A note by the Director (2013/06)24-26 October 2013
This conference, co-sponsored by Deutsche Bank and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and accompanied by characteristically mixed British autumn weather, produced a fascinating discussion about German leadership in Europe, and what this meant for other European powers and the rest of the world. We had the perfect chair, and a good range of European views round the table, but could ideally have had a few more non-European voices too. Our timing was excellent – we hoped some of our ideas would percolate through to the coalition negotiations which had just started in Berlin.
We agreed that Germany was now the more or less undisputed leader of the eurozone and the EU, but not through desire or design, which meant her leadership was reluctant in style. Other European governments seemed to be able to deal with the fact of German leadership without too much trouble, but popular reactions in the southern periphery to perceived German imposition of austerity were troubling. Germany could usefully show more empathy with the pain of others going through austerity and structural reform, and could also benefit from better signalling of her policy intentions, even if Mrs Merkel was deliberately not setting out any overall strategy or vision of the future.
Lack of vision did not equate to lack of ideas. Mrs Merkel was highly focussed not only on keeping the eurozone and EU intact, but also on increasing the competitivity of the other members of the eurozone, and of the eurozone and EU as a whole. She was doing a brilliant job in the circumstances. Nevertheless, Germany needed to be less reactive, and engage with the outside world more positively, including in the fields of foreign policy and defence, even if her underlying instincts remained different from those of, say, the French or British.
Germany’s current position owed most to her recent economic success, though some of the credit also had to go to Mrs Merkel herself, and to Germany’s population size, though this was declining. The German economy was probably less strong internally than most outsiders realised, and in the absence of further structural reform in Germany herself, this might begin to show, and to affect her leading role. Meanwhile she continued to want to work most closely with France, despite their differences and France’s own problems, and with Poland as well. Current hostility to the Commission might not last, but Germany would certainly not allow the Commission to run the eurozone.
How far would Germany go to save the euro in its present form? Her political will to do so remained fully intact, but mutualisation of debt was still seen as a step too far by most Germans. And if other members of the eurozone could not improve their competitivity, the edifice could not last. What would she do to keep the UK in the EU? She wanted the UK in, as a kindred spirit on some important issues, most of all trade, and wanted to maintain cohesion between the ins and the outs. But she would not imperil the wider European structures just to preserve UK membership. Meanwhile we were concerned that, without some clearer, more attractive and compelling narrative about the future of the EU, popular support across Europe would continue to ebb away. But could EU members agree on such a narrative?
As far as the outside world was concerned, Germany’s relationship with Russia was in very poor shape, for justifiable reasons, which was influencing her attitude to the priority area of the eastern neighbourhood, not least Ukraine. A more strategic European approach would help. Germany and the rest of the EU should also pay more attention to the southern neighbourhood, because European interests were so bound up with what happened in the Middle East. She could take a more constructive attitude to Turkey and her accession talks to get into the EU. German-US relations were strong in general, but patchy, and recent surveillance issues would not help. The German relationship with Asia, and China in particular, was too focussed on economic and commercial issues, and should be broadened, to help the EU as a whole have a broader strategy towards continental issues.
Overall, while there was once more talk of the German question, we were lucky that the answer remained Europe, and that German leadership within the EU remained essentially benevolent and favourable to compromise.
Is Germany now the European leader?
No-one round the table disputed the centrality of the current German role in the eurozone and the EU more widely. The fact that Ditchley was devoting a conference to this spoke for itself, as did the way in which both European and outside powers were beating a path to Berlin’s door. At the very least, it was clear that nothing could be agreed in the EU against German wishes.
There was also agreement that this was not the result of a German plan or desire to exercise leadership. This role had rather been thrust upon her by circumstances: the eurozone crisis had meant Germany could not dodge her responsibilities as the biggest and most successful economy; other potential leaders among the bigger countries had either chosen to step aside (the UK), or had too many problems of their own to do much in the way of leading for now (France, Spain, Italy) – the exception being Poland, which had chosen to align herself as closely as possible with Germany; and the EU institutions themselves were not in a position to exercise leadership because of perceived weakness (the Commission) or hostility to them (the European Parliament). Germany was therefore a reluctant leader, still adapting to her new position, including getting accustomed to US-style criticism both for leading, and for not leading. Some had called her a reluctant hegemon, but the latter term was not welcomed in Germany because of its overtones of domination, and probably inappropriate.
