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FRANCE AND GERMANY – Driving European defence

This event is co-organised with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and IRSEM.

The European continent must plan and prepare for an unpredictable world. A changing leadership in the United States, globally increased defence spending, contested multilateralism, violent conflicts, social inequality, mass migration, Brexit, and Russia’s increased assertiveness beg the question: what role for Europe as a regional and global security actor?

How closely aligned are French and German views on these issues? Can the two countries be the cornerstone for the EU’s proposed ‘Defence Union’? What other coalitions exist within the EU, such as the Weimar Triangle or the Visegrad Four? What are the implications if the UK’s military strengths can no longer be counted on? Is Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) now the best way forward? Is there common ground for stronger coordination between France’s and Germany’s investment and modernization priorities? How far are these aligned with European priorities?

IMAGE CREDIT: Shutterstock

Programme

10.15 – 11.00 Welcome coffee and registration of participants

The current geopolitical landscape calls for a stronger security emphasis in Europe. Instability the EU’s neighbourhood and beyond, globally increased defence spending, contested multilateralism, violent conflicts, social inequality and mass migration, combined with Brexit, unclear directions from the new U.S. administration and increasing Russian are cause for concern. While the EU’s new global strategy paves the way, details of implementation are yet to become clear. How prepared is Europe to face these challenges?

How will the 2017 elections in France and Germany impact the two countries’ foreign policies? How closely aligned are French and German views of Europe’s role as a regional and global security provider? Can the two countries be the cornerstone for the EU’s proposed ‘Defence Union’? What other coalitions exist within the EU, and do informal groups such as the Weimar Triangle or the Visegrad Four carry weight in setting European defence priorities? What are the implications if the UK’s military strengths can no longer be counted on?

12.30 – 13.30 Networking Lunch

The barriers to a rapid strengthening of Europeans’ weakened military outreach appear daunting. Money alone won’t solve the problem, but must be combined with strategic upgrade of CSDP, institutional reform and the harmonisation of capability development. Is Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) now the best way forward? Is there common ground for stronger coordination between France’s and Germany’s investment and modernization priorities? How far are these aligned with European, and notably EDA priorities? Will the promised yearly €500m in EU support under the new European Defence Action Plan prove a significant addition to the €20bn Europe’s defence industries already spend on R&D?

Moderated by
Pauline Massart / Deputy Director Security & Geopolitics, Friends of Europe
Uwe Optenhögel / Director EU-Office, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Speakers

  • Alice Pannier

    Researcher, Institute de Recherches Stratégiques de l'École Militaire (IRSEM)

  • Niels Annen

    Foreign Affairs Spokesman, SPD Group in the Bundestag

  • Hans-Peter Bartels

    MP Bundestag, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces

  • Alain Le Roy

    French Ambassador. Former Secretary General of the EEAS

  • Paul Taylor

    European Affairs Editor, Politico

  • Pauline Massart

    Deputy Director, Security and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, and Member of Women in International Security (WIIS) Brussels

  • Uwe Optenhögel

    Director EU-Office, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Contact info

Pauline Massart, Deputy Director Security & Geopolitics
Tel: +32 2 300 29 91
Email: pauline.massart@friendsofeurope.org

Registration

Click here to register.

Partners

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