Rabu, 11 Juli 2012 - 11:19 WIB
Merkel's Visit: An Opportunity Too Good to be Missed Out
Oleh : Gulardi Nurbintoro
- Dibaca: 2089 kali

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make a two days visit to Indonesia on the 10th -11th July. It will be the second high profile visit within a year by top German officials. Last December the then German President Christian Wulff came to Indonesia to discuss several key issues to foster bilateral relations between Indonesia and Germany. Merkel’s visit will be in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Germany.

The relations between both countries has been very stable and good. Trade volume between Indonesia and Germany mounted to USD 6,69 billion in 2011, Indonesia’s export in 2011 is recorded at USD 3,30 billion, while Indonesia’s import from Germany is USD 3,39 billion in 2011. Nevertheless as in any relations with any country, there is always room and opportunity for improvement.

Indonesia’s trade volume with Germany is still the 4th ranked in ASEAN. The numbers are still behind Singapore with USD 14,09 billion. Furthermore the number of German tourists visiting this archipelagic State shows a slight increase from 2010 which should also be more improved. It was recorded that 138.702 German visited Indonesia in 2010, and it increased to 141.883 in 2011. Investment is also one of the topic that will be discussed, Indonesia expect more German investment in various sectors, adding to the 63 on-going projects worth USD 158,1 million in 2011.

Aside from economy, Merkel is also planned to meet the Chief Justice of Constitutional Court. In my opinion, this meeting is as important as the meeting with President Yudhoyono. Since its establishment in 2003, the Constitutional Court has evolved into one of the most important institutions in Indonesia. Therefore, in its very young age, it is important to exchange views and seek assistance in order to strengthen the Indonesian Constitutional Court. The assistance could be in a form of capacity building for Constitutional Court’s staff or establishing Joint Committee to arrange constitutional lectures in universities or high school in order to introduce students with Indonesian grundnorm as early as possible.

However, the visit shall not only be about what-Indonesia-can-get-from-Germany, but also on how Indonesia may use the opportunity to contribute towards the development of bilateral, regional, and global relations. As members of G-20, both leaders will inevitably talk about the financial crisis and how to resolve them. In this context, Indonesia as a country which was able to survive the 2008 financial turbulence, may contribute by sharing experience on how to build resilient economic structure to survive such crisis and engaging in discussions with Merkel on how to prevent such economic downturn from occuring again in the future.

Other issues such as human rights, climate change, or sustainable development may also be discussed between the leaders. It will be the perfect time for Indonesia to discuss it with  one of the leading developed European state. The views of Indonesia, as a developing nation, might differ with the view of a developed state on certain issues, thus the meeting may be considered as a bridging forum between developed and developing state.

Finally, Merkel’s visit to Indonesia underlines the strong relations between both countries. Germany is an important and strategic partner for Indonesia of which it wishes to maintain. Therefore this visit shall be utilized to its maximum potential in order not only to get what Indonesia seek from Germany but also putting a mark of Indonesia’s position in the global community by contributing ideas for the betterment of international society.  

(The author is a junior diplomat at the Foreign Ministry, the opinions expressed are his own).