How far were others in the EU happy with this state of affairs? For the moment it was simply a fact of life, which meant acceptance was the only realistic attitude at governmental level. At that level, German intentions were seen as essentially benevolent, even if there could be disagreement about particular policies. We were more divided about the seriousness of popular resentment towards Germany in the southern periphery because of perceptions that damaging austerity had been imposed by German diktat. Some thought that this was a real worry, and that unpleasant reactions, for example in Greece, had exposed how close to the surface memories of the Hitler period remained. Others, while not seeking to minimise this, argued that such reactions were in substance less about German imposition and more about popular resistance to the demands of globalisation and competitivity which could not in the end be ducked.
Both sides of this discussion accepted that Germany could have usefully shown more empathy towards the pain that structural adjustment was causing elsewhere. While German taxpayers could rightly argue that they were only asking others to do what they had previously done themselves, nevertheless European solidarity should have driven a more sympathetic response. For example an earlier visit by Mrs Merkel to Greece might have helped. It was also argued that the worst of the resentment might now be behind us – Germany had recently shown herself a little more flexible on austerity policies, and the first signs of renewed growth in the southern periphery should help to ease some of the pain.
Where does Germany want to take Europe?
If Germany were now the undisputed leader, to which destination did she want to take the eurozone and the EU? Here the answers were much less clear. Mrs Merkel, now the longest-standing European leader, was a brilliant politician in her way: she had managed to keep the European show on the road through the crisis by insisting on a methodical, common-sense approach. She had kept German parliamentary and public opinion onside, despite many pressures to the contrary, by similar means. Her tactics were excellent. But was there a strategy? Her approach was the polar opposite of visionary. The destination, apart from obligatory references to an undefined political union, and a general desire for cohesion and integration, was never spelled out or discussed, even in Germany. There was no convincing or compelling narrative to which governments or people could rally.
How far was this really a problem? There almost certainly had been no alternative so far to muddling through the eurozone crisis. Trying to set out a vision at the same time would have been distracting and likely to be counter-productive. Not having a strategy could be a valid strategy. One participant recalled the words of former Chancellor Schmidt – people who had visions should go to see the doctor. There were of course downsides to this lack of strategic vision. It left a vacuum which could be filled by populism – even in Germany itself. Moreover some clearer and better coordinated signalling of German policy would be useful, even in the absence of a wider vision. The burgeoning of Berlin Kremlinology was not a healthy sign.
It was also pointed out that, even if Mrs Merkel did not have a publicly-enunciated strategy, this did not mean she did not have strong views about some aspects of Europe’s future, and big ideas. For example she was firmly focussed on the vital objective of an economically open and competitive European Union. All of her decisions and moves should be seen in that light. She had recognised more clearly than others that, whatever the short-term ups and downs, if there were no real competitive convergence among the countries of the eurozone, the euro could not survive in its present form in the long term. This did not mean all countries could or should become clones of Germany, but it did mean structural reform to improve competitivity could not be avoided.
The broader question was the extent to which German policy had been, and was likely to be, defensive and reactive, rather than pro-active and forward-looking. Most participants agreed that this was the reality for now. It was hardly surprising, given the depth and ferocity of the eurozone crisis, which had absorbed virtually all the political time and energy of the German leadership, and would probably go on doing so for a while yet. But we did acknowledge that German leadership would need to move beyond this reactive phase. Several participants recalled the comment of Polish foreign minister Sikorski that he feared German power less than he was beginning to fear German inactivity. Both Germany and the EU needed to be in the business of trying to shape the world, not just keeping its worst excesses at bay.
This was closely linked to another fundamental question: what kind of power did Germany want to be? The burden of the Hitler period was reducing with time, and Germany was becoming a more ‘normal’ country, ready to take into account her own national interests in the same way that other countries did, rather than always going the extra mile and paying the extra billion euros to ensure an EU deal. No-one could reasonably object to that – and Germany did remain more willing than most to see the common good and find middle ground. But was Germany also gradually moving towards a position where she should be more willing to engage actively to help solve wider international problems, in the foreign policy and security field, rather than confining herself to the geo-economic field, and focussing mostly on Europe and its immediate neighbourhood? In other words should the Fischer period be seen as a blip, or the more recent Westerwelle period?
We struggled to come up with clear answers. For most of her post-war history, Germany had tended to worry most about reunification and finding her place in the EU. Now that reunification had been successfully achieved, the economy was doing well, and Germany was firmly European, there seemed to be little German public appetite for adventure or change. The status quo felt pretty good.
At the same time the governing class/elite recognised that this was not enough. Germany was, in economic terms, “hyper-globalized”, heavily dependent on the world economy remaining open and rules-based. She was also naturally attracted to more organised and systematic ways of managing global concerns such as the environment. All this was pushing her slowly in the direction of greater pro-activity in shaping the way the world was run. As one participant put it, German foreign policy was like Wagner’s music – better than it sounded.
