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Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014

In 2014, discussions at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum focused on the expectations towards German foreign policy, on the challenging situation in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, especially the crisis in Ukraine and the emergence of IS, and on the question of what role Europe can play in the “Asia-Pacific century”? Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened the Forum with a speech on priorities and perspectives of German foreign policy. Being on her first visit to Germany, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, gave a keynote speech. Mogherini affirmed that, “We have to overcome the idea that national interests are in collision with Europe.” Further speakers included the Director, President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Jane Harman, State Secretary of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office Dr. Markus Ederer, Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and the Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger.

Report

Sharp Criticism of Russia and New Impetus for European Foreign Policy at the 2014 Berlin Foreign Policy Forum

Expectations are particularly high at premieres; the same can be said of the first visit to Germany by the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, put his arm around “Dear Federica” in support as soon as he arrived at the meeting. Steinmeier, aware of the opinion that the former Italian foreign minister was too inexperienced for her new post, was attempting to dispel any remaining doubt. Steinmeier stressed, “I’ve known her for quite some time, and we have often discussed German, European and international politics.” However, it quickly became clear that Mogherini was in no need of such support. She took to the podium at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum to provide a keynote speech, and it was received with much applause. During her speech, Mogherini affirmed that, “We have to overcome the idea that national interests are in collision with Europe.” She also reminded the audience that the EU and its member states were “on the same side.”

Expectations are particularly high at premieres; the same can be said of the first visit to Germany by the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, put his arm around “Dear Federica” in support as soon as he arrived at the meeting. Steinmeier, aware of the opinion that the former Italian foreign minister was too inexperienced for her new post, was attempting to dispel any remaining doubt. Steinmeier stressed, “I’ve known her for quite some time, and we have often discussed German, European and international politics.” However, it quickly became clear that Mogherini was in no need of such support. She took to the podium at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum to provide a keynote speech, and it was received with much applause. During her speech, Mogherini affirmed that, “We have to overcome the idea that national interests are in collision with Europe.” She also reminded the audience that the EU and its member states were “on the same side.”

Steinmeier, Mogherini’s 58-year-old colleague, pointed out that Mogherini, a political scientist, was likely to face more crises in Europe during her five-year-term than Steinmeier had experienced since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Although 25 five years have passed since the end of the East-West conflict, hostile Cold War imagery is threatening to return. Christoph Heusgen, Angela Merkel’s foreign and security policy adviser, as well as Norbert Röttgen, the chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs criticised the Russian government in surprisingly clear terms. Although hopes had been expressed that Russian and European economic interdependence would lead to a convergence of values and policy approaches, Röttgen made his view on this very clear: “We were wrong.” Russia’s policy during the Ukraine crisis demonstrated that more than two decades of economic, political and military cooperation had not resulted in substantial rapprochement. However, Röttgen also argued that Europe was also responsible, as “Despite these experiences and a clearer analysis we are still inclined to follow these illusions.”

Heusgen criticized Russia for not intervening “more constructively” in the Syrian conflict. He reminded that “Without Russian support and arms sales, Bashar al-Assad would not be able to survive.” Just as Saudi Arabia had provided the dictator Ben Ali with the opportunity to leave Tunisia, Russia should use its relations with Assad and grant him exile. Heusgen pointed out that Russia had already been asked to do just that.

Given growing tensions between Russia and the West, Mogherini harshly criticized the “black-and-white mentality” that had dominated politics until 1989. Europe’s new foreign policy chief argued that this approach “doesn’t work anymore.” Instead, she emphasized that Europe was in a good position to transform its diversity into strength: “We have to use more national initiatives and include them in a European perspective.” Mogherini stressed that Brussels should not be primarily responsible for setting European foreign policy; its main responsibility should be coordinating it. Her arguments even convinced people who view the European External Action Service with skepticism. Jonathan Holslag, from the Free University of Brussels, tweeted that he was “impressed” and during the panel on security in Asia he declared that Europe provided a “source of inspiration” for Asia.

