Germany is at the center of three ongoing crises facing Europe: the Euro crisis, the Ukraine-Syria crisis, and the refugee crisis. In some of these cases, German “leadership” has been praised, while in others it has been criticized. The one-day workshop brought together 6 national members of parliaments from Germany, Greece, Lithuania and Spain, and 10 experts from five European think tanks in Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain, and lastly, one key actor and shaper of German foreign policy.
The goals of the workshop were to explore, reflect and analyze German leadership within the European Union and to gain new insights into Germany’s leadership role. The group was an optimal size to allow and stimulate an open, deep, profound and trusting conversation about perceptions of Germany’s role in Europe and ideas about how Germany can act smarter. The conversations were facilitated by Peter Woodward and Mia Forbes Pirie.
Key questions included: What do recent developments tell us about power structures in the EU, and in particular about Germany’s role in Europe? What are the expectations and perceptions of other EU member states regarding the role of Germany? Is Germany learning to “lead”? How can German leadership develop within the existing structures of the EU? And finally, how can Germany act “smarter”?
The workshop was part of the ‘Mercator European Dialogue’ project and added to the four topical priorities that have been identified during the Berlin meeting in September 2015, which are to be carried forward simultaneously.