However this did not answer the question of whether Germany had a genuinely different strategic culture from, say, France or the UK, less inclined towards interventionism, particularly of a military kind, and more inclined towards a kind of pacifist approach – a vegetarian in a world of carnivores. On the one hand it was pointed out that Germany had in fact come a long way in recent years in its willingness to engage overseas, including in security terms. Her military role in Afghanistan was the most obvious sign of this. If Germany had not been willing to follow her allies in Iraq or Libya, this was more because of disagreement about the underlying strength of the causes than because of pacifism. Moreover others were beginning to follow where Germany had led, to judge by the state of public and parliamentary opinion in the US, UK and France, as shown by recent tergiversations over intervention in Syria. Were we not all vegetarians now?
On the other hand, it was argued that Germany’s approach was instinctively different, no doubt because of her recent history, and that on the security-dominated issues she remained unreliable, or at least unpredictable. She sometimes seemed to want to be a big Switzerland, which was surely not appropriate. Her abstention in the Libya Security Council vote and her initial reaction in the case of the intervention in Mali had been illustrations of this. Policy had later been corrected in both cases, but some allies continued to see Germany as unwilling to look beyond her European/economic horizons and take necessary risks. It was not good enough for Germany to be the leader of a coalition of the unable and unwilling inside the EU on foreign policy and security issues. Those taking this view were not convinced that there was a useful complementarity, or division of labour, between German lack of engagement in security issues, and the French/British approach. It would be better to work together towards the same goals in all areas.
What united all sides in this discussion was the view that the German government did need to focus more clearly on what its strategic approach to the rest of the world should be, particularly in security terms; and that the production of some kind of strategy document or White Paper, of the kind familiar in the UK or France, would be a good way of forcing the various departments and agencies to put their heads together and come up with a consensus view. Writing down a strategy was not of course the same as making it happen, but the process would be useful and constructive in any event.
How sustainable is Germany’s leadership position?
Clearly Germany had always been an important player in the EU, and this had been strengthened by the additional population resulting from reunification. But the main factor which seemed to have changed perceptions was the extent of recent German economic success, following a period not many years ago when Germany had been seen as the “sick man of Europe”, and at a time when most other countries in Europe were struggling. This raised the issue of the durability of this success. Several German participants pointed out that Germany’s dazzling export performance was far from the whole story. There were significant weaknesses and underlying problems – examples included a declining and ageing population; poor education results in some areas; deteriorating infrastructure; unequal growth geographically – with the East still lagging behind; significant pockets of poverty; a fragile banking system; sharply rising energy prices because of the abrupt change of nuclear policy; and an underdeveloped services sector. Moreover the upward trend of recent German growth concealed a still relatively low stock of wealth, compared to some other apparently less successful European countries.
It was also pointed out that the process of painful structural reform in Germany, which had delivered so much success, had in practice come to a halt some time ago. This might begin to show up in the growth statistics before long. Moreover German growth was also highly dependent on export markets, not least in emerging countries, where the prospects were uncertain.
Others suggested that such fears were much overdone. Germany had shown her adaptability before, and would do so again. The underlying strengths of the German system, political and social as well as economic, should not be underestimated.
Whatever the truth of this, we were agreed that economic strength was at the heart of the current German pre-eminence in Europe, and that the latter would suffer (though not necessarily disappear) if the former suffered. In the longer term birth rates in France and the UK would also mean the population gap closing relatively rapidly. This could also change the dynamics again over time.
It was clear that Germany could not and did not wish to exercise leadership alone. For most of the German participants this meant that the Franco-German relationship remained at the core of what they were trying to do. The so-called Franco-German motor was nothing like the machine it had once been, and the practice of two countries trying to lead was much more difficult at 28 than at, say, 12. Nevertheless, if the Franco-German bond was not working, the eurozone and EU could not work either. It was not that the two had the same vision of the future – in many respects this had never been true – but that they were condemned to find compromises satisfactory to both sides to enable the whole European enterprise to move forward.
One of the striking features of the conference was in fact the amount of time we spent talking about France. There were many gloomy voices around the table about the current economic situation in France, and apparent weakness and dysfunction in the current political set-up. French public opinion also seemed to be turning significantly against the EU. If the Merkel-Sarkozy relationship had had its real difficulties, the Merkel-Hollande tandem was certainly no marriage made in heaven. The prospects for a new Franco-German “grand bargain” therefore looked poor.
