On Friday, 24 April 2020 from 03:30 p.m. – 05:00 p.m. (MEZ), Zoom meeting room (for United Europe members only)
Video discussion with: Ulrike Guérot (Political Scientist, Director European Democracy Lab, Professor for European Policy at Donau University Krems), Günther H. Oettinger (former EU Commissioner, President United Europe), Boris Ruge (Ambassador and Co-Chairman Munich Security Conference), Filippo Taddei (Associate Professor of International Economics, Johns Hopkins SAIS, Italy)
Moderation: Ali Aslan (TV Presenter and Journalist)
The Corona pandemic is a severe test for European unity and solidarity. “Especially at the beginning of the crisis, national export restrictions on desperately needed medical equipment and unilateral border closures have fragmented the European response to the Corona crisis,” says a joint German-Italian appeal to the governments of all member states and the EU institutions. “These national reflexes harm the reputation of the European project at just the time when European cooperation is most needed.”
In a guest article in the German weekly DIE ZEIT, the two diplomats Wolfgang Ischinger and Boris Ruge urge: “This is indeed about survival. Faced with the greatest crisis since World War II, the EU must focus on winning hearts and minds. For that to happen, member states must show that solidarity is real and that together we can make the difference for millions of Europeans in the life-and-death situation which is now our shared reality.”
In an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt, entrepreneur Reinhold Würth also warns against a further drifting apart of the EU and increasing nationalism. In the long run, he sees no alternative to a stronger European “political unity” in order not to get crushed between the USA, China and Russia and pleads for Euro-bonds worth five trillion euros. “If we want to continue to live in peace and freedom in Europe, why can’t we also take on the debts of Italy or other borrowing countries.” After all, the Würth Group is also prepared to inject money into its Italian and Spanish affiliates.
After tough negotiations, the European finance ministers agreed on a three-way ESM rescue fund, but against Eurobonds. Italy and Spain are disappointed: loans instead of bonds, with conditions attached instead of unlimited aid.
What is to happen now? Are the political unity of the EU and the European single market at stake? Does a single European market also mean a mutualisation of debt? How can the EU economy and society be rebuilt after the crisis? Can positive impulses for Europe also be drawn from the crisis? Should – similar to Reinhold Würth – more leading representatives from business take part in the discussion?
About our guests:
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Guérot is head of the Department of European Politics and Democracy Research at the Danube University in Krems Austria and founder of the European Democracy Lab in Berlin. Previously she worked in senior positions at several leading think tanks and universities in Paris, Brussels, London, Washington and Berlin. Her books “Why Europe should become a Republic” (2016 Dietz) and ” A new civil war: The open Europe and its enemies” (2017 Ullstein) have been translated into numerous languages. In 2019 her two essays “How do you feel about Europe?” and “What is the Nation?” were published by Steidl/IFA. In autumn 2019 she was awarded the Paul Watzlawick Ring of Honour and the Salzburg State Prize for Futures Studies.
Günther H. Oettinger has been President of United Europe since the beginning of 2020.
He served as European Commissioner for Budget & Human Resources from January 2017 to November 2019. From November 2014 to December 2016, he held office as European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society after being European Commissioner for Energy from February 2010 to October 2014 and lastly also Vice-President of the European Commission in 2014. From 2005 to 2010, he was Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg (Germany) and, since 1984, a member of the regional Parliament (“Landtag”). He was the leader of the CDU Landtag group from January 1991 to April 2005.
Boris Ruge joined the German foreign service in 1989. From 2014 to 2016, he served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. From 2016 to 2019, he was Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission at the German Embassy in Washington, DC. Since August 2019, he serves as Vice-Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC).
Filippo Taddei is Associate Professor of International Economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he teaches international finance and macroeconomics. He is also Director of the Bologna Institute for Policy and Research (BIPR) and Director of the Master of Global Risk (MAGR). Ph. D. in Economics with distinction from Columbia University in 2005, Laurea in Economics with honors from the University of Bologna in 2000. From 2013 to 2017 he has been the Economic and Labor Affairs Spokesperson of the Italian Democratic Party and Economic Advisor to the Italian Prime Minister.
Ali Aslan is an internationally renowned TV presenter and journalist with over 20 years experience as a talk show host, news anchor, correspondent and moderator. Aslan’s career includes work for CNN, ABC News, Channel News Asia and Deutsche Welle TV. Throughout his international career, Aslan has interviewed and shared the stage with many world leaders, including Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Bill Clinton, Sergey Lavrov, Christine Lagarde, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright and King Felipe of Spain. Aslan regularly moderates at high-level global conferences, such as the World Economic Forum, the UN General Assembly, G20 Summits, the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings, the Munich Security Conference, NATO Summits, the OECD Forum and many more.