In recent decades, the world has become increasingly integrated. In Europe, thanks to the civilising power of the European Union, we are experiencing a very long period of peaceful coexistence, longer than ever before. Borders have also been opened worldwide, economic relations have been globalised, and cross-border contacts have become a matter of course. More and more people live in freedom and democracy. Fewer and fewer people live in extreme poverty.
A formative experience in recent years, both European and international, has been that in many places the world has been made a better place through cooperation. At the Climate Change Conference in Paris, we saw what can be achieved if there is the will to work together. Similarly, it gives us hope that, with persistent diplomacy, it has been possible to conclude an agreement with Iran on the use of nuclear energy. The United Nations' voluntary commitment to meet global sustainability targets by 2030 was also a success of international cooperation.
But at the same time, this world is facing dramatic challenges. The Syrian civil war has developed into an extremely cruel regional proxy war, in which Russia, alongside the Assad regime, is creating facts with brutal military intervention and the inhuman bombing of civilians. The "IS" has established a reign of terror in Syria, Iraq and Libya and threatens Europe and the rest of the world with terrorist attacks.
More people than ever before have been forced to abandon their homes. On the African continent, people are fleeing from violence, hunger and economic despair. At the same time, the climate crisis is exacerbating existing global inequalities. Conflicts about resources such as water and raw materials increase tensions in many regions of the world. Economic success and new prosperity are juxtaposed with inequality and ecological overexploitation.
President Putin's increasingly aggressive superpower policy has made Russia a threat to the European peace. War has been waged in Ukraine, the EU's neighbour, ever since Russia annexed parts of the country in violation of international law. As a result, the tensions between Russia and the NATO alliance have revived the logic of deterrence that was long thought to have been a thing of the past.
The presidency of Donald Trump in the USA has also raised fundamental questions regarding the frame of reference for united Germany’s policy since 1990. Plans for nationalist isolation and trade wars, the denial of the climate crisis, the negation of the Geneva Convention with regard to the requirement to help refugees and the prohibition of torture undermine the joint action so urgently required. The challenges wanting global engagement and a peace policy could hardly be greater.
We want to make our contribution to a life in the coming decades of the 21st century politically peaceful and safe, ecologically sustainable and socially just. The international community must assume responsibility for global development opportunities and the enforcement and realization of human rights. We can achieve this if we continue to develop Europe, strengthen international institutions and ensure that our sense of justice does not stop at borders.
It is a matter of cooperation rather than nationalism. We firmly believe in the necessity and advantage of multilateral cooperation. We will best achieve greater security in the world if we continue to cooperate internationally and strengthen the common European democracy.
We want Germany to assume more global responsibility. For example, we want to finally make the promised 0.7 per cent of economic output available for global development and thus put an end to the export of weapons to crisis regions and dictatorships. We want Germany to do more to resolve conflicts and crises or - even better - to prevent them.
The fight against the causes of flight and poverty may not be just an empty phrase. We want to offer protection to those who despite everything flee to Germany from war, violence or persecution. But also with regard to immigration, Germany must finally understand that it must adapt its laws of citizenship to the reality of the 21st century.
A strong, democratic and reformed European Union is precisely what we need in a world of uncertainty. We want Germany to do more to unite and strengthen Europe. To date, the European Union is the best example today of how cooperation can work to the benefit of all. And as such it provides hope: A more peaceful and better world is possible.
Read the op-ed by Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, chairpersons of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen on us.boell.org: Looking ahead - Europe’s offer for a new transatlantic agenda