Heike MacKerron, Director, GMF Berlin
Dr. Norbert Röttgen, Member of the Bundestag, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Melissa Eddy, Berlin Correspondent, International New York Times
The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Voßstr. 20, 10117 Berlin
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The relationship between Germany and the United States has been central to transatlantic cooperation for many years. After a difficult period during the Iraq War, Germans greeted the presidency of Barack Obama with enthusiasm. That enthusiasm has waned, however, as a result of the NSA crisis. In particular, many Germans saw the revelations about U.S. tapping of Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone as the ultimate betrayal of trust. In July 2014, only 27% of Germans viewed the United States as trustworthy, according to an Infratest Dimap poll. This suspicion of the United States now endangers TTIP, the key transatlantic project of this decade, as public attitudes in Germany become increasingly negative.
At the same time, the proliferation of foreign policy crises such as in Ukraine, the Islamic State Group, and Ebola call for enhanced cooperation between the United States and Europe to meet these challenges. Furthermore Germany's creative will in foreign and security policy is increasing - most clearly visible in the Ukraine crisis. What are the effects of these developments on transatlantic relations, do they require a renewed partnership with the United States, and what might a renewed partnership look like?
Dr. Röttgen will analyze the key issues for U.S.-European engagement in the years to come. The discussion will explore the extent to which the alliance can offer concrete solutions to these urgent crises and aim to highlight the opportunities for enhanced transatlantic cooperation.
Dr. Norbert Röttgen, a qualified lawyer, is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Dr. Röttgen served as the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety from October 2009 – May 2012. He has been a member of the German Bundestag since 1994. During this time he has fulfilled key functions within the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the German federal government. In 2009, his first book, Deutschlands beste Jahre kommen noch, was released. It calls for a strategic and well-thought through German political agenda that exercises a formative influence on globalization rather than being at its mercy. Mr. Röttgen holds a PhD in law from Bonn University. He is a senior fellow at the Hertie School of Governance.
Melissa Eddy is the Berlin correspondent for The International New York Times, a position she has held since January 2012. Before that, she covered Germany for The Associated Press, arriving in Frankfurt in 2000 and moving to Berlin in 2005. During her tenure in the German-speaking world, Ms. Eddy has covered every major story, from the resignation of Helmut Kohl to the rise of Angela Merkel; Europe's debt crisis, the Energiewende, immigration and, of course, the NSