On January 31, 2011, the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel have held the third round of intergovernmental consultations in Jerusalem.

 German-Israeli Intergovernmental Consultations-Joint Statement

 

On January 31, 2011, the Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the State of Israel have held the third round of intergovernmental consultations in Jerusalem.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the State of Israel chaired the consultations and noted with satisfaction the progress made since the last consultations held in Berlin on 18 January 2010.  They reiterated their objective to further solidify the unique relationship and the broad range of close ties between Germany and Israel through political measures which look towards the future while recognizing Germany’s awareness of its historic responsibility towards Israel.

The Chancellor and the Prime Minister wish to thank the many people who work continually to promote the ties between the two countries.

The following Government members took part in the consultations:
On the German side: Federal Ministers Dr. Guido Westerwelle, Dr. Thomas de Maizière, Rainer Brüderle, Dr. Kristina Schröder, Dr. Peter Ramsauer, Dr. Norbert Röttgen, Dr. Annette Schavan , Dirk Niebel, Minister of State Eckart von Klaeden and Parliamentary Secretary of State Dr.  Gerd Müller.

On the Israeli side: Ministers Avigdor Lieberman, Gilad Erdan, Uzi Landau, Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz, Gideon Sa’ar, Orit Noked, Yitzhak Aharonovitz, Matan Vilnai, Israel Katz, Shalom Simhon, Michael Eitan and Deputy Minister Daniel Ayalon.


Foreign Affairs

The Governments have decided to continue their regular exchange of views on international affairs, especially regarding issues in the field of international organizations, the Middle East and regional issues, as well as on security policy.

The Governments welcome the progress made in strengthening their cooperation on cultural, consular and training matters since the last round of consultations held in January 2010, and expressed their intention to expand this fruitful cooperation in the future.

Both Foreign Ministers have signed a Joint Declaration expressing their desire to promote people-to-people relations and outlining a series of initiatives whose function will be to add another layer to the rich fabric of existing ties.

Convinced that youth exchange, education and academic exchange are vital for gearing German-Israeli relations towards the future, both sides intend to put a special emphasis on these fields of cooperation. To this end, the Government of Israel expressed its intention to increase the number of scholarships awarded to German students for academic studies in Israel and to look into options to contribute financially to the Johannes Rau Scholarship Program, which has been successfully implemented in Germany for ten years.

The Governments have expressed their willingness to examine future projects on preserving personal archives of Jewish intellectuals of German origin and of Jewish communities in Germany.  In order to allow general access to this treasure of primary sources, the National Library of Israel developed an initiative to digitize and provide free global access to the vibrant cultural, academic and literary legacy of Germany’s Jewish communities.


National Security and National Emergencies

The Governments have agreed to strengthen and expand the cooperation in the area of homeland security, especially combating violent extremism and terrorism.  Issues pertaining to national security will be added to those for which cooperation already exists in the framework of a Joint Declaration of Intent on cooperation on combating crime and terrorism.

The Governments have also agreed that cooperation between the two countries in dealing with natural disasters and emergencies be extended.

The Governments have agreed to cooperate and mutually assist each other in emergencies resulting from natural disasters (fires, earthquakes, floods, etc.). To this end, a Joint Declaration of Intent has been signed.  It addresses disaster prevention, cooperation between various entities and the improvement of response capacities.

Economics

The Governments have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the area of developing new technologies for renewable energy.  In this framework, the German Government will encourage the German private sector to participate in two trade fairs, to be initiated by Israel, in the field of innovations in renewable energy.  The Governments further agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of industrial research and development.

The Governments have agreed to cooperate and jointly promote innovations in agriculture, including dealing with the significant reduction in precipitation in the Middle East and the continued desertification. The countries will cooperate on related joint projects, to be implemented in different countries.

Infrastructure/Transportation

The Governments have agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of rail transport. The German Government will encourage German consulting firms and infrastructure companies to take part in transportation projects in Israel, such as the Eilat railroad project.

The Governments have agreed to jointly expand their mutual contacts and willingness to promote their transport policy cooperation in the area of electric mobility and innovations for sustainable mobility.  Both sides intend to establish a German-Israeli dialogue platform.


Agriculture

The Governments have agreed to intensify cooperation in the agricultural sector and will explore the possibility of further cooperation in the area of agriculture (and consumer protection). Research activities are to be continued and extended to include research into the area of the protection of stored products.  Consumer protection also offers a good opportunity for closer cooperation.  In addition, the Governments reaffirmed their interest in joint twinning projects in the future. The possibility of using Israeli irrigation experts within the framework of the Ethiopian-German Advanced Training Centre (in Ethiopia) is also being considered.

Environmental Protection

Based on the German-Israeli Agreement on Cooperation in Environmental Matters and Nature Conservation of 17 March 1993, and the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation regarding Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Projects of 12 February 2008, Minister of Environmental Protection Gilad Erdan and Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Dr. Norbert Röttgen agreed to intensify the ongoing cooperation on environmental matters between the Governments.

