At the invitation of Foreign Minister Steinmeier, the German Ambassadors to the EU member states, the Western Balkan countries and Turkey met for a conference on Europe Day (9 May). The key topic at this one-day Ambassadors Conference in the Federal Foreign Office was how to deal with the flows of migrants and refugees.
The Ambassadors talked to Foreign Minister Steinmeier about ways out of the threefold crisis currently plaguing the EU. The impact of the economic and financial crisis, the referendum on the United Kingdom remaining in the EU and above all the flows of refugees and migrants – these were the issues that dominated not just the discussion with the Federal Foreign Minister but also the other elements of the EU Ambassadors Conference on Europe Day.
Solutions on migration only through shared European responses
Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, explained the Federal Government’s approach to national and European refugee policy. The Ambassadors fed in the angles of their host countries. There was agreement that shared European responses were the only way to find a sustainable and comprehensive solution to the migrant and refugee crisis.
Alongside the central topic of flight and migration, the focus was also on the economic situation and potential integration of the euro area. In a discussion with Markus Kerber, Director General of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Sebastian Turner from the Dieter von Holtzbrinck Medien GmbH and Henrik Enderlein, Director of the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, the panellists outlined the debate in Germany about the challenges currently facing the EU. Once they had presented the different angles of business, media and academia, the Ambassadors were able in turn to outline their experience in their host countries.
At the end of the conference, the Ambassadors had the opportunity to hear the opinion of the European Commission at first hand. Martin Selmayr, Head of Cabinet of the President of the European Commission, highlighted the EU’s ability to solve problems and be innovative taking the examples of the financial and debt crisis and the migration and refugee crisis. He underscored here the shared responsibility of EU institutions and member states for a strengthened Europe.