Prof. Václav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic, met with high-ranking personalities from federal and federal-state level, representatives of federal ministries and government agencies as well as with senior associates of selected think tanks and universities to discuss the current state of the European integration. Former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker, Chairman of the Bergedorf Round Table, also took part in the discussion. Owing to recent developments, a particular focus was laid on the Greece crisis and the future of the European Monetary Union.
The discussion centred on the question of whether the current Greek crisis was the result of too much or not enough European integration. On the one hand it was pointed out that as they grappled with the global financial crisis the Czech Republic and Poland had found that the fact that they were not members of the eurozone had been to their advantage. However, other participants disagreed and said that Germany was benefiting from the advantages of the European monetary union even in the midst of the financial turmoil. The discussion also examined the question of whether Greece should continue to be a member of the European Monetary Union. Those in favour of withdrawal stated that it posed no problems whatsoever in technical terms, and that if Greece were to remain in the eurozone, it would have to rely on EU transfer payments for the foreseeable future. Opponents of the withdrawal scenario pointed out that such a move might possibly have negative effects on the process of European integration as a whole.
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 H.E. Mohammad Bagher Khorramshad, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic Iran, Temur Yakobashvili, Minister of State for Reintegration and Vice Prime Minister of Georgia and H.E. Saad Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lebanon.
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.