The Governments have agreed to deepen cooperation in the field of climate change following the implementation of the Israeli government’s recent decision on a National Action Plan to reduce Israel’s greenhouse gas emissions. The cooperation will be significant, particularly in the field of climate change.  In this regard, workshops on domestic measurement, reporting and verification of projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as on CO2 market mechanisms, are planned for 2011. Another planned area for cooperation is energy efficiency in industry and in the building sector.

The Governments have decided to continue the close cooperation in the field of waste management. This cooperation follows an intensive exchange of experts on various issues. The Governments plan to hold a seminar on the implementation of packaging legislation and source separation, and to have an exchange of information regarding local treatment solutions.

The Governments have agreed to intensify the successful cooperation in the field of plant safety through an exchange of experts, concentrating on safety of industrial installations during emergency situations following natural disasters, primarily floods. Furthermore, the Governments will cooperate in the framework of the ongoing multilateral project to control the impact of natural hazards on chemical installations.

Research and Development

The Governments have reaffirmed their long-standing successful cooperation in scientific research and emphasize their willingness to strengthen this cooperation.

The Governments have agreed to hold the first German-Israeli Research Forum in June 2011. The objective is to further develop the successful cooperation in research. The Forum will take place in Germany. Areas of focus will be the neurosciences, marine research/environmental science and water technology, and will include a discussion of ways to advance cooperation in regional research centers in Africa.

The Governments have emphasized their intention to strengthen the scientific cooperation between Germany and Israel and identify new directions and perspectives for collaboration. The Governments agreed to discuss these issues in the frame of bilateral workshops with the participation of representatives of German and Israeli research institutions and organizations.
The Governments welcome their successful cooperation in education and research and emphasized their readiness to strengthen this cooperation.

The Governments have agreed to further strengthen and expand the cooperation in Research & Development in fields agreed upon by both sides such as biotechnology and medical technology, as well as in the area of initial and continuing vocational education and training.

The Governments reiterated the importance of implementing and expanding academic and research cooperation. They applaud the ongoing research collaboration in the framework of the Max Planck Society, Minerva Centers and others, and the intended expansion thereof via the establishment of two new joint scientific centers by the Max Planck Society and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the area of neurobiology, and by the Max Planck Society and the Weizmann Institute of Science in the area of integrative anthropology/archeology.

Such cooperation and exchange of information are important tools for the academic, scientific and social advancement of both countries.


Youth

The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2000 established a new chapter in youth exchange between Israel and Germany, one that was based on previous  experience and excellence, as well as the mutual good will and understanding to further develop such cooperation.

The youth exchange enterprise between Germany and Israel constitutes an important stage in the bilateral relations between both countries. Youth exchange essentially contributes to the growth of trust and friendship between the young generations in both countries.

On the 10th anniversary of the establishment of cooperation between the coordinating office for German-Israeli youth exchange, "ConAct", and the Israel Youth Exchange Council, it is important to recognize the contribution of these two authorities.  With their extensive advisory and sponsorship services, they contributed to the fact that in 2010 the German-Israeli exchange programs reached a peak of 280 encounters between approximately 6,000 youth and youth service professionals.
The Governments welcome the constantly growing number of youth exchange enterprises, as well as the implementation of new types of programs, which contribute to a greater variety within youth exchange.  In signing the Joint Declaration of Intent, the Governments confirmed their agreement outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding from 2000 and the new Memorandum of Understanding from January 31,2011. These documents constitute the common foundation for the further development and shaping of German-Israeli youth exchange.


Economic Development Cooperation

The Governments welcome the agreement reached on the rehabilitation and extension of the wastewater treatment plant in central Gaza.  This venture – a beacon project of German-Palestinian development cooperation benefiting the region as a whole – can now be swiftly implemented.

The Governments welcome the progress made on delineating the details of trilateral development cooperation, especially in Africa.
Germany and Israel have successfully joined forces in Ethiopia to improve water resources management and irrigation, to the benefit of all partners involved.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Israel, Germany and Ghana in December 2010 marked the beginning of the first trilateral cooperation project in an African country supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and by MASHAV. In its initial stages, the project will provide 1,500 Ghanaian farmers access to new technology and knowledge about improved cultivation methods. The Governments agreed that cooperation in the agricultural sector is particularly promising.

The Governments have agreed to plan a joint development cooperation project at Lake Victoria in Kenya, and welcome the signing of a Joint Declaration of Intent between MASHAV and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Furthermore, the Governments have agreed to continue exploring possibilities for cooperation in Central Asia.

Improving Governmental Service to the Public

The Governments have agreed to cooperate in jointly establishing a base of knowledge and the required expertise for improving the service provided by the government to the public. The Governments further agreed that cooperation will be established in the framework of the OECD to identify a shared position on improving governmental service to the public.

In the area of regulatory policy and improved regulation, both sides agreed to intensify their dialogue and cooperation in the following fields: ways to improve public services for citizens and for small and medium-sized enterprises; IT solutions for more efficient public services and better government performance; and strategies and methodologies for better regulation and administrative burden reduction. The coordination of a unified position vis-a-vis international institutions may also form part of this cooperation.

Conclusion

The Chancellor and the Prime Minister reiterated the great importance they attribute to the relationship between the two governments and have agreed to convene the next consultations in Germany during 2012.