Intelligence squared: Germany is endangering European stability

by Intelligence Squared Germany in collaboration with ECFR


Speakers for the motion:

Lorenzo Fioramonti, Deputy Minister for Education, Member of Italian Parliament (5 Star Movement)
György Schöpflin, Hungarian Politician (Fidesz Party) and Member of the European Parliament

Speakers against the motion:

James Hawes, Author
Vessela Tcherneva, Programme Director and Head of Sofia Office, European Council on Foreign Relations

Chaired by

 Katrin Bennhold, Head of Berlin Office, The New York Times

**Registration closed. We are fully booked** 

The European Council on Foreign Relations, in collaboration with Intelligence Squared, is delighted to present this thought-provoking debate on Germany's role in Europe on Thursday 22nd November at the Hertie School of Governance. Please join our expert panel of speakers, including representatives of the 5 Star Movement, Fidesz and the ECFR, to hear views from across the continent – and have your say.

Germany is the heart of Europe. From trade to the Euro, from immigration to foreign policy – every European debate is ultimately a discussion of what Berlin does or does not want. The powerhouse of the Eurozone, it has taken a hands-on stance on the bloc’s economy, while continuing to defend the EU’s core values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Germany exhibited humanitarian leadership during the refugee crisis and has shown itself to be the only country capable of competently navigating Brexit negotiations, populist threats and belligerent authoritarianism in Central and Eastern Europe. Make no bones about it, Germany is indispensable to the maintenance of a peaceful, stable and outward looking Europe. 

Or is it? Let’s get real. Germany has imposed back-breaking austerity across Southern Europe through undemocratic and unpopular measures that haven’t achieved their economic goals. German diktats issued during the refugee crisis and the challenges of integration have exacerbated cultural tensions across the continent, including within Germany itself. It dodges hard questions on defence and security issues and its own armed forces are in a shambles. What’s more, Germany is displaying little appetite for the reforms the EU so desperately needs in order to ensure its longer-term survival. 

Is Germany really the bastion of European stability that it likes to portray or is it actually the source of European fracture? Hear the arguments from across the continent and have your say.



LORENZO FIORAMONTI Deputy Minister for Education and Member of the Italian Parliament with the 5 Star Movement.  Currently on leave from his role as Full Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). Lorenzo is the Jean Monnet Chair Ad Personam in Africa, a recognition awarded by the European Commission to distinguished academics, and also holds the UNESCO-UNU Chair in Regional Integration, Migration and Free Movement of People.

JAMES HAWES Author of the critically acclaimed “The Shortest History of Germany”, reviewed as a “must read” by The Economist. The Oxford-based Professor and Germanist has been celebrated in the German press as “one of those British intellectuals who combine a thorough knowledge of German culture with a benevolent interest in the country's history and role in Europe”.

GYÖRGY SCHÖPFLIN Hungarian politician and Member of the European Parliament. He is a member of Victor Orban's Fidesz party, part of the European People's Party and sits on the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. György was formerly Jean Monnet Professor of Politics at University of London.

VESSELA TCHERNEVA Programme Director and Head of the Sofia Office at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Vessela is former spokesperson for the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and co-founder of Sofia Platform, a venue for dialogue between members of NGOs, journalists and politicians from Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.