Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2021

Chances in Change: German Foreign Policy in an Era of Transformation

22-23 November 2021

Held only months after the election, the Berlin Forum on 23 November 2021 offered exclusive insights into Germany’s foreign policy agenda in the post-Merkel era. Under the heading of “Chances in Change: German Foreign Policy in an Era of Transformation”, participants discussed the most important foreign policy challenges for a new German government and Europe. What should Europe expect from German foreign policy under a new government – continuity or change? How should Europe position itself in the intensifying tech competition between the U.S. and China? Can combatting climate change introduce a new era of multilateral cooperation? To what extent can the EU still contribute to stability and prosperity in its eastern and south-eastern neighbourhood? These and more questions were addressed in the 10-year-anniversary edition of the Berlin Forum.

Körber-Stiftung was honoured to welcome Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who as in previous years traditionally opened the Berlin Forum. The panel following his opening speech corresponded to the theme of new beginnings, in which panelists delved into how the formation of a new German government coincided with countless foreign policy challenges. Nathalie Loiseau, Franziska Brantner, Timothy Garton Ash and Bernadett Szél jointly explored the question of whether Germany and Europe were ready to move from crises to actions.

One of the biggest foreign policy challenges of 2021 was the rapid overthrow of the Afghan government by the Taliban. In a conversation with Nora Müller, Rangin Dadfar Spanta discussed what went wrong in Afghanistan and who can be seen as bearing responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe.

As in previous years, Körber-Stiftung presented its foreign policy publication The Berlin Pulse at the Berlin Forum. The fifth edition of The Berlin Pulse focuses on the results of the 2021 survey with a view to German society's attitude towards foreign policy. Together with Pew Research Center, this edition explores the extent to which international expectations of Germany in the post-Merkel era and German public opinion diverge. In 2021, we are pleased to present authors such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Heather A. Conley, Patricia Espinosa, Kevin Rudd and Sheikh Hasina.

The afternoon programme began with a panel discussion that focused on the geopolitics of the digital transformation. How prepared is Europe for this new digital age? Eva-Maria Liimets, YAN Xuetong and Nadia Schadlow discussed how new technologies are influencing economic and security relations on a global scale.

The focus then turned to the EU's neighbourhood policy and opened the conversation on the extent to which Europe can still bring stability and transformation to the region. Körber-Stiftung was pleased to welcome Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Fiona Hill, Andreas Nick, Stefano Sannino to debate the EU’s influence in the region.

In view of the climate summit COP26, María Fernanda Espinosa, Nick Bridge and Parag Khanna reviewed the outcome of the climate summit together and touched upon the impact of the climate crisis on migration flows.

Finally, participants were encouraged to take a look at German politics: What can be expected from German foreign policy under the traffic light coalition? Omid Nouripour shared his perspective in a Spotlight Interview in cooperation with Der Spiegel and discussed future challenges for a new German government.

Due to ongoing extraordinary circumstances, the Berlin Forum in 2021 was again held as a hybrid event. Guests invited from around the world followed the event and participated in discussions via our interactive online conference platform.

Since its founding in 2011, the Berlin Forum has become the most important international annual conference on German and European foreign policy in Berlin.

Selected Speakers

Heiko Maas, MdB

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Germany

Eva-Maria Liimets

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Estonia

Franziska Brantner, MdB

Parliamentary Whip for the Parliamentary Group of Alliance90/The Greens, German Bundestag

Yan Xuetong

President, Carnegie-Tsinghua Management Board

Rangin Dadfar Spanta

Former Foreign Minister, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu

President, Republic of Kosovo

Selected Media Coverage

Please find here selected national and international media coverage of the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2021.

Media Coverage (PDF)

Gallery

Fotos: David Ausserhofer

  • Heiko Maas and Thomas Paulsen    
  • Berlin Calling – Interactive Welcome Session    
  • Opening Remarks by Thomas Paulsen    
  • Welcome Address delivered by Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Germany    
  • Behind the scenes of the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2021    
  • Future-proof? Germany and Europe in an Era of Transformation - Timothy Garton Ash; Nathalie Loiseau, MP; Shakuntala Banerjee; Franziska Brantner, MdB; Bernadett Szél, MP    
  • Franziska Brantner, MdB, Parliamentary Whip for the Parliamentary Group of Alliance90/The Greens, German Bundestag    
  • Rangin Dadfar Spanta, former Foreign Minister and National Security Advisor, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan    
  • Interactive presentation of the “Berlin Pulse 2021/22” in cooperation with Pew Research Center, with Liana Fix and James Bell    
  • The Geopolitics of the Digital Transformation - YAN Xuetong; Stormy-Annika Mildner; Nadia Schadlow; Eva-Maria Liimets; Liana Fix    
  • Digital Q&A    
  • Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Estonia    
  • Berlin Pulse 2021/22: Transatlantic Relations in an Era of Transformation    
  • Studio setup of the hybrid Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2021    
  • The EU’s Neighbourhood: From Transformation to Stabilization? Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu; Stefano Sannino and Fiona Hill    
  • Video message delivered by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Andreas Nick and Liana Fix    
  • Lessons Learned for the Green Transformation: Parag Khanna; Nick Bridge; María Fernanda Espinosa and Nora Müller    
  • Spotlight Interview with Omid Nouripour in cooperation with DER SPIEGEL    
  • The team behind the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2021    
  • All Videos from the Forum

