirmed our mutual trust. The U.S. has been Germany’s most loyal ally for more than 65 years. To this day, American soldiers, both men and women, ensure peace and security in our country and in Europe.
We in Bavaria take great pride in being the largest region of deployment of U.S. land forces in Europe, with more than 14,000 soldiers and about 37,400 U.S. civilians. It is here where many soldiers, male or female, have found their second home or even the love of their lives. That is also why ties across the Atlantic are very strong. Only last October Dr. Markus Söder, our Minister President, awarded the campaign streamer to U.S. Army Europe: the highest honour the Free State can accord to a military organisation. Valuing our staunch partnership and decade-long friendship with the U.S. in the presence of U.S. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth was a deliberate signal from Bavaria in this troubled time.
The strained security situation in Eastern Europe alone shows how important American engagement is for us. We observe fighting in eastern Ukraine, an increase in troop movement on NATO’s eastern flank, hybrid warfare and cyberattacks. This is the first time since the end of the Cold War that deterrence in Europe has become necessary again in order to maintain peace and freedom. All this we observe in Europe with mounting concern.
We therefore appreciate all the more that U.S. President Biden has signaled a clear commitment to Europe as an ally and has reinforced the international obligations of the U.S. – NATO, WHO and the Paris climate agreement. The signals of détente in transatlantic trade policy are also of importance.
Looking beyond the boundaries of Europe, we must all be clear that the West is faced with a variety of global challenges, which we have to overcome by joint endeavor if we want to maintain our model of liberal society, our common values. It seems to me that in this context our alliance with the U.S. is somewhat underrated. For the U.S. is and will always be our key partner for solving the challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change, terrorism and systemic competition with rising China. The U.S. are the key partner we share common values with.
The trajectory of U.S. foreign-policy for the decades to come has become quite clear – an increasing focus on the Indo-Pacific region and at the same time continued cooperation in the transatlantic area, always with an eye on the systemic competition with China. In this respect the U.S. is expecting Germany and Europe to take a clearer stance in future. Therefore the U.S. is right to demand from Europe to take on greater responsibility for the defense of our continent and for providing for our own security. We need greater engagement of the EU in foreign and security policy.
The longstanding euro-atlantic partnership needs prove that it is capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century. To this end it also has to find new answers. We in Bavaria will do everything we can to make that happen. We are proud to be the home of the world’s largest and most important conference on foreign and security policy, the Security Conference MSC, which has been held in Munich each year since 1963 and now is scheduled for February 2022.
The MSC plays a major role in promoting international dialogue, which is also true of the G7 Summit, taking place for the second time in Elmau this year. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the world to Bavaria and will seize every opportunity to live up to our responsibility for the transatlantic we alliance and a stable international order. We in Bavaria embrace our joint international responsibility, our friendship with the U.S. and our responsibilities within NATO. There is no alternative.
For further information
Bavarian State Chancellery: https://www.bayern.de/staatskanzlei/staatsminister-dr-florian-herrmann/
Images © Bavarian State Chancellery.