Effective and coherent foreign and security policy
We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to assuming more responsibility in foreign and security policy by Europe and Germany. On the basis of guaranteeing freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights, we want to implement a value-based foreign policy as a reliable partner and responsible mediator. Diplomacy and sustainable conflict resolution are top priorities to ensure peace and stability within the international community. In order to effectively counter global threats and transnational challenges, we are committed to cooperation, international collaboration and against unilateral efforts. Even in countries with which there is no direct partnership, we rely on dialogue for an effective and coherent foreign policy.
Among other things, we want to strengthen the European External Action Service (EEAS). For Europe’s ability to guarantee its security and stability and to pursue an independent foreign policy with the necessary resources, it is crucial that foreign and security policy challenges are viewed realistically. Strategic goals must be set in accordance with the commitment to achieve these goals.
Involvement of civil society actors and public diplomacy
Foreign policy must not be a project exclusive to the political elite. Here, we again remain true to our principle of „citizens for citizens“. This is why we FREIE WÄHLER strive to intensify continuously strengthen existing contacts with like-minded civil society actors in other countries. Town twinning can be an example of this. We want to promote our values through targeted public diplomacy, the long-term involvement of organised civil actors, and the expansion of intergovernmental relations at this level, in order to promote them the centre of our society. A successful European strategy must align national policies in crises with local priorities and concerns to promote local community support.
Cooperation and commitment in international organizations
Waning support from western countries for several international institutions, such as the UN, OSCE and NATO, which are considered cornerstones of the liberal international order, is worrying. A lack of consultation and conflict resolution between the major powers also weaken these organizations. Our foreign policy action must be embedded multilaterally, therefore, we FREIE WÄHLER want to commit to the complete financing of the budget of these institutions and to strive for increased engagement of the EU and Germany within the organizations. We also strive to expand cooperation with regional alliances such as the Arab League and the African Union. In this context, we also stand for sustainable reliability at the international level, as well as loyalty to contracts and alliances in international contracts, conventions and institutions.
Positions on security and defence
Expansion of European cooperation regarding security and defence
Far-reaching shifts in power in the world and rapid technological change are increasingly contributing to a feeling of fear and unrest. We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to making the EU more independent in terms of security policy in order to meet its increasing international responsibility. For this purpose, we need a common EU security and defence policy (CSDP) that is willing and able to express its own interests and to enforce them if necessary. At the same time, we also want to systematically expand military cooperation between the EU member states with the aim of strengthening the EU’s security capacities. In order to achieve this, the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) must be fully implemented and adequate funding must be guaranteed. Defence cooperation should also be promoted using various CSDP components such as the European Defence Fund. Previously unused operational tools for rapid response, such as EU battlegroups, which are a useful tool for multinational cooperation and interoperability, could be used as an opportunity. It is important to recognize that the threats of today do not know any national borders and therefore no EU member state is able to counter them alone. In addition, joint planning, development and use of defence and security saves money for European taxpayers. The cost of non-cooperation by the European Union External Action Service is currently estimated at over 25 billion euros per year. For these reasons, double expenditure must be reduced sustainably in order to achieve a better cost-benefit ratio and to enable a more effective security and defence strategy.
Strengthening NATO and the Federal Armed Forces
While the military superiority of the West, for example with regard to NATO military technology, has remained unchanged for a long time, other countries are now making great strides in space capabilities, artificial intelligence or supersonic missiles. (Western) military superiority in international conflicts is no longer a matter of course. While only a minority of NATO members achieved the 2 percent GDP target, we continue to strive to achieve this defence spending intent to sustainably intensify collective defence efforts. Simultaneously, the political dimension of the NATO and the relationship between EU and NATO should be strengthened. However, parallel structures to the NATO must not be built up, but cooperation within the organization itself must be intensified. In this context, we FREIE WÄHLER are also committed to ensuring that the Federal Armed Forces are operational. The current procurement system of the Federal Armed Forces is not suitable to meet the quantitative and qualitative armament needs in a timely manner. Consequently, the functionality of the Federal Armed Forces must be guaranteed and new areas such as the organisational area CIS (Cyber and Information Space) must be expanded.
