European Sovereignty in a New Era: Franco-German Perspectives
On Monday, June 27th 2022, the Franco-German Dialogue annual summer event took place in a hybrid format for the first time. High-level guest speakers from the Political and Academic spheres came together to discuss the future of the European Union in the context of an energy crisis, but also at a time when the concept European Sovereignty is challenged. French and German high-ranking representatives exchanged views on matters of energy, sovereignty, cooperation and security within the EU.
Photos: Thomas Lobenwein
The first panel, composed of Reinhard Houben (Member of the Bundestag, FDP), Philippe Martin (Professor at Sciences Po) and Moritz Schularick (Professor at Bonn University), introduced by Franziska Brantner (Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection) and moderated by French journalist Cécile Boutelet discussed the repercussions of the energy crisis and how to deal with it. After a lively discussion on setting the right incentives, alleviating consequences for Europe while hitting Russia’s economy, building up societal resilience and fostering energy efficiency, the panelists outlined their proposals for Franco-German projects for more European sovereignty. Among them were transnationally coordinated rationing protocols for gas, shared gas storages, a build-up in electricity infrastructure so as to better share and help out in case of electricity shortages, as well as common armament procurement in Europe.
Recording of Panel 1: How can the EU decouple from Russian oil and gas imports?
The discussion then focused on Franco-German cooperation in building European sovereignty. The panel, introduced by German Deputy Minister for European Affairs and Climate Anna Lührmann and moderated by French Journalist Hélène Kohl considered the Franco-German relationship and its potential evolution. From the French point of view, Professor Lequesne and Member of Parliament Frédéric Petit re-affirmed the importance and strength of the Franco-German tandem and examined the case of the Balkans as a region of future interest for building a strong European identity. Cornelia Woll, President of the Hertie School, pointed out the need of industrial and strategic cooperation in the field of defense. Member of the Bundestag Sandra Weeser was keen on reducing dependencies in the energy sector. On what they would want to see in Franco-German initiatives, the panelists mentioned a European cloud, a uniformization of European army equipment, a new and better international railway connections, and a stronger welfare state coupled with open trade.
Recording of Panel 2: After the elections: Wha do Germany and France need to tackle together to achieve more European Sovereignty?
To finish, Nicoletta Pirozzi from the Istituto Affari Internazionali, moderated the debate of the third panel on the future of European security policy, introduced by Clément Beaune (Minister delegate for Europe). Then, European unity was celebrated as the EU’s security response to the Ukraine war was seen as a joint-effort by panelists Marie Mendras (Professor at Sciences Po) and Wolfgang Ischinger (Senior Professor at the Hertie School). The discussion then opened to the long-term perspectives of such unity and the sustainability of the European Union’s response to the war, where Serap Güler (Member of the Bundestag) stressed the need of deterrence on multiple levels. As to Franco-German initiatives they would want to see, strong political leadership in the field of common armament projects like FCAS and MGCS was demanded, a dialogue on nuclear strategy, and a comprehensive discussion on strategic horizons including states neighbouring the European Union, so as to prepare the future beyond the concept of strategic autonomy.
Recording of panel 3: The future of European security policy
We were very glad to welcome people in a hybrid setting for the first time, and look forward to our next event this winter, the Pariser Platz Dialogue. Stay tuned!
Research Meets Politics is organized by the Hertie School in cooperation with Sciences Po Paris and part of the Franco-German Dialogue Series funded by the Federal Foreign Office.
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