The German Presidency and the Conference on the Future of Europe: high hopes, low expectations
At this event a group of panelists discussed the German Presidency and the Conference on the Future of Europe. Over the past months, the need to respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and its multiple economic, societal and political consequences have come to dominate the policy agenda in Brussels. In the eyes of many actors in Brussels, this places enormous responsibility on the German Council Presidency. Brussels-based stakeholders would like Berlin, and particularly Angela Merkel, to set the course for a major strategic reorientation of the Union. However, there is much scepticism that Germany can achieve this in its short term at the helm of the Council. A recent survey undertaken by the EPC, KAS and ifok of the Brussels community indicates that there are similar expectations of the German Presidency with regard to the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE): an acknowledgment of the potential of this initiative for much-needed EU reform, coupled with doubts that it will actually produce meaningful results.
This Policy Dialogue explored the survey findings in more detail. How do Brussels-based stakeholders see the CoFoE and what do they expect from it in practice? How do the ambitions of Brussels and Berlin for the Conference compare? Is the Brussels community confident that the German Presidency can bridge existing divisions in the EU and use the COVID-19 crisis as a means to promote closer European integration? What does the future of the EU look like in the eyes of Brussels stakeholders? The panel addressed these and other questions.
The event was moderated by Corina Stratulat, Head of Programme, European Policy Centre. Speakers included: Sixtine Bouygues, Deputy-Director General, DG Communication, European Commission; Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Director of Studies, European Policy Centre; Luca Jahier, Former President, European Economic and Social Committee; and Katja Leikert, Member of the German Bundestag.
Link to video on YouTube here
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