Following the talks with Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: "Today will go down in history. This is the first ever official visit to Germany by a Prime Minister from Bhutan."
Scholz added that he was delighted that Germany was among the 54 states with which the Kingdom of Bhutan meanwhile maintained diplomatic relations. The fact that the two countries took up their diplomatic relations in 2020 highlighted their willingness to further intensify these relations, he went on.
Trusting cooperation in the area of climate and environmental protection
Trusting cooperation had been taking place for a long time with regard to preserving Bhutan’s cultural heritage, as well as on issues related to climate and environmental protection, Scholz explained. He continued by saying that the two countries’ "to democracy and human rights and our advocacy for international order based on the power of justice, rather than the right of the mighty" reflected a broad consensus.
Joint position on the war of aggression against Ukraine
The Federal Chancellor expressed his particular gratitude for Bhutan’s clear stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine: "Your country has been clearly condemning this war of aggression from the start and has been defending the principles of the UN Charter." He explained that it had been an important signal that on the anniversary of the attack, the United Nations General Assembly had once again found clear words to promise Ukraine its solidarity: "Bhutan was once more among those who strongly supported this resolution."
In view of the consequences of the war of aggression for the countries of the Global South, in particular high prices for food and fertiliser, Scholz said: "We continue to make every effort to limit such consequences."
Joint fight against climate change
The Federal Chancellor stressed the importance of expansion and diversification of partnerships in Asia – "especially with those countries with which we share fundamental beliefs." He highlighted the area of climate change in particular. With regard to the fact that Bhutan has already achieved climate neutrality by consistently protecting forests and developing renewable energy, Scholz said: "Bhutan in fact absorbs more carbon than it emits. This is impressive!"
He welcomed Bhutan’s plans to further develop photovoltaic and wind energy in order to make the country’s own energy supply "broader and more future-proof", and mentioned Germany’s goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2045, which is very ambitious for a large industrial nation.
Fascinating Gross National Happiness
Scholz underlined Bhutan’s pioneering role in measuring well-being. The so-called Gross National Happiness indicator was invented in Bhutan: "I think it makes a lot of sense to measure our prosperity not only based on economic key figures but to consider non-material factors, too." He described Bhutan’s idea to take the happiness of its citizens into account as fascinating, and added that attempts were being made, also in Germany, to determine well-being on a broader basis. This was why the annual economic report now contained both social and economic indicators, he explained.
Before his visit to the Chancellery, Prime Minister Tshering was received by Federal President Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace.