is today starting a 2-day trip to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The trip marks the beginning of the tour of European capitals the Minister is making in the run-up to Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Further trips are to follow in the coming weeks and months. In advance of Germany’s Presidency in the second half of the year, Minister Altmaier wants to exchange views with his European counterparts on policy issues covered by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and on ways to deepen bilateral cooperation.
Minister Altmaier said: "On 1 July 2020, Germany will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We want to work with our European partners to promote a strong, modern and citizen-oriented Europe that is able to protect the values it stands for. My goal is to strengthen the EU as a competitive and globally operating economic player. In times of international trade conflicts, we must particularly strengthen the European internal market and jointly seek to promote rules-based trade and to strengthen and reform the WTO".
This is the first trip of a German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy to the Baltic states in recent times. Minister Altmaier will meet with his counterparts to discuss issues in the fields of economic, energy, trade, digital and cohesion policy. In addition, he plans to meet with leading representatives of industry and government from all three countries. Minister Altmaier will launch a dialogue with students and other young people to talk about the future of the European Union and about what the German Presidency can do to help realise this vision.
The three Baltic states joined the European Union in 2004 and enjoy a very high level of public support for the EU in their respective countries. In recent years, these countries have seen a sharp economic upturn. Trade of the three countries with Germany in 2018 amounted to 10.8 billion euros. Germany ranks second among the main supplier countries and fourth and fifth (Estonia) among the main buyer countries for the Baltic states.