At the same time, others pointed out that French problems could be exaggerated, that France’s traditional penchant for inter-governmentalism found a readier echo in Berlin these days, and that Hollande’s flirtation with Spain and Italy to form an anti-austerity axis had led nowhere. The prospects might therefore be less bleak than they seemed.
Some participants also suggested that the right leadership model for the future should be a France-Germany-Poland triangle. The UK had once figured in German thinking as the potential third leg of the triangle, but no longer – the UK had effectively disqualified herself.
German relationship with the EU Institutions
We spent some time on the changed German view of the Commission and the European Parliament. While Germany had for many years been an exponent, and advocate, of the Monnet method, and therefore essentially a strong supporter of the Commission (despite frustration with unnecessary meddling in national affairs), this had changed in recent years. Mrs Merkel had explicitly espoused what she called the “Union” method, which looked pretty intergovernmental in practice, and Berlin views of the Commission were now negative. Similarly the Berlin love-affair with the European Parliament seemed to have ended – more power for the EP was no longer a natural German demand. Indeed they now seemed to have come round to the idea of giving more power at European level, or at least more influence, to national parliaments.
There was considerable debate over whether these shifts were temporary, for example reflecting particular German disillusion with the current Commission, or structural. Some argued that the new German coalition might well take a more positive view of the next Commission, under a different President, and would in any case always be drawn back to the importance of the Commission role as guardians of the system, and representatives of the interests of the smaller countries, which Germany could ill afford to ignore. There could therefore be a move back in a more pro-Commission direction if and when the eurozone crisis was seen as over, and if the new Commission in 2014 were more to German taste. Whatever the likelihood of this (and some thought the next Commission could well be worse than the present one), Germany did not and would not trust the Commission to manage the eurozone. She would continue to do that herself.
How far would Germany go to…?
This led us on to questions about what Germany would do to preserve her preferences on certain key points. The most central was how far she would go to save the euro, if a further crisis arose, for example if the markets tested the system once again. There was no doubt that, at governmental level, the Germans remained fully attached to preserving the euro more or less in its present form. Her political will to do so was still formidable. But there was a divergence on whether this would mean eventual German acceptance of some form of mutualisation of eurozone debts. Many participants from outside Germany regarded this as inevitable, though it might be partial and might exclude taking on the burden of past debt. Others, particularly from Germany, said that mutualisation of debt was not only unacceptable in principle, and would remain so, but also unnecessary - we were asking the wrong question. The ECB would continue to have the financial firepower to save the euro if necessary, without Germany having to take on more guarantees beyond the odd supplementary bail-out. She could not take on much more - if even the present guarantees had to be called in, and real cheques signed, the game would be over anyway. In any case, mutualisation was likely to reduce the pressure for structural reform.
The key to the future in German eyes was not deficits or debts but, to repeat the point, competitivity. Mrs Merkel had been clear about this for a long time. Other countries in the eurozone would have to come a good deal closer to Germany in terms of competitiveness, and the whole eurozone would have to be more globally competitive than now, if the eurozone were going to survive and prosper over time. So austerity was much more about forcing structural reform than it was about reducing deficits and debts, even though the latter was of course important. Some non-German participants suggested, in a now familiar refrain, that Germany was also part of the problem because of the structural imbalances in the eurozone her competitiveness caused. So Germany too would have to help close the competitiveness gap, for example by accepting higher internal consumption, wages and inflation rates. German participants continued to reject this analysis. The problems could not be solved by weakening Germany, or reducing European competitiveness generally.
We spent some time considering the potential strains between the ins and the outs. We were on the whole optimistic that these would prove manageable. If Germany would in the end do everything it could to preserve the eurozone, and regarded this as her top priority, she still remained very attached to the broader EU and would do everything possible to avoid a choice between the two. The fear among the outs that the ins could caucus permanently, and decide everything in advance, had not so far proved justified. There would no doubt still be concerns about this in future, but the fact that nearly all the outs were “pre-ins” clearly made a lot of difference, even if the timetable for many of them joining the euro looked elongated.
The UK was a special problem, being a long-term, possibly permanent, out. There had been a major shift in UK policy: previous British governments had always insisted on being in the room where the decisions were taken; the present government was happy for others to go towards further integration as fast as they liked, as long as she did not have to follow. As one participant put it, she had gone from insisting on driving in the fast lane, but as slowly as possible, to being happy to be parked on the motorway hard shoulder as the rest raced past. Clearly for the UK, the right expression now was not a multi-speed Europe, since that implied the same destination, but a multi-tier Europe, with the UK potentially being in a special tier of its own, if not out altogether. Some British participants thought this was a major strategic miscalculation by the present UK government, but it was nevertheless a fact of life for now.
