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An important partner in Asia

In the "Jakarta Declaration" Germany and Indonesia have agreed to step up political and economic relations between the two countries. They intend to develop strategic economic cooperation reported Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono A meeting with the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Photo: picture alliance / dpa

Angela Merkel’s first visit to Indonesia since she took office as Chancellor was a reflection of the positive developments in Indonesia and the importance of German-Indonesian relations. In the “Jakarta Declaration” the two countries have now agreed to step up political and economic relations. The intention, said the Chancellor, is to develop strategic economic cooperation.

Strategic cooperation

The "Jakarta Declaration" puts relations between the two countries on a new broader footing and will pave the way for strategic cooperation in the economic sector in particular, stressed the Chancellor. The tsunami early warning system, in which the Potsdam-based German Research Centre for Geosciences has played a major part, was singled out for special mention by the Chancellor as an example of the closer cooperation we will be seeing in future. "This is a top-level scientific project, and we can also see how Indonesian specialists are being trained," said the Chancellor.

The early warning system was put in place in the wake of the devastating tsunami that hit on 26 December 2004, killing over 230,000 people across Southeast Asia. The German government provided more than 53 million euros to fund the installation and optimisation of the system.

Cooperation also embraces fields that are important for peaceful development in the region, continued the Chancellor. These include peace missions and the whole issue of technical cooperation. Angela Merkel pledged Indonesia German support in developing renewable energies. Indonesia has set itself the ambitious target of generating 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025.

Consolidating budgets, strengthening competitiveness

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also discussed the situation in the euro zone. "Indonesia is an excellent example of how an economy must grow on a sustainable basis," said the Chancellor. Under President Yudhoyono Indonesia has managed to reduce its national debt from 80 percent of the country’s GDP to 24 percent – this is a level that has still to be achieved in Europe, pointed out Angela Merkel. It will not be possible to deliver these results overnight, however, she said. Europe is currently facing not only a sovereign debt crisis, but also needs to become much more competitive. "But we have learned a lot, and I believe we will weather this crisis," she declared confidently.

EU makes Europe a global player

The Chancellor also reported that Indonesia is counting on Europe and that this has renewed her vigour and will to continue to fight for a united Europe. There are 240 million people in Indonesia and more than one billion people in both China and India. The European Union is also important in terms of our influence at global level and our vision of the role we aim to play on the international stage, she added.

Setting a sign to encourage religious tolerance

On the first day of her visit, the Chancellor first visited Jakarta’s Immanuel Protestant Church and then the city’s Istiqlal Mosque, the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. Before this she laid a wreath at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery. Her itinerary also included a meeting with the chief justice of Indonesia’s constitutional court.

The constitutional court, which was founded in 2003 works closely with the German Federal Constitutional Court. The Chancellor also met representatives of civil society, members of non-governmental organisations and trade unions, to find out first hand about the everyday life of normal Indonesians.

Indonesia’s population of 240 million makes it the fourth most populous country in the world. It has more Muslim citizens than any other country. Recent developments within the country have seen constitutional reforms, multi-party elections and decentralism. The G20 member state also enjoys a dynamically developing economy. Its economic growth rate is the third highest worldwide, making it one of the leading emerging economies.

Jul 11, 2012