Following the official visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Germany in February 2016 and visits of numerous business and parliamentary delegations from Germany to Sri Lanka last year, the upcoming events of this week will again underline the growing intensity of German-Sri Lankan relations.
Bilateral trade is also up 30 percent since 2014 with close to a billion euros in 2016 and the opening of a German Chamber of Commerce office in Colombo is imminent.
April 3-5: Speaker of German Parliament visit to Sri Lanka
Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, one of the longest ever serving speakers of the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) and a passionate parliamentarian, will – upon invitation by his Sri Lankan counterpart, Karu Jayasuriya – visits Sri Lanka from April 3 to 5. In the German order of precedence, his office ranks second only after the Federal German President. Prof. Dr. Lammert has scheduled meetings with Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan but also with a broad spectrum of civil society representatives in order to learn about the latest developments on reconciliation issues as well as on the economic and democratic reform process in Sri Lanka. In the afternoon of April 4, Prof. Dr. Lammert will give a lecture at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute on ‘The Future of Liberal Democracy in International Relations’.
April 5-7: Regional German Ambassadors’ Conference ‘Indian Ocean’
The Indian Ocean Region is increasingly in focus as a new global centre of political and economic gravity. Sri Lanka’s geographic location and self-professed aim to become a hub in the region make it a central part of these developments. Around 40 German envoys from the Indian Ocean Region, including most of the heads of missions, plus high-ranking Foreign Office officials will gather in Colombo from April 5 to 7 to discuss political/security developments and economic trends in the region. On the second day, German business leaders will join the debates.
The German Embassy appreciates the assistance of the Sri Lankan government in the organisation of this event. On April 5, the conference will be opened jointly by Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Mangala Samaraweera and German State Secretary Dr. Markus Ederer. A panel discussion with ministers from the Indian Ocean Region will follow. On April 6, the business day will be kicked off by Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva. Later on, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe it is confirmed will speak to the envoys and business leaders on his country’s role in the region. On April 6 bilateral consultations on foreign policy will take place in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. All participants will be taking part in a tour of the Port of Colombo underlining the ever-increasing importance of the ‘blue economy’ for Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean Region.
April 2-5: Konrad Adenauer Foundation Conference
German political foundations had been successfully engaged with various government and civil society actors in Sri Lanka for decades until 2013, when the then government unfortunately restricted their activities. After the political change, the new government invited them to return and in 2015, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNS) was the first to return. From April 3-5, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) will host a seminar on ‘Leadership Training on Election Campaigning’ in Colombo with the participation of 20 young political leaders from the Asia-Pacific region within its flagship programme Konrad Adenauer School For Young Politicians (KASYP).