How far would Germany be ready to go to keep the UK in the EU? She certainly wanted the UK to stay, because she was a kindred spirit in some important areas, not least on trade, and could make common cause on reducing regulatory burdens. But if there was a choice to be made between eurozone or EU overall cohesion and progress, and the UK, the choice would be clearly for the former. There were therefore clear limits to the sacrifices Germany would make for the sake of UK membership, and the UK should not expect to get much out of any renegotiation of its terms, certainly in terms of repatriation of powers. If necessary Germany would again make use of intergovernmental agreements without the UK, as over the Fiscal Compact.
Nevertheless, however unclear German thinking was about the long-term shape of the eurozone and the EU, one constant driver was her commitment to an open, free-trading Europe. Hence the importance in German thinking, as in British, of the current negotiations on an EU/US free trade zone – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Germany would not be dragged in a protectionist direction even if allies like France tried to push her.
Some participants nevertheless pointed out that one of Germany’s blind spots was refusal to allow the EU internal market in services to be developed further, in order to protect her traditional professions and crafts. German participants held out little hope of a major change in this area. One practical recommendation, which would help internal trade as well as the UK, was that the next Internal Market Commissioner should be from an “out” country – not the UK herself, but perhaps Sweden.
German attitudes to the outside world
We agreed that the eastern/northern neighbourhood remained a high priority for Germany and that keeping Ukraine engaged with the EU was a major objective. This looked like being achieved, perhaps more from blundering and overbearing Russian tactics than the attractiveness of the EU offer. But the game was not over yet. Germany’s approach had been relatively robust, conditioned by the dreadful level to which German-Russian relations had recently sunk (a combination of Russian behaviour over Georgia, worrying internal developments in Russia, and German companies’ bad experience with Russian bureaucracy and corruption). But a more strategic approach would be even better.
Germany was less naturally interested in the southern neighbourhood, but needed to pay more attention to it, since European interests were so closely bound up in what happened in the Middle East and North Africa. European influence was simply not being exerted at present, which was unhelpful. In the Middle East, one specific suggestion was that Germany should overcome its history-related reluctance to take on Israel’s destructive behaviour towards the Palestinians. This would help Europe play a more united and central role – necessary because the US simply could not be the honest brokers, for all the obvious reasons.
Many around the table also hoped that Germany would in future play a less negative role towards Turkey‘s accession negotiations with the EU. This train might not go anywhere in the end, but Germany had every reason to play a more constructive part in the discussions.
Links with the US were strong, but not in every area. The Americans wanted Germany to play a stronger security role. It was not yet clear how the surveillance scandal unfolding as we met, including apparent monitoring of Chancellor Merkel’s phone, would play out in the long run, but the strength of German indignation should not be underestimated. One risk was that it would affect the EU/US trade negotiations (TTIP), which would be a great pity, given their political as well as economic significance.
We discussed at some length Germany’s relationship with China. It was clearly very strong bilaterally, based on the dynamic commercial relationship. However one consequence was the absence of a meaningful EU relationship with China. This allowed the Chinese to play divide and rule much too easily, for example over the Dalai Lama. Germany should recognise the virtues of a broader strategic relationship, including at European level, and help it to develop. This should be part of a greater European engagement with Asian political and security issues in general. Europe could not aspire to the same fundamental role as the US, but should not confine its approach to China, and to Asia more widely, to the purely economic and commercial.
The final destiny of the EU
We came back in the later sessions of the conference to the vexed question of where the EU might in the end be going – what the French call its finalité. Familiar concerns were expressed about the so-called democratic deficit – the gap between the understanding of the elites of what is happening and popular support for it. Several participants suggested that this long-standing gap was now widening dangerously, and if not bridged could result in even greater populist rejection of the EU. A clear vision and justification of the EU was therefore desperately needed, if not now, while the eurozone crisis was still there, then in a few years’ time at most.
Could or should this take the form of treaty change? Most thought that major treaty change would prove impossible to agree, and certainly to ratify. Germany had therefore more or less ruled this out, although there could be some minor adjustments as long as these would not trigger widespread referendums. Could at least a simple document or mission statement nevertheless be agreed and serve to rally public opinion? Some thought this was not only possible but indeed indispensable. Others pointed to the difficulty of agreeing even this when there was no fundamental agreement on finalité between elites and governments, let alone between peoples. There was no European demos, and no immediate prospect of one, and there were no Europe-wide media or political parties. Links between national parties were paradoxically weaker than ever. This was a shaky basis on which to embark on such a task, even if the present situation might well prove untenable.
