Second Berlin Foreign Policy Forum
Enlarge image At the Berlin Policy Forum, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Finnish European Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb (© Raphael Huenerfauth/photothek.net) The second Berlin Foreign Policy Forum held on October 23 featured top-caliber debates and discussions. At the invitation of the Körber Foundation and the Federal Foreign Office, over 200 high-ranking politicians, ambassadors, representatives from the business community, journalists and academics gathered in Berlin to explore current challenges on the international agenda and identify possible solutions.
“Europe at the crossroads – what kind of Europe do we want?” That was the question Foreign Minister Westerwelle, his British counterpart Hague and Finland’s Minister for European Affairs Stubb tackled right at the beginning of the conference. “For Germany, Europe is not one policy option among several,” Foreign Minister Westerwelle made clear in his speech. At the end of the road there would one day have to be a political union, he noted. Everyone in Europe was invited to build the Europe of the future.
On Europe’s debt crisis, UK Foreign Secretary Hague emphasized that “we all want to see a long-term solution as soon as possible.” According to Finland’s European Affairs Minister Stubb, the crisis in Europe could be overcome, provided the right decisions were taken over the next eight weeks.
In the course of the day participants turned their attention also to other key questions. They discussed, for example, what role Europe can play in the world, especially given the new players in the Asia-Pacific region. They also examined how the transatlantic partnership was faring and what significance should be attached to the strengthening of political Islam. Defense Minister de Maizière and Iran’s former nuclear negotiation spokesman Mousavian were among the invited guests.
Interacting with the next generation: Facebook, Twitter & Co
The Berlin Foreign Policy Forum also gave young Europeans the opportunity to exchange views with high-ranking politicians. Journalism students from the Henri Nannen School as well as members of the Körber Network Foreign Policy and FutureLab Europe took part in the gathering and explained what a difference an integrated Europe had made to their own lives. A number of participants and speakers were interviewed by the budding journalists on the blue sofa they had placed specifically for this purpose near the entrance to the conference hall. The resulting videos will be posted on Facebook.
Everyone interested was welcome to take part in the discussions online. Many of the debates were streamed live on the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum website. The Federal Foreign Office and the Körber Foundation reported on the proceedings on Facebook and Twitter. Under Twitter hashtag #bfa12 people could submit questions and comments, which were incorporated into the conference floor debates. One Twitter user commented that “the conference should be broadcast on TV.”