The Future of Europe: A Conversation with the U.K., EU, and German Ambassadors to the U.S.
- Karen Donfried, President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
- Sir Kim Darroch, Ambassador, The United Kingdom
- David O’Sullivan, Ambassador, The European Union
- Peter Wittig, Ambassador, The Federal Republic of Germany
- Margaret Brennan, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, CBS News
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Europe is facing a stress test. The decision by the British people to leave the European Union has placed the U.K. and Europe in unchartered waters. But this is just one of the many challenges facing Europe today. Large-scale immigration through the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans has called in to question the EU's Schengen Agreement, and strengthened nationalist parties across Europe. The rising threat of terrorism has become all too real on the streets of France, Belgium, and Germany, at a time when questions remain about the EU’s ability to project itself overseas. And Russian adventurism continues to threaten the basic values and principles on which today's Europe was founded. These issues will be the focus of a discussion with U.K. Ambassador Kim Darroch, EU Ambassador David O'Sullivan, and German Ambassador Peter Wittig. The conversation will be moderated by CBS News Foreign Affairs Correspondent Margaret Brennan.
Sir Kim Darroch’s diplomatic career spans three decades and has been primarily focused on national security issues and European Union policy. Darroch served as the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor, from January 2012 to September 2015 acting as Secretary of the National Security Council and leading the National Security Team on issues such as the rise of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, Russian aggression in Ukraine, the nuclear threat from Iran and the collapse of government authority in Libya. Prior to his appointment as National Security Advisor, Darroch served in Brussels as the U.K. Permanent Representative to the European Union from 2007-11, representing U.K. interests in areas such as enlargement, the aftermath of the financial crisis, and the issues around European integration. From 2004-07, Darroch served as EU Advisor to the Prime Minister and Head of the Cabinet Office European Secretariat. Earlier in his career, Darroch served in a wide range of positions and policy specialties, including Private Secretary to the Minister of State responsible for the Middle East, Head of the Adriatic Department during the Dayton Accord negotiations, and Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office News Department. In addition to his two postings to Brussels, Darroch has completed tours in Tokyo and Rome. Darroch attended Durham University, where he read Zoology, and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1977. In 1997, he was appointed a Companion of Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG), and as a Knight Commander (KCMG) in 2008.
David O’Sullivan was appointed Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC, from November 2014. As the European Union’s top diplomat to the United States, Mr. O’Sullivan oversees the EU’s bilateral relationship with the U.S. and the direction and work of the EU Delegation including political, economic and commercial affairs. Mr. O’Sullivan has a long and distinguished career that spans five decades. He has served in a number of senior official posts in the European public service. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador to the U.S., he was the Chief Operating Officer of the ‘European External Action Service’ and responsible for establishing this new EU diplomatic service. The Service is one of the largest diplomatic networks with 140 delegations across the globe. Mr. O’Sullivan’s career includes a number of notable and senior positions within the European Commission: Head of Commission President Prodi’s Cabinet (1999-2000), Secretary General of the European Commission (2000-05). He has extensive trade experience as Director General for Trade (2005-10) and Chief Negotiator for the Doha Development Round. He was responsible for overseeing the launch of a number of free trade agreements and concluded the EU’s agreement with South Korea. Before joining the Commission, he started his career with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1977-79).
Peter Wittig has served as German Ambassador to the United States since April 2014. Prior to this, he was German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and represented Germany during its tenure as a member of the UN Security Council in 2011 and 2012. There, he drew on his wide expertise in United Nations matters, having previously served as Director-General for United Nations and Global Issues at the German Foreign Office in Berlin. Wittig joined the German Foreign Service in 1982. He has served at the Embassy in Madrid; as private secretary to the Foreign Minister at the headquarters, then located in Bonn; and as Ambassador in Lebanon and in Cyprus. He was the German Government Special Envoy on the “Cyprus question” (the division of Cyprus). He has acquired extensive knowledge of the Middle East. Before starting his career in the German Foreign Service, Wittig studied history, political science, and law at Bonn, Freiburg, Canterbury, and Oxford universities and taught as an assistant professor at the University of Freiburg.
Margaret Brennan is a foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, and joined its Washington bureau in 2012. Brennan's reporting has taken her around the world from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and points beyond while reporting on national security and foreign policy. Brennan was also part of the CBS News team honored with a 2012-13 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for coverage of the Newtown tragedy. While covering the State Department, Brennan has reported extensively on the nuclear negotiations with Iran, efforts to confront ISIS, the diplomatic breakthrough to restore relations with Cuba, the conflict in Ukraine, and the accord to transfer control of Syria's chemical weapons. She was among the first reporters to interview both Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister following the landmark agreement to freeze the Iranian nuclear program. Brennan has traveled with and reported on Secretary of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton as well as Defense Secretaries Carter and Hagel. Brennan conducted the first American television interview with South Korean President Park Geun-hye following the 2013 uptick in North Korea's nuclear testing. Prior to joining CBS News, Brennan spent a decade covering the global financial markets. She anchored a weekday Bloomberg Television show called "InBusiness with Margaret Brennan." Previously, Brennan was a correspondent at CNBC with a focus on the consumer during the financial crisis. She also contributed to various NBC News programs. Brennan is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the Advisory Board for the University of Virginia School of Politics. A Connecticut native, Brennan graduated with highest distinction from the University of Virginia, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies with a minor in Arabic. As a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, she studied Arabic at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. She is also the recipient of an honorary doctor of letters degree from Niagara University.