Monday 22 February 2021
On 22 February, The Ditchley Foundation, in coordination with Dr Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs committee, hosted an informal and private discussion on how Germany and the UK can work together to meet global challenges. We were grateful to Bobby Vedral for his generous support to enable us to hold the event.
The opportunity for bilateral informal discussion was warmly welcomed, both to understand better where Germany and the UK were aligned, but also to openly discuss areas of divergence. Participants explored in some detail the overlaps and differences in German and British approaches to relationships with the United States as a key ally; China as a geopolitical competitor and key trade partner; and Russia as energy supplier and close neighbour. During the second half of the meeting, attention turned to the challenges for the global economy as we recover from the pandemic.
Throughout the discussions, there was a recognition of the value in a common approach, not least on issues such as climate change. Moreover, liberal democracies needed to align around the ‘holy trinity’ of economics, security and values, and work together against the Chinese and Russian narrative that their autocratic systems were better at handling challenges.
This fascinating exchange highlighted the complexity and urgency of the challenges ahead, underlining the common interests and values around which a shared purpose and collective action could coalesce.