Mogherini is adept on both the international and European stage. The 41-year-old is convinced that jealous struggles between member states over authority and controlling influence in matters of European foreign policy must be overcome. She maintained “Our unity is our strength.” Mogherini also emphasized unity as “the best response” to Russia, a point she views as having been confirmed by current sanctions. At the same time, she called for stronger support for Ukraine. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, also encouraged Europe to take unanimous future action. He called for the foundation of a “real contact group, classic style” to be set up under the auspices of the OSCE. This group would include Russia, the US and the EU, and place Ukraine at its focus. Ischinger reminded that negotiation between a very strong state and a very weak one “is never a good idea in diplomacy.”

Mogherini wants to ensure that EU countries not only share the past, but also the future. What may sound simple in theory actually poses a great challenge. However, she has an important ally on her side: Steinmeier maintained, “It is only in and through Europe that German foreign policy can be fully effective in the future; and only together that we can achieve global significance.” Steinmeier continued by arguing that German support was essential if 28 members with 28 different memories and interests are to develop a unified foreign policy. He closed by promising, “Dear Federica, we will continue to make every endeavor to support your efforts.”

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Participants

Videos

Welcome Remarks by Dr. Klaus Wehmeier

Keynote Speech by Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Keynote Speech by Federica Mogherini

Reviewing German and European Foreign Policy
Panel Discussion at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014 with Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Jane Harman, Federica Mogherini und Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Moderated by Christiane Meier.

The Middle East in Disarray
Panel Discussion at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014 with Dr. Christoph Heusgen, Najib Mikati, Ambassador Dr. Alireza Moayeri und Dr. Abdulaziz Sager.
Moderated by Souad Mekhennet.

Is War in Asia a Realistic Scenario?
Panel Discussion at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014 with Dr. Markus Ederer, Prof. Dr. Carolina Hernandez, Prof. Dr. Jonathan Holslag, Minoru Kiuchi, MP and Prof. Dr. Wang Dong.
Moderated by Dr. Thomas Paulsen.

Geopolitical Challenges in Eastern Europe
Panel Discussion at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014 with Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Andrey Kortunov, David Kramer, Pavlo Sheremeta and Dr. Norbert Röttgen, MP.
Moderator: Christiane Hoffmann.

Agenda

10 November 2014

19:00
Reception at the Federal Foreign Office

11 November 2014

8:15 – 9:00
Registration

9:00 – 9:10
Welcome Remarks by Dr. Klaus Wehmeier, Vice Chairman of the Executive Board, Körber Foundation, Hamburg

Reviewing German and European Foreign Policy

9:10 – 9:20
Keynote Speech by Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany

9:20 – 9:30
Keynote Speech by Federica Mogherini, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

9:30 – 10:30
Panel Discussion
Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President and CEO, International Crisis Group, Brussels
Jane Harman, Director, President and CEO, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.
Federica Mogherini, The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany
Moderator: Christiane Meier, Correspondent, ARD Morning Magazine, Berlin

The Middle East in Disarray

11:00 – 12:30
Dr. Christoph Heusgen, Director-General, Foreign Policy and Security Advisor to the Federal Chancellor, Federal Chancellery, Berlin
Najib Mikati, fmr. Prime Minister of the Lebanese Republic
Ambassador Dr. Alireza Moayeri, Director, Iranian National Center of Globalization Studies (INCGS), Presidential Office, Tehran
Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, Chairman, Gulf Research Center, Jeddah
Moderator: Souad Mekhennet, Journalist and Author, The Washington Post, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), Frankfurt am Main

12:30 – 14:30
Breakout Sessions – Lunch (see below)

Is War in Asia a Realistic Scenario?

14:30 – 16:00
Dr. Markus Ederer, State Secretary, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Carolina Hernandez, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City
Prof. Dr. Jonathan Holslag, Professor of International Politics, Free University, Brussels
Minoru Kiuchi, MP, State Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo
Prof. Dr. Wang Dong, Associate Professor and Director, School of International Studies, Center for Northeast Asian Strategic Studies, Peking University, Beijing
Moderator: Dr. Thomas Paulsen, Executive Director International Affairs, Körber Foundation, Berlin

Geopolitical Challenges in Eastern Europe

16:30 – 18:00
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman, Munich Security Conference
Andrey Kortunov, Director General, Russian International Affairs Council, Moscow
David Kramer, President, Freedom House, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Norbert Röttgen, MP, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Deutscher Bundestag, Berlin
Pavlo Sheremeta, fmr. Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine
Moderator: Christiane Hoffmann, Deputy Head, Berlin Office, Der Spiegel

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