German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Stockholm on Tuesday for talks with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and to take part in some inspiring seminars on future innovative solutions.
Chancellor Merkel’s visit shows the importance of dialogue and cooperation between two forward-looking European industrial nations facing many similar challenges – both political and economic. Our economies are very much dependent on exports and build on free trade and technological progress in global competition that is becoming increasingly tough. Our political ties are also strong, and in recent years Germany’s importance has grown as the economic and political crises in Europe have increased in number. In these times of uncertainty, with the euro crisis, the ongoing war in Ukraine, migration flows and Brexit, Sweden needs close and trusting ties with the German government.
But the fact that Chancellor Merkel is travelling to Stockholm is also testament to a mutual interest. Our countries are often like-minded and want to cooperate to reach common solutions to current challenges. During the four-day State Visit of the Swedish King and Queen, accompanied by several Swedish ministers, last October, many contacts were established, including in the areas of sustainability and technological innovations. Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg and his German counterpart, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, talked about the opportunities for closer cooperation, and this is now being followed up with a number of innovation-oriented German-Swedish seminars in Stockholm in connection with Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Sweden.
Germany is currently Europe’s most populous and economically strong democracy, a country that is continuously working through its dark history – a task it will never be finished with. And this is the whole point – to continuously asks questions and re-evaluate. A great deal has been said about the Germany that has emerged since reunification on 3 October 1990: that it is the only major power that “understands how a small country thinks”, and that it is “a country that has the EU in its DNA”.
But Germany is wrestling with the major issues of the day, just like Sweden. When Chancellor Merkel lands at Arlanda, it is at an important point in time for developments in Europe. She is bound to receive a warm welcome – albeit in a chilly Stockholm.