• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germans want smaller role in world crises

AFP · 20 May 2014, 15:02

Published: 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.
   
Story continues below…
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 news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,513
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd