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Political Relations

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Angela Merkel

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo and Angela Merkel, © Florian Gaertner/photothek.net

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Along with political consultations, a range of issues are at the heart of bilateral relations. These include supporting Indonesia’s desire to quickly launch free trade negotiations with the European Union, promoting bilateral economic relations, assisting Indonesia in reforming its vocational training system, and deepening cooperation in the areas covered by the maritime agenda. Discussions between Germany and Indonesia also regularly take place on global issues such as climate change, sustainable development strategies and cooperation within the G20 framework. As the largest members of the European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), respectively, Germany and Indonesia share similar positions when it comes to the many points of intersection on the regional policy front.

In recent years, high-level political contacts between Germany and Indonesia have markedly intensified. Germany’s then Federal President Christian Wulff paid a state visit to Indonesia from 30 November to 2 December 2011, while Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Jakarta in July 2012. During her visit, she concluded a wide-ranging basic agreement, the Jakarta Declaration, with then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This agreement provides the basis for a close and multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries. Indonesia’s then President Yudhoyono paid a state visit to Berlin from 3 to 6 March 2013. Relations have been further cemented by several ministerial-level visits to Indonesia,
including those by then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in October 2014, then Food and Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt in April 2016 and Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Gerd Müller in May 2017. Germany’s then Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, visited Jakarta and Papua province in September 2015. Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a working visit to Berlin on 18 April 2016, during which he and Federal Chancellor Merkel reaffirmed their commitment to the partnership set out in the Jakarta Declaration.
As the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia is a major partner of Germany in dialogue on religious issues. The fourth German-Indonesian Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue between representatives of the two countries’ Governments and numerous civil society organisations and religious communities was held in September 2015 in Berlin. The Dialogue was augmented in 2016 and 2017 with meeting formats for churches, municipalities and civil society and there are plans to further expand its scope in the future.