Were we therefore condemned to more decades of muddling through? Perhaps what we needed, one participant commented, was less muddling through on the short-term British model, and more continental-style muddling through, with at least some foresight involved.
This was not a subject which lent itself to simple recommendations, but
some ideas, broad and narrow, did emerge from the discussion, as listed below.
They are nearly all addressed to Gemany, reflecting the theme of the conference,
but that should not be taken to imply that we were strongly critical of German
policy in general, or would not have had longer lists to address to others.
- Germany could assume more openly its leadership role in the eurozone and
the EU, but should at the same time listen more to the views of others, and
show greater understanding of their problems;
- The German government should give more attention to communicating its
policy views in a consistent way to other member states and to public opinion;
- The Chancellor should consider articulating at the right moment a clearer
vision of the future of the eurozone and the EU;
- Germany should continue to move in the direction of greater and more
pro-active engagement in foreign policy and security questions, as well as
maintaining focus on geo-economic issues and working more intensively to help
solve global cross-cutting problems;
- The German government should commission an explicit report on German
strategy, involving all the relevant arms of government and appropriate think
tanks. This could be preceded by a cooperative study of potential German
strategies by leading European security think tanks;
- Germany should continue to work to maintain the cohesion of the wider EU
as well as of the eurozone;
- A more open German attitude to extending the internal market in services
would be welcome and sensible. The next Internal Market Commissioner should be
from the ‘out’ countries, with Sweden one obvious source;
- Germany should support more actively moves to involve national
parliaments more intensively in European decision-making and scrutiny;
- A more strategic policy towards the eastern neighbourhood would be
valuable, together with more attention to using European influence in the
- Germany should look again at her stance in the Israeli-Palestinian
- A more positive German, and EU, attitude to Turkey and her accession
talks would be welcome;
- Germany could help to promote a broader, less commercially-dominated,
policy towards Asia, for both herself and the EU as a whole;
- EU member states would have to come up with a new narrative about the justification for and future shape of the EU before too long, or risk populist-driven implosion.
Many participants commented that, if the German question was now back on the international agenda, as was sometimes claimed, the good news was that the answer continued to be Europe, which was the best answer we had ever found. If not everyone in Europe was comfortable with the idea of German leadership, Germany remained a country which was more inclined to seek the common good and the middle ground than many others. We should all be grateful for that.
This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.
CHAIR : Ambassador Wolfgang
Global Head of Governmental Relations, Allianz SE, Munich (2008-); Chairman, Munich Security Conference (2008-). Formerly: German Diplomatic Service (1975-2008): Ambassador of Germany to the UK (2006-08); Ambassador to the United States (2001-06); Deputy Foreign Minister, Federal Foreign Office, Berlin (1998-2001); Director-General for Political Affairs (1995-98); Director, Policy Planning Staff, Federal Foreign Office, Bonn (1993-95).
Mr Thomas Jenkins OC
Chairman, Open Text, Waterloo, Ontario; co-Chair: Atlantik Bruecke and Canada-India CEO Forum; Chair, Canadian Digital Media Network; Director: C.D. Howe Institute and Canadian Council of Chief Executives; Member: Government of Canada's (GoC) Advisory Panel on Open Government and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Honorary Colonel, Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada; Board Member, Canadian Forces Staff College Trust. Formerly: Chair: GoC military procurement review panel and GoC Report on Innovation and Government Procurement; Chair, Premier of Ontario's roundtable on innovation (2010).
Mr Philippe-André Rodriguez
Rhodes Scholar; Doctoral candidate in History and Law, Exeter College, University of Oxford; Founder, Migrant Project. Formerly: Intern for Craig Scott MP, Parliament of Canada (2012); General Editor, Quebec Journal of International Law (2012-12).
Dr Jiri Georgiev
Deputy Director, European Affairs Section, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic; Member of the Board, Czech Association for European Studies (ECSA Czech Republic); External Lecturer, Constitutional Law Department, Faculty of Law, Charles University, Prague. Formerly: Adviser to EU-Affairs Committee, Senate (Parliament); concurrently Correspondent, European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation (ECPRD).
Ambassador Michael Zilmer-Johns
Danish Diplomatic Service (1982-): Special Advisor on Security and Defence to the Deputy Secretary General, European External Action Service, Brussels (on secondment) (2013-). Formerly: State Secretary for Foreign and Security Policy, EU Policy and EU Coordination and Head of the North Group (2005-12); Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Prime Minister's Office (2003-05); Under-Secretary for Political Affairs (2001-03); Head, Policy and Planning Department, South Group, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Camille Grand
Director, Foundation for Strategic Research (2008-). Formerly: Deputy Director, Multilateral Affairs and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (2006-08); Deputy Diplomatic Adviser to the French Minister of Defence (2002-06); Special Adviser on Nuclear Policy, Strategic Affairs Department, Ministry of Defence, Paris (1999-2002).