Hybrid threats and cyber security
With new actors, hybrid threats, and technological advances, the Internet has become a criminal sphere that promotes existing types of crime and creates entirely new forms of crime. Cyber security issues also have a direct impact on traditional security issues, such as nuclear deterrence. If cyberattacks on nuclear facilities occur, uncertainty and poor decision-making could lead to instability in an already fragile nuclear weapons regime. While cyber security efforts in recent years have focused primarily on large-scale attacks on critical infrastructure, cyberattacks on companies, individuals or states are increasingly becoming the norm in defining cyber security. We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to adapting our security policy to these new challenges. Therefore, corresponding structures in Germany, the NATO and at EU level such as the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the European Cyber Security Organization (ECSO) should be strengthened.
Arms control and (nuclear) disarmament
The emerging multipolar security landscape and accelerating technological progress have triggered a crisis in arms control. Particularly with regard to comparatively new areas such as space or artificial intelligence, new efforts to renew arms control and transparency measures are urgently required.
To us FREIE WÄHLER, nuclear weapons are a global security risk. We want their number to be reduced and, above all, the number of nuclear powers to stop increasing. However, new actors are increasing the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation as bilateral contracts are abandoned or threatened. Nuclear disarmament must continue to be an integral part of our security and defence policy. In this sense, it is essential to maintain the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a cornerstone of the global non-proliferation strategy and nuclear disarmament. Similarly, the EU must see initiatives that strengthen arms control and contribute to effective disarmament as priorities in its international efforts. Therefore, we FREIE WÄHLER also consider the agreement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran from 2015 to still be expedient, which is why we want to maintain it.
Advances in science and technology are also raising concerns that restrictions on the use of chemical and biological weapons may be ignored or softened. The use of these types of weapons is characterized by arbitrary violence, which causes permanent damage to both human and animal life, which remains even after the end of a conflict. These types of weapons also have catastrophic effects on biodiversity and the environment. We FREIE WÄHLER therefore want to work vigorously and in accordance with international humanitarian law to ensure that existing contracts and conventions are observed in this area. Disarmament and arms limitation are not only instruments for maintaining world peace and international security, they are also crucial means to mitigate the effects of an armed conflict.
Fighting terrorism and transnational organized crime
We FREIE WÄHLER want stronger and more consistent European cooperation in the international fight against terrorism and crime. In order to find an effective way to combat these threats, sufficient resources, for example for cooperation between secret services, must be made available and existing information exchange initiatives must be expanded.
In the fight against terrorism, we call for the development of a more comprehensive approach that includes not only the traditional counter-terrorism instruments (military and police), but also prevention, intervention and de-radicalization programs. In order to avoid unwanted negative consequences, it is important that certain groups and communities do not feel stigmatized when using such programs. The goal must also be to combat (transnational and international) right-wing extremist, radical left-wing and religiously inspired terrorism alike.
The diversity and volume of illegal flows - be it money, goods or people - pose an enormous challenge for law enforcement. As one of the main causes of the emergence and continuation of armed conflict, organized crime requires extensive cross-border cooperation as these groups increasingly resemble loose global networks. We therefore call for the EU security agencies OLAF, CEPOL, Europol and Eurojust to be given broader powers to act, and we want the security authorities of the EU member states to work together smoothly across Europe.
In addition, illegal financial flows and money laundering enable criminal and terrorist organizations to continue their operations, for instance by purchasing weapons or buying political influence. At the same time, they put pressure on national budgets and weaken national economies by promoting corruption. As a result, breaking up these illegal financial flows is vital. We FREIE WÄHLER are therefore committed to combating money laundering, both at European and international level, to combat corruption and terrorism and to increase the resilience of the financial system.
