Both Germanys were admitted as full members of the United Nations (UN) on 18 September 1973. The two countries eventually merged on 3 October 1990, signifying an end of the Cold war era. Today, Germany is the third largest contributor to the UN budget, after the United States and Japan, with 190 million US dollars, or roughly 8% of the UN budget for the 2010-11 biennial budget.
For the years of 2011 to 2012 Germany has been elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). However, Germany received criticism from its European and US allies for abstaining on the Libyan no-fly zone resolution that they were voting for. Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer argued that "Germany has lost its credibility in the United Nations and in the Middle East. German hopes for a permanent seat on the Security Council have been permanently dashed and one is now fearful of Europe's future."
France and the United Kingdom have explicitly called for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council for their close EU partner. French president Jacques Chirac said in a speech in Berlin in 2000 that "Germany's engagement, its ranking as a great power, its international influence—France would like to see them recognized with a permanent seat on the Security Council". The former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, also identified Russia, among other countries, as a country that backed Germany's bid.Italy and Netherlands on the contrary, suggest a common European Union (EU) seat in the Council instead of Germany becoming the third European member next to France and the UK. The former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said that Germany would also accept a common European seat, but as long as there is little sign that France and the UK will give up their own seats; Germany should also have a seat. Thus, the German campaign for a permanent seat was intensified in 2004. Schröder made himself perfectly clear in August 2004: "Germany has the right to a seat." Its bid is supported by Japan, India, Brazil, France, the United Kingdom and Russia, among other countries. Current German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had initially been quiet on the issue, re-stated Germany's bid in her address to the UN General Assembly in September 2007. In July 2011, Merkel's trip to Kenya, Angola, and Nigeria was thought to be motivated, in part, by the goal of seeking support from African countries for Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the Security Council.