    Agenda

    Monday, 22 November 2021

    17:15 – 18:45
    International Dialogue Revisited: The Spirit of Helsinki in an Age of Great-Power Competition

    Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland
    Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal President of Germany

    Moderator: Nora Müller, Executive Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

    Full speech Sauli Niinistö
    Full speech Frank-Walter Steinmeier (DE)

    Tuesday, 23 November 2021

    9:00 – 9:30
    Opening Remarks
    Thomas Paulsen, Member of the Executive Board, Körber-Stiftung

    Welcome Address
    Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Germany

    Full speech Heiko Maas

    9:30 – 10:30
    Future-proof? Germany and Europe in an Era of Transformation

    Nathalie Loiseau, MP, Chair, Subcommittee on Security and Defence; Renew Europe Group, European Parliament
    Franziska Brantner, MdB, Parliamentary Whip for the Parliamentary Group of Alliance90/The Greens, German Bundestag
    Bernadett Szél, MP, Member, Committee on European Affairs, Országgyűlés (Hungarian National Assembly)
    Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford

    Moderator: Shakuntala Banerjee, Deputy Head, Berlin Studio, ZDF

    11:00 – 11:45
    A Conversation with …

    Rangin Dadfar Spanta, former Foreign Minister and National Security Advisor, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

    Moderator: Nora Müller, Executive Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

    11:45 – 12:15
    The Berlin Pulse 2021/22: Transatlantic Relations in an Era of Transformation
    In Cooperation with Pew Research Center

    Interactive Presentation by Liana Fix, Programme Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung, and James Bell, Vice President of Global Strategy, Pew Research Center

    12:30 – 13:45
    Breakout Session 1: Ambitious France, Reluctant Europe? [exclusively for registered participants]
    In Cooperation with Institut Montaigne

    Sylvie Goulard, former Member, European Parliament
    Michel Duclos, Senior Advisor, Institut Montaigne

    Moderator: Georgina Wright, Senior Fellow and Director, Europe Program, Institut Montaigne

    12:30 – 13:45
    Breakout Session 2: The Geneva Conventions in the Digital Age [exclusively for registered participants]

    Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross
    Marietje Schaake, International Director of Policy, Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University; President, CyberPeace Institute

    Moderator: Alisa Vogt, Programme Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

    12:30 – 13:45
    Breakout Session 3: Enhancing Diversity and Inclusion in International Affairs [exclusively for registered participants]
    In Cooperation with Paris Peace Forum

    Trisha Shetty, Founder, SheSays; President of the Steering Committee, Paris Peace Forum

    Moderator: Ronja Scheler, Programme Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

    13:00 – 14:00
    Breakout Session 4: Transatlantic China Policy: Perspectives from Berlin and Washington [exclusively for registered participants]
    In Cooperation with Pew Research Center

    Petra Sigmund, Director General for Asia and the Pacific, Federal Foreign Office
    Lisa Curtis, Senior Fellow and Director, Indo-Pacific Security Program, Center for a New American Security; former Senior Director for South and Central Asia, U.S. National Security Council

    Including a presentation of survey results by Jacob Poushter, Associate Director of Global Attitudes Research, Pew Research Center, and Julia Ganter, Editor, The Berlin Pulse, Körber-Stiftung.

    Moderator: Andrew Cohen, Communications Director, Pew Research Center

    14:00 – 15:00
    The Geopolitics of the Digital Transformation

    Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Estonia
    YAN Xuetong, President, Carnegie-Tsinghua Management Board; Dean, Institute of Modern International Relations, Tsinghua University
    Nadia Schadlow, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute; former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy, U.S. National Security Council

    Moderator: Stormy-Annika Mildner, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Germany

    Followed by Deep Dive on Gaming and International Relations with Manouchehr Shamsrizi, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), and Kaspar Meyer, Federal Foreign Office [exclusively for registered participants]

    15:30 – 16:45
    The EU’s Neighbourhood: From Transformation to Stabilization?

    Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu, President, Republic of Kosovo
    Stefano Sannino, Secretary General, European External Action Service
    Fiona Hill, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, Center on the United States and Europe, Brookings Institution; former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs, U.S. National Security Council
    Andreas Nick, Vice-President, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

    With a video message by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of the Belarus Opposition

    Moderator: Liana Fix, Programme Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

    Followed by Deep Dive on Populism and Current Threats to Democracy with Fiona Hill [exclusively for registered participants]

    16:45 – 17:30
    Lessons Learned for the Green Transformation

    Nick Bridge, Special Representative for Climate Change, United Kingdom
    María Fernanda Espinosa, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy; President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2018-2019)
    Parag Khanna, Founder & Managing Partner, FutureMap

    Moderator: Nora Müller, Executive Director International Affairs, Körber-Stiftung

    18:00 – 18:30
    Spotlight Interview
    In Cooperation with DER SPIEGEL

    Omid Nouripour, MdB, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Parliamentary Group of Alliance90/The Greens, German Bundestag

    Moderator: Britta Sandberg, Paris Bureau Chief, DER SPIEGEL