We FREIE WÄHLER want to build a common European border protection. To achieve this, we strive to sustainably strengthen Frontex through appropriate staff and resources. This way, we force a common European border protection unit, consisting of contingents provided by the member states. This unit must be able to effectively monitor the entire EU external border.
Climate, energy and resources
For many people, climate change is already a security threat as large parts of the world are already suffering from the devastating effects of climate change and the progressive environmental degradation. While the effects of climate change on armed domestic conflicts have so far been limited, they are expected to increase with global temperatures. The same applies to interstate conflicts, as climate change can exacerbate resource scarcity or create new and controversial abundance. We FREIE WÄHLER see an independent energy supply in Europe, alongside national and international climate protection, as central future tasks of our society. A regional efficient and affordable supply of renewable energies as well as sustainable climate protection measures are particularly important to us. It is therefore important to us to combat climate change internationally, to combat hunger in the world, and to ensure resource security and energy supply.
We also want to organize European access to rare earths, industrial minerals and fossil raw materials for energy generation in partnership with the corresponding countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Cooperation is particularly important in order not to reproduce (neo) colonial structures and to prevent the one-sided exploitation of past times. The overarching goal must also be to reuse raw materials in the cycle and to promote alternatives to fossil fuels. It must be clear that the protected areas in the Arctic and Antarctic are preserved and that their inviolability is achieved.
Positions on human rights
Human rights and protection of minorities
We FREIE WÄHLER want our commitment in the EU, in international organizations like the UN and in intergovernmental relations to give special protection to threatened and marginalized minorities and to support them in protecting their fundamental rights. In our efforts to promote and protect human rights at national and international level, our efforts must particularly aim to support the strengthening of existing human rights mechanisms of the UN. The advancing development of international initiatives and laws for the protection of human rights must also be promoted accordingly. Serious violations of human rights or serious violations of international law must be punished accordingly. To do this, it is necessary to create a flexible and reactive EU-wide sanctions regime that would make it possible to act against everyone, governmental and non-governmental actors and other institutions that are responsible for or involved in serious violations of human rights or serious violations of international law. We are committed to human rights worldwide and try to contribute to peaceful solutions through diplomacy in areas of conflict in which minorities and civil society activists are most often at risk.
International institutions are being exploited by autocratic states more often than in the past, which is why we must demand effective human rights protection through the rule of law and prevent targeted abuse of political power.
Support of democracy in other countries
When it comes to supporting democracy in other countries, we FREIE WÄHLER want to be a reliable partner and responsible mediator. In violent conflicts, we pursue a stabilisation of the affected areas. This is why we FREIE WÄHLER want to use the existing European contacts in the civil societies to the countries concerned to support them on the way to a liberal order. However, we must not impose our western system of liberal democracy onto other countries. We cannot and do not want to enforce or prescribe our values such as democracy, the rule of law and the observance of fundamental rights by changing regimes or by imposing them from above, but by promoting them in civil society from below.
Regionalism: International partnership and cooperation
Even though we need a strong and competitive Europe, it should not be enforced at the expense of our good transatlantic relationships. We FREIE WÄHLER want to maintain and expand our partnership on equal footing in mutual interest.
We FREIE WÄHLER want to maintain our partnership with the UK after Brexit. In this context, we want to support a model based on the example of Norway, a country that is not an EU member but a NATO ally. Norway is intertwined with the EU internal market and part of the Schengen area; thus closely linked to the EU in the areas of security and defence policy. Although Norway contributes to a number of EU programs, it does not formally participate in EU decision making. Under the right conditions, such a cooperation could be the basis for equal cooperation in order to minimize the damage for both the EU and the United Kingdom.
However, the UK would first have to meet certain conditions in order to follow the Norwegian model. First, a consensus to find sustainable solutions to challenges like the Irish border problem must be reached within the country. Membership in the European Economic Area (EEA) is also only possible for the EU or the member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The UK would therefore have to join the EFTA and then become a member of the EEA to follow the Norwegian model. However, we FREIE WÄHLER are convinced that these steps can be implemented in the long term and are central to a successful partnership.