Professor Anne Marie Le Gloannec
Director of Research and Senior Research Fellow, Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) (1977-). Formerly: Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin: Research Fellow (1997-2003) and Deputy Director (1997-2001); Visiting Fellow, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (1989-90); Research Associate, Center for International Studies, MIT and Adjunct Research Fellow, Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University (1988-89).
Dr Rudolf Adam
Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, London. A Member of the Programme Committee, The Ditchley Foundation.
Dr Thomas Bagger
Head of Policy Planning, German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin (2011-). Formerly: Head of Foreign Minister's Office, (2009-11); Research Associate, Institute of International Affairs (SWP).
Dr Clemens Boersig
Chairman, Deutsche Bank Foundation; Board Member, Emerson; Supervisory Board Member, Bayer AG, Daimler AG and Linde AG; Trustee, IFRS Foundation. Formerly: Chairman of the Supervisory Board (2006-12), Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (1999-06), Deutsche Bank AG; Member, European Financial Services Roundtable.
Dr Ulrike Guérot
Senior Associate for Germany, Open Society Initiative for Europe. Formerly: Head, European Council on Foreign Office Relations, Berlin; Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund.
Mr Carsten Nickel
Senior Vice President, Teneo Intelligence, London; Member, St Antony's College. Formerly: Analyst, Europe practice, Eurasia Group; Staff member for a member of the German Bundestag; a party leader in municipal politics.
Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller
Senior Transatlantic Fellow (2009-), formerly Director, Berlin Office (2005-09), German Marshall Fund of the United States. Formerly: Die Zeit: International Security Editor (1998-2005); Foreign and Security Policy Writer (1994-98). A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Dr Attila Marján
European Research Director (2012-) and Advisory Board Member (2010-), Hungarian Institute of International Affairs. Formerly: Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC; Policy Adviser to EU Commissioners, Brussels; Head, economic and financial unit, Permanent Representation of Hungary to the European Union.
Ms Ryszarda Formuszewicz
Analyst, Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw (2009-).
Dr Jakub Korejba
Editor, Russia, CIS and Baltic States Broadcast Section, Russia Today Television, Moscow (2013-); Columnist, Russia Section, Nowa Europa Wschodnia (2012-); Commentator, Newsweek Polska
(2012-); Executive Director, Global Reform Fund, Moscow (2011-). Formerly: Lecturer, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) (2010-13).
Mr Pawel Swieboda
Founder and President, demosEuropa, Centre for European Strategy (2006-). Formerly: Director, Department of the European Union, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001-06); Head, Office for European Integration, Office of the President (2000-01); Advisor to the President of Poland on EU issues (1996-2000).
Ms Irina Demchenko
Independent Consultant on Russia and CIS; Journalist. Formerly: Deputy Editor-in-Chief and UK Bureau Chief, Russian News Agency RIA Novosti, London (2006-13); Deputy Editor-in-Chief, RIA Novosti, Moscow (2003-06); Russian Service Editor (1994-2002), and Managing Editor, CIS (1998-2002), Reuters, Moscow.
Mr Alejandro Abellán
Director General, Policy Coordination and General Affairs of the European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain.
Mr Jan Henrik Amberg
Minister, European Union Department, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden; Special Adviser to the Foreign Secretary on Germany and Poland. Formerly: Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden, Warsaw.
Mr Mats Persson
Director, Open Europe (2010-); Advisory Board Member, Open Europe Berlin gGmbH. Formerly: Political consultancy firm, Washington DC.
Ms Nilgün Arisan Eralp
Director, EU Institute, Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV), Ankara (2009-). Formerly: Director, National Programme, Secretariat General for EU Affairs, Office of the Prime Minister of Turkey (2000-09); Head, Department of Policies and Harmonization, Directorate General for EU Affairs, State Planning Organization (1997-2000).
Sir Michael Arthur KCMG
UK Chairman, Koenigswinter; Non-Executive Director, Diligenta (TCS); Partner, The Ambassador Partnership; Advisory Board Member: The Global Economic Symposium, The India Institute, Kings College London, The Institute of Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin, and others. Formerly: HM Diplomatic Service (1972-2010): Ambassador to Germany (2007-10); British High Commissioner, New Delhi (2003-07); Director General, EU and International Economic Issues (2001-03); Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Washington DC (1999-2001).
