In European foreign policy Federica Mogherini, the new High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, is planning to embark on nothing less than a new beginning. She talked about this on 11 November at the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum. In parallel, in 2014 German foreign policy has been under review in the light of calls that Germany ought to shoulder more international responsibility. These have been made by Joachim Gauck, the Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ursula von der Leyen, the Minister of Defence. That is why the Forum began with a speech by Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the perspectives and the priorities of German foreign policy. Additionally, the issues covered by this year’s Berlin Foreign Policy Forum demonstrate that there is a need for a strategic realignment in both European and German foreign policy. There is the crisis in Eastern Europe, the dramatic situation in Syria and Iraq, and the tense security situation in Asia. So there is clearly a pressing need for a common European foreign policy.
A common European foreign policy is a goal defined in the Treaty of Lisbon, and it has been the reason for the creation of the office of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy. However, Catherine Ashton, the first incumbent, was frequently criticized. Federica Mogherini, the former Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, took office on 1 November 2014. She wishes to act in a more politically effective manner and to be more visible in the media than her predecessor. And on top of this she wants to be closer to the European electorate. At the hearing in the European Parliament before her appointment on 6 October Mogherini said, “The questions we need to answer are the questions that our citizens ask us.”
Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2014