BERLIN, November 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Berggruen Institute on Governance: Berlin Meetings Emphasize German Leadership and the Necessity of Strengthening Democracy in a Unified Europe
- Cross-reference: Document is available at http://www.presseportal.de/pm/106912/?keygroup=dokument -
The Berggruen Institute's Council for the Future of Europe met in Berlin on October 29 and 30 privately and in an all-day public Town Hall.
The importance of France, and of the Franco-German relationship, came up throughout the meetings, and a major conference is now being considered by the Council to be held in Paris in 2013.
Five principal themes and perceptions dominated the two days of debate.
First was a widespread recognition that Europe had to extend its own unity if it were to retain a strong international role. None of its constituent states could hope to play a large global role as an individual nation.
Second, participants all seemed to accept that Europe's crisis response had led to the dominance of a few strong economies, above all Germany's. This "intergovernmental process" was borne of circumstance rather than intention or democratic policy-making.
Third, there was a strong consensus among council members and most panelists that recent measures by the European Central Bank were not definitive, but rather gave policymakers a limited amount of time in which to restore the credibility of eurozone and EU decision making.
Fourth, most participants argued that structural changes should also be pursued in the relatively near term: the period from now through the 2014 Europarliament elections. There were strong calls - from Schauble, Blair, Papandreou and others - for an elected European executive.
Finally, and relatedly, there was continuous discussion of whether the process of European unity was to be shaped principally by economic forces, with politics reacting, or by political decision-making that, through government, could decisively shape the landscape in ways that reflected the democratic will of Europe's citizens as well as the preferences of markets.
More information is available at Berggruen.org and myropa2012.de.
Scott Malcomson, Director of Communications, Berggruen institute on Governance, SM@berggruen.org.
NICOLAS BERGGRUEN INSTITUTE ON GOVERNANCE