Virtual Annual Council Meeting | 29-30 June 2020 | #ecfr20


The ECFR Annual Council Meeting is one of the leading conferences on Europe’s foreign policy. This year, the meeting took place virtually on 29-30 June. 

Originally planned to be held in Berlin, this year's Annual Council Meeting was the first one held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The focus this year was Europe's Sovereignty agenda, impact of the covid-19 pandemic and the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020.


Monday, 29 June

12.00 – 12.55

Opening: Germany in Europe and the German EU presidency

  • Heiko Maas, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Germany (pre-recorded)
  • Followed by discussion:
  • Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Deputy Chairman of FDP parliamentary group, German Parliament
  • Franziska Brantner, Member of the Bundestag; spokeswoman for European policy and parliamentary whip for Alliance 90/The Greens
  • Niels Annen, Minister of State, Federal Foreign Office; Member of the Bundestag
  • Norbert Röttgen, Co-Chair, ECFR; Chairman for Foreign Affairs Committee, German Parliament
  • Chaired by Lykke Friis, Co-Chair, ECFR; Director of Think Tank Europa
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13.00 – 14.00

A Europe Ready to Compete? EU-China relations and the new geopolitical realities

  • Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age; European Commissioner for Competition
  • Carl Bildt, Co-Chair, ECFR; Former Prime Minister and Former Foreign Minister, Sweden
  • Chaired by Janka Oertel, Director, Asia programme, ECFR
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14.15 – 15.15

Security Cooperation after Brexit

  • Mircea Geoana, Deputy Secretary General, NATO
  • Lisa Nandy, Shadow Foreign Secretary, House of Commons
  • David McAllister, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament
  • Chaired by Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs, King’s College London
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15.20 – 16.20

Quarantimes Special Session

  • Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • Chaired by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Board Member, ECFR; Former Prime Minister of Denmark
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16.30 – 17.15

A conversation with George Soros

  • George Soros, Founder and Chairman, Open Society Foundations
  • Chaired by Mabel van Oranje, Emeritus Chair, ECFR; Chair, Girls Not Brides
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17.30 – 18.30

Europe’s role in global health

  • Jens Spahn, Federal Minister of Health, Germany
  • Mark Suzman, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Chaired by Gunilla Carlsson, Former Deputy Executive Director, UNAIDS; Former Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden
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Tuesday, 30 June

10.30 – 11.30

History revisited: Global implications of pandemics and lessons learned from the past

  • Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London
  • Margaret MacMillan, Professor of History, University of Toronto
  • Chaired by Marta Dassù, Board member, ECFR; Senior Advisor for European Affairs, The Aspen Institute
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12.00 – 13.00

European solidarity in crisis mode

  • Opening by Jana Puglierin, Head, ECFR Berlin
  • Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Finance, France
  • Manuel Muñiz, State Secretary for Global Spain
  • Alexander Stubb, Board Member, ECFR; Director of the European University Institute’s School of Transnational Governance; Former Prime Minister of Finland
  • Chaired by Teresa Gouveia, Board Member, ECFR; Former Foreign Minister, Portugal
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13.05 – 14.00

Covid-19, geopolitics and European sovereignty

  • Opening by Susi Dennison, Director, European Power programme, ECFR
  • Ivan Krastev, Board Member, ECFR; Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies
  • Alexander Soros, Deputy Chair, Open Society Foundations
  • Chaired by Mark Leonard, Director, ECFR
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