Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Singapore, met with members of the German Bundestag, representatives of federal ministries, government agencies and selected think tanks to discuss chances and challenges of regionalisation in Europe and Asia. One of the questions discussed was in how far the European Union could serve as a model for regional integration in South East Asia.
In his opening statement Shanmugaratam said that the current euro crisis should be construed as an opportunity, and that all concerned should continue to press ahead with European integration. He also emphasized the differences between the EU and Asian regional organizations, the member states of which were not as yet prepared to surrender their national interests to a supranational structure. In the ensuing discussion the participants talked about joint measures designed to overcome the global financial crisis. Shanmugaratam believed that politicians were currently focusing too much on the role of the banks. It was actually the task of policymakers to ensure that the economies were more competitive and stable.
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.