Episode 76: Energy, Trade, and Security—Germany’s Expanded Zeitenwende with FDP Caucus Leader Christian Dürr

Christian Dürr

Member of the German Bundestag (FDP)

Christian Dürr is a German politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) who has been serving as a member of the Bundestag since 2017. Since December 2021 he has been leader of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag.

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AGI

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.



On this episode of the Zeitgeist, our guest is FDP Bundestag Caucus Leader Christian Dürr. He and AGI President Jeff Rathke discuss how Germany has reset its energy policy, the future of trade in a global environment increasingly defined by strategic competition, and how Germany is addressing the threats to its security stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What lessons has Germany taken from its successful efforts to cut energy dependency on Russia and how might it help the country’s transition to green, net-zero energy? To what extent has the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act affected U.S.-German trade, and is it possible to rejuvenate the transatlantic economic partnership? What are the expectations for Germany’s new Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius? How can Germany balance rebuilding the Bundeswehr while continuing to provide military support to Ukraine?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Christian Dürr, FDP member of the German Bundestag

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.