• Germany edition
 
Germans want smaller role in world crises
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen visits troops in Kosovo last week. Photo: DPA

Germans want smaller role in world crises

Published: 20 May 2014 15:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 May 2014 15:02 GMT+02:00

The poll found that some 60 percent of Germans preferred "restraint" when it comes to "taking responsibility in international crises", compared to around 37 percent who favoured "greater engagement".

The result - which reverses the results of a similar survey 20 years ago - may dampen the hopes of some German politicians for Europe's biggest nation to play a more active role in military foreign policy.
   
President Joachim Gauck and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen have this year argued Germany should overcome its post-war reluctance to help tackle conflicts and engage more forcefully abroad, including by sending troops if necessary.
   
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Tuesday that, when it comes to openly discussing tough engagements in distant troublespots, "we're still missing this DNA, and I think we'll have to work on that".
   
Preventing far-away ethnic conflicts, defending allies and protecting weak states from aggression were deemed least important in the Körber Foundation survey of 1,000 people, which was commissioned by the foreign ministry and published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
 

   
Instead, respondents favoured promoting human rights, followed by environmental and climate protection, and securing energy supplies.
   
For decades after World War II, Germany, burdened by memories of and guilt about Nazi terror and aggression, stepped softly on the world stage and refrained from sending troops abroad.
   
Europe's largest economy has since deployed peacekeepers to global hotspots, from the Balkans to Afghanistan, but has also earned criticism for staying out of other conflicts, especially the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya.
   
In the survey about their foreign policy priorities for Germany, 66 percent named human rights as "very or rather important", followed by 59 percent for environmental and climate policy.
   
Securing energy supplies came third, likely brought into focus by the Ukraine crisis and the perceived threat of Russia cutting its vital gas supplies.
   
Online data security was an important goal for 56 percent in the aftermath of the NSA surveillance scandal, while fighting international terrorism was also seen as important by more than half of respondents.
   
At the very bottom of the list, supported by only 25 percent, was the goal of "protecting economic interests abroad".
 

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Size does matter in this case, rules judge
Photo:Shutterstock

Size does matter in this case, rules judge

A judge has ordered a deliveryman's manhood to be measured after he claimed in court that it was too small for him to be guilty of exhibitionism. READ  

Crimea annexation unnerves Germans: Poll
Ukrainian soldiers near Luhansk, Ukraine. Photo: DPA

Crimea annexation unnerves Germans: Poll

Almost two thirds of Germans fear Russia plans further land grabs in Ukraine, according to an opinion poll released on the eve of Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the conflict-torn country. READ  

Ice bucket challenge gets dumped on Germany
Actress Natascha Ochsenknecht gets doused. Photo: DPA

Ice bucket challenge gets dumped on Germany

German football players, German tennis players, German TV characters and Germany's latest Topmodel winner are on it, but is it actually making a difference? READ  

Defence chief shot down over shooting quip
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen tries on military body armour. Photo: DPA

Defence chief shot down over shooting quip

Amid heated debates over arms for Iraq, the Ukraine crisis, and Germany's foreign military involvement despite its WWII legacy, defence chief Ursula von der Leyen stirred a debate of her own on Friday after a dud World Cup gag. READ  

Expat Dispatches
He'll take my name: yes he's really sure!
He says "I will!" Photo: DPA

He'll take my name: yes he's really sure!

A quick and uncomplicated conversation between a recently engaged couple concluded that the husband-to-be would take on his fiancee's surname. However, no one was more surprised by people's reactions than Australian expat Liv Hambrett. READ  

Newborn white lion cubs are pride of the circus
Photo:DPA

Newborn white lion cubs are pride of the circus

Four white lions born into the Krone Circus during its stop in Magdeburg yesterday find themselves in a Germany reliving a decades-old fight over exotic animals displayed for profit. READ  

Heart centre accused of fiddling transplant list
A donor heart gets delivered to the DHZB. Photo: DPA

Heart centre accused of fiddling transplant list

UPDATE: The German Heart Institute of Berlin (DHZB) is under investigation for attempted manslaughter after evidence showed a doctor manipulated patient data to get them a new heart faster. READ  

Germany sues Swiss bank over missing marks
Julius Bär bank. Photo:DPA

Germany sues Swiss bank over missing marks

Berlin is suing one of Switzerland's largest banks in its bid to recuperate hundreds of million euros that went missing during the reunification of East and West Germany, the bank said Thursday. READ  

Trial of cannibalism fetish cop to begin
The scene of the crime. Photo: DPA

Trial of cannibalism fetish cop to begin

The trial of a German police officer accused of murdering a willing victim he met on a website for cannibalism fetishists starts on Friday in the eastern city of Dresden. READ  

False teeth of the dead: finders keepers?
Coffins awaiting incineration in a crematorium. Photo: DPA

False teeth of the dead: finders keepers?

An Erfurt court has decided not to force a 56-year old man to pay damages for more than 31 kilos of gold teeth taken from the crematorium in Hamburg where he worked between 2003 and 2011. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Society
A German journalist shares the story of his US arrest in Ferguson
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,372
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd