Berlin, 27 May 2020
The coronavirus crisis is transforming the international system and has accelerated existing trends towards de-globalisation and a further erosion of multilateral cooperation. With its new series of “Digital Background Discussions”, Körber-Stiftung aims to facilitate a digital exchange about current challenges for foreign and security policy – including, but not limited to, the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
On 27 May 2020, as part of the „Digital Background Discussion“ series, Körber-Stiftung welcomed Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). With members of the German Bundestag and the European Parliament, representatives of German ministries and experts from selected think tanks, Mr. Gurría discussed the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the role of multilateral cooperation in tackling the crisis.
A Long Way Towards Economic Recovery
Even before the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the global economic outlook was decelerating due to low growth rates and tensions in international trade. With the global pandemic, these developments have been further aggravated. During the discussion, a number of participants pointed to the special burden for developing countries, which are affected not only by high public debt and a deficient health infrastructure, but also by lost export revenues and growing poverty. The discussants agreed that state aid measures to support the economy and public health must be applied in a concerted manner to ensure an early recovery from the current crisis. However, in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, the global climate crisis shall be ignored and thus be part of a comprehensive recovery strategy.
Multilateralism Is Key to Sustainable Recovery
During the discussion, it was emphasized that, amidst current trends of de-globalization, a multilateral approach is the only way to achieve a sustainable recovery of the global economy. International organizations play a key role in tackling the crisis, as they are able to coordinate and pool national resources. However, this requires the states’ willingness to cooperate, as the Franco-German proposal for a “European Recovery Fund” shows. In the discussion, it was furthermore pointed out that a prospering global economy benefits both donor and receiving countries.
The “Digital Background Discussion” Series – Continuing Dialogue in Times of Crisis
Körber-Stiftung regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. In order to continue our discussions in the digital realm, Körber-Stiftung has initiated a new series, the “Digital Background Discussions”, derived from the Political Background Discussions. With this series, Körber-Stiftung aims to facilitate an exchange about current challenges for foreign and security policy – including, but not limited to, the consequences of the Coronavirus crisis. As at the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place in a confidential setting, so as to enable a frank and constructive exchange.