Sir Nigel Broomfield KCMG
Chairman, Jersey Energy Trust; Member, Advisory Commission on tidal energy; Chairman, Advisory Group on the environment. Formerly: Director, The Ditchley Foundation (1999-2004); HM Diplomatic Service (1969-97); Ambassador to Germany (1993-97); Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic (1988-89); Deputy High Commissioner, New Delhi (1985-88). A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation. A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Professor Timothy Garton Ash CMG
Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford; Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow, St Antony's College, Oxford; Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Columnist, The Guardian; Founding Member, European Council on Foreign Relations. A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Charles Grant CMG
Co-Founder and Director, Centre for European Reform (1996-); Member, International Council, Terra Nova; Advisory Board Member, Moscow School of Political Studies; Advisory Board Member, Centre for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies, Istanbul. Formerly: Board Member and Trustee, British Council (2002-08); Defence Editor and Brussels Correspondent, The Economist. Chairman of the Programme Committee, a Member of the Council of Management and a Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Angus Lapsley
HM Diplomatic Service: Director, European and Global Issues Secretariat, The Cabinet Office. Formerly: Director Americas, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Counsellor, CFSP/ESDP/Enlargement, UK Permanent Representation to the EU, Brussels.
His Excellency Mr Simon McDonald CMG
HM Diplomatic Service (1982-): British Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany (2010-). Formerly: Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Adviser and Head of Foreign and Defence Policy, Prime Minister's Office (2007-10); Director, Iraq, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Ambassador to Israel; Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary.
Mr John Peet
Europe Editor, The Economist. Formerly: Business Editor; Brussels Correspondent; Executive Editor; Finance Correspondent; Washington Correspondent; Britain Correspondent.
Mr Philip Stephens
Associate Editor and Chief Political Commentator, Financial Times. Formerly: Financial Times: Economics Editor, Political Editor and Editor, UK Edition; Correspondent, Reuters, London and Brussels; Author. A Governor and Vice-Chair of the Council of Management, The Ditchley Foundation.
Ms Gisela Stuart MP
Member of Parliament (Labour) for Birmingham Edgbaston (1997-); Member, Defence Select Committee (2010-); Editor, parliamentary weekly, The House Magazine. Formerly: Member, Foreign Affairs Committee (2001-10); Presidium Member and UK Parliamentary Representative on Convention for Future of Europe; Chair, All Parliamentary Group on International and Transatlantic Security; Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health (1999-2001). A Member of the Programme Committee, The Ditchley Foundation.
The Rt Hon. The Lord Watson of Richmond, CBE FRTS
Chairman, CTN Communications (1992-); Chairman, Havas Media UK; International Chairman Emeritus, English Speaking Union; President, British German Association. Formerly: British Chairman, Königswinter Anglo-German Conference; Member, House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union; Chairman, Council of Commonwealth Societies; European Chairman, Burson Marsteller; Head of Media, European Commission; Member, European Parliament's High Level Group on Romania; President, Liberal Party.
Mr John Weston CBE
Chairman: MB Aerospace, Torotrack (manufacturer of continuously variable automotive transmissions), Fibercore (manufacturer of specialist fibre optic cables), Lo-Q (systems company in innovative queuing devices, booking and payment systems). Formerly: Chair, software, design engineering and on-line learning companies; CEO, BAE Systems. A Governor and a Member of the Business Committee, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Jonathan Paris
London-based Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council; Senior Advisor, The Chertoff Group; Associate Fellow, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King's College London; IC Associate, Department of State (2008-); Consultant to the Office of Net Assessment, Department of Defense (2003-).
Ambassador Richard Burt
Managing Director, McLarty Associates (2007-); Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Member, Council on Foreign Relations; Executive Board Member, Atlantic Council; Chairman, Global Zero USA; Member, Middle East Strategy Group, Aspen Institute. Formerly: Partner, McKinsey & Company (1992-95); US Department of State: US Chief Negotiator, Strategic Arms Reduction Talks; Ambassador to Germany (1985-89); Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian affairs (1983-85).
Mr Steven Erlanger
New York Times: London Bureau Chief (2013-). Formerly: Paris Bureau Chief (2008-13); Berlin Bureau Chief (2001-02).
Professor Jonathan Laurence PhD
Associate Professor of Political Science, Boston College (2010-).
Mr Andrew Nagorski
Vice President and Director of Public Policy, EastWest Institute; Chairman, Polish-American Freedom Foundation. Formerly: Senior Editor and Bureau Chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Berlin and Warsaw, Newsweek. Most recent book: 'Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power".
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