At the European regional conference, the German Ambassadors to the European Union member states discussed issues key to Europe’s future. In a discussion with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the future of Europe and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine were at the top of the agenda.
At the beginning of the regional conference on 30 April, the nearly 30 heads of the German missions in the European Union were welcomed by State Secretary Markus Ederer and Martin Kotthaus, Head of the European Directorate-General at the Federal Foreign Office. Their in‑depth exchange of views addressed the European Parliament elections in May as well as deeper integration in the eurozone. Stefan Lehne from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace took part in the subsequent discussion, which focused on the European Neighbourhood Policy against the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine.
Discussion about a social Europe
Following this, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, answered questions from the Ambassadors. Europe’s role in the world, the improvement of European energy security, the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States and the challenges facing a “social Europe” were all addressed during the multifaceted discussion.
Steinmeier warns against new rifts in Europe
Foreign Minister Steinmeier met the participants of the regional conference for a working lunch, during which the crisis in Ukraine was the first topic to be discussed. The German Foreign Minister emphasised to the German Ambassadors that in light of the latest developments in eastern Ukraine, it was not yet sure that it would be possible to avoid new rifts in Europe.
On the topic of overcoming the European public debt crisis, the Foreign Minister underlined that despite continuing problems, the crisis‑hit countries were now on the path to recovery. They then went on to discuss the future of the European Union. The enduring importance of Franco-German relations to Europe played a major role in the discussion, as did the significant impetus provided to European policy by the Weimar Triangle, consisting of Germany, France and Poland.
Long‑term stabilisation of the European economic and monetary union
As the conference came to a conclusion, European economic topics were addressed once again – the focus of the round of talks lay on the efforts towards a European banking union as well as the challenges for the long‑term stabilisation of the economic and monetary union. In addition to this the Ambassadors debated the role of German missions abroad in communicating Germany’s European policy goals.