Close political and economic relationships with our European partner countries are indispensable.

German-Spanish Business Meeting on 1 September 2015, Juan Rosell, President of CEOE and Ulrich Grillo, President of the BDI © Christian Kruppa

If we are to represent German interests effectively within the community structure, it is important for us to coordinate our national positions with our European partners. An intensive exchange with industrial associations in our European neighbour countries guarantees that we will be able to attain a stronger position in our dialogue with European Union institutions – including via our joint representation in Brussels, the European industrial association BusinessEurope.

In addition, bilateral relations are an important prerequisite for German businesses to be able to make better and more rational use of opportunities in the European single market. Whether to the north, south, east or west, our European neighbours often represent the first step towards operating internationally, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises that are only active within Germany. Policymakers and associations have an equal responsibility to support these enterprises by creating a suitable environment for them to take this step.

The German economy benefits enormously from the European Union. Brisk trade and cross-border value chains create growth and jobs. Germany is more closely interconnected with its neighbours than any other country in Europe. Nearly 60 percent of German exports went to the EU single market in 2015. German industry delivers and receives over 40 percent of all cross-border intermediate goods in the EU trade in these goods. Germany currently generates nearly one third of all industrial value added in Europe, followed by Italy (11.8 percent), France (11.5 percent) and the UK (9.8 percent).

Since last year the USA has displaced France from its top position. 2015 goods for more than 173 billion euros were traded between Germany and USA. The bilateral trading volume between Germany and France reached around 170 billion euros. Essential reasons for the new ranking are on the one hand the stronger US economy and on the other hand the strong US-Dollar exchange rate against the Euro.