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Political Background Discussion with Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones

Berlin, March 2, 2010

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, Shadow Security Minister and National Security Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom, met with members of the German Bundestag, representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to discuss future challenges for Great Britain with regard to foreign and security policy. Particular emphasis was placed on the European dimension of British foreign and security policy.

Crucially important for the UK and the EU as a whole was the question of whether there was a will to demonstrate political leadership and whether one wanted to be seen as a “maker” or as a “taker.” The rising powers, which according to Baroness Neville-Jones were partly the result of the process of globalization driven by the West, were going to change the political and economic structure of global power. Baroness Neville-Jones also believed that non-state actors such as terrorist groups constituted a growing threat to the international community. Furthermore, global wealth inequality could well be a source of foreign and security policy threats. Another issue mentioned by Baroness Neville-Jones was the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In order to meet these four challenges in an appropriate manner, both the UK and the EU had to play a pro-active role which would primarily consist of a combination of military, civil and political elements.

In the ensuing discussion the participants put forward proposals for a greater involvement of the rising powers in the international order. They also discussed the action options and the aims of the common European foreign and security policy. It was generally agreed that foreign policy continuity was an absolutely essential precondition if the EU wanted to be perceived as a reliable partner in international terms.

The Political Background Discussion continues Körber Foundation’s focus on current questions of foreign, security and defense policy. This series has included the Political Background Discussions with Michèle A. Flournoy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from the U.S. Department of Defense, H.E. Dr. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Guido Steinberg, Research Associate at the Research Unit Middle East and Africa of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

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