Advancing the German-American Alliance

Building a Smarter German-American Partnership

Updating the Transatlantic Partnership for the Next 70 Years

AGI-ECFR Berlin Symposium, May 15, 2019

The year 2019 marks several major anniversaries that trace the arc of the transatlantic relationship: the April 1949 founding of NATO, the May 1949 establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the November 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Over the last 70 years, the United States and Germany have remained partners as the international system has evolved, external threats have changed, and economic interconnectedness has multiplied. The relationship is experiencing new tests, and our shared future will depend on decisions that Washington and Berlin must make in the foreseeable future. This half-day symposium will examine the challenges facing the transatlantic community and offer a vision for the alliance in the decades ahead.

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Welcome and Introduction

Keynote Address

Niels Annen, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office
Moderator: Jeffrey Rathke, President, AGI

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Niels Annen on whether “crisis mode” will continue in the transatlantic relationship.

Niels Annen answers: Will burdensharing discussions be obsolete in ten years?

Niels Annen: Europe can only defend its interests if it is united.

If the European project is to succeed, Niels Annen calls for Germany and other large countries to listen to the smaller EU members.

Niels Annen: If Europe wants to be stronger on defense, it must make steps toward developing a European defense industry.

Just because the U.S. left the JCPOA is no excuse for Iran to not follow the rules, says Niels Annen.

Session I – Foreign and Security Policy

Andreas Nick, Member of the German Parliament (CDU)
Danielle Pletka, Senior Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Julianne Smith, Weizsäcker Fellow, Robert Bosch Academy
Moderator: Almut Möller, Senior Policy Fellow and Head of Berlin Office, ECFR


Andreas Nick on Germans’ understanding of Trump.

Germans perceive Russia and U.S. as equal threats. Andreas Nick on how that can be.

The German-American relationship has seen policy disagreements over past 70 years, but Andreas Nick notes that Germans’ perception of Trump as a challenge is new.

Andreas Nick calls for Germany to take more responsibility – regardless of what happens in the U.S.

Danielle Pletka calls transatlantic focus on conversation and institutions not part of Trump’s style.

Europe is not a problem for the U.S., says Danielle Pletka. It is still a partner, still shares values, and is where many Americans feel a strong affinity.

Danielle Pletka calls constant conversation about Trump “useless” and calls on Europeans to act instead.

Julie Smith cautions that if Europe doesn’t take burdensharing seriously, it could end up in a more difficult situation.

We are trapped in a moment of transatlantic tension and missing an opportunity for conversation, says Julie Smith.

Julie Smith says that the Trump administration’s focus on 5G with Europe is causing other topics to fall by the wayside.

Session II – Economics

Jörg Kukies, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Finance
Clay Lowery, Managing Director, Rock Creek Global Advisors
Stormy-Annika Mildner, Head of Department External Economic Policy, Federation of German Industries (BDI)
Michael Theurer, Member of the German Parliament (FDP)
Moderator: Peter Rashish, Senior Fellow, Director, Geoeconomics Program, AGI


The EU needs to determine how it will run its finances and if it will spend on agriculture or public goods, notes Jörg Kukies.

Jörg Kukies reveals new collaboration between Germany and France to determine what their policies should be on capital markets union.

Clay Lowery asks: is it time to do something different than the WTO?

The U.S and EU have the institutions needed for financing infrastructure investment and Japan has the finances available. They should all pull together, says Clay Lowery.

Stormy-Annika Mildner calls for an EU China policy that is consistent and comprehensive across all member states.

The WTO is the best option for maintaining an open, global system, says Stormy-Annika Mildner.

Europe needs to work on competitiveness and get its house in order, notes Stormy-Annika Mildner.

Michael Theurer calls for EU member states to create their own alternate program for infrastructure investment.

There is an urgent need for the EU to develop programs in its own neighborhood, notes Michael Theurer.

Michael Theurer suggests there is an overestimation of fiscal and monetary policy and an underestimation on economic and growth policy in the EU.