Despite the existing differences, we FREIE WÄHLER want to continue the mutual dialogue with Russia as equal partners and particularly to intensify our contacts with its civil society. The NATO-Russia Council is also an important medium for more transparency and mutual exchange.
The state of fundamental freedoms and human rights in Turkey has increasingly moved away from EU values in recent years. This deterioration particularly affects the freedom of the press and freedom of expression and thus the situation of journalists, artists, academics and lawyers in the country. In response, the EU has practically frozen accession negotiations with the Turkish Republic since June 2018. Given the current governance and the situation of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in the areas, we FREIE WÄHLER support this decision.
However, EU relations with Turkey had been characterized by productive partnerships in many areas for decades. Therefore, other forms of cooperation should continue to be promoted. Turkey remains an essential strategic partner of the EU on issues such as migration, security, counterterrorism and the economy as well as through cooperation in NATO. The efforts of the EU and the member states should also aim to continue to support democratic and pro-European forces within Turkish civil society and to develop these relationships in a targeted manner.
The need to grapple with China’s growing influence and international politics is steadily increasing. Europe’s policy on China is still not coherent. We FREIE WÄHLER stand, especially as an important trading partner, in coordination with our international partners, for a self-confident appearance on an equal footing with China and increasing independence in trade relations. China’s growing role in diplomacy, international security, global trade and investment, concerted activities in Africa and the “Belt and Road Initiative” also increase the need to prioritize the protection of human rights in these areas.
We FREIE WÄHLER want to deepen the cooperation with the countries of the African continent as political partners with a common strategy. In doing this, we want to help implement the African Union’s Agenda 2063 Europe-wide, in order to participate in socio-economic transformations in the areas of trade, migration and investment on the African continent. In addition to economic and trade relations, we are also committed to putting education in the focus of cooperation. This is intended to strengthen national education systems at all levels. EU efforts must go beyond the outdated colonial donor-recipient paradigm of development cooperation in order to redesign an alliance on an equal footing with Africa.
Southern neighborhood: Middle East and North Africa
European countries are directly affected by the events in the Middle East and North Africa. Human suffering from humanitarian disasters in these regions calls for more determined European action and more proactive behavior by the EU. European attempts to stabilize the region and curb the by-products of current instability, including organized crime, terrorism and mass migration, increasingly reaching their limits. Since Europe does not fully implement its many (including economic) leverages, European influence in its neighborhood to the south appears to be waning. For us FREIE WÄHLER, politics and diplomacy take precedence over military intervention. In addition to peacekeeping, relaxation, civilian crisis prevention, we also rely on free trade in both directions.
The regime changes of the past years have brought chaos to many countries. We are pursuing stabilization of the affected areas and try to support them with short-term help in reconstruction. However, we must not force such states to copy our democratic system. They must find their own way to develop a bearable statehood in freedom. To do this, the EU must be ready to understand the challenges in the regions and maintain an equal relationship with our partners to the south.
Eastern neighborhood: Western Balkans
We FREIE WÄHLER want to intensify the EU neighborhood policy with the regions bordering Europe. In order to achieve this, we want to sustainably strengthen respect for human rights, the rule of law and development of democracy as well as a market economy beyond our external borders and support them through incentive programs. We want to take advantage of the opportunities to support countries neighboring the EU in their internal reforms towards more democracy. We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to an ideology-free debate on EU enlargement. We FREIE WÄHLER want to continue the negotiations with the countries of the Western Balkans. In view of the negotiations so far and the ongoing consolidation of the Union, we do not believe that it will be possible to include all or some of the Western Balkans in a timely manner. Further EU accession must not be discussed behind closed doors. We therefore advocate the intensive involvement of all societal interest groups in order to discuss future enlargement round in an open and transparent manner.