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Germany wants 'Marshall Plan for democracy'

January 9, 2021

After supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that EU democracy is interlinked with US events. He has called for close cooperation: a "Marshall Plan for democracy."

Heiko Maas takes part in a video call of the 'Alliance for Multilateralism' in Berlin
Germany and France have already launched the 'Alliance for Multilateralism' in 2019Image: Felix Zahn/photothek/imago images

In the aftermath of the storming of the US Capitol, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for a wide-reaching pro-democracy initiative spearheaded by Washington and its EU allies.

"We are ready to work with the United States on a joint Marshall Plan for democracy," Maas told the German news agency DPA on Saturday.

The original Marshall Plan was a US economic campaign launched in 1948 to rebuild 18 war-torn Western European nations. The US-allied West Germany was among the biggest beneficiaries.

On Saturday, Germany's Maas echoed worldwide condemnation of Donald Trump supporters who had breached the US Capitol building while the lawmakers were working to certify election results.

"We must not yield any room to the enemies of liberal democracy," Maas said. "This applies not only in the USA, but also here in Germany and Europe."

European democracy dependent on the US

Maas did not provide details on the idea. However, he pointed to President-elect Joe Biden's call to create a network of democratic nations. The German foreign minister also greeted Biden's pledge of political reconciliation within the US following the Trump presidency.

"Without democracy in the US, [there is] no democracy in Europe," asserted Maas.

The diplomat noted that that France and Germany had launched the "Alliance for Multilateralism" in 2019, which has since grown into a loose network of over 20 nations, including Finland, South Africa, and Tunisia.

"Getting to the roots of the social divisions in our countries is one of the greatest tasks for the future for Americans and Europeans," Maas said.

He warned that "the belief in cohesion, in democracy as the most humane form of government, and in the persuasive power of science and reason" can only be preserved together. 

In order to achieve this, there were "no better, closer, more natural partners in the 21st century than America and Europe," Maas told DPA. His latest comments come after Berlin pledged to look for a "new deal" with Washington in November.

On the US campaign trail last year, President-elect Biden floated the idea of a "global summit for democracy" during his first year in office. Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20.

ipj/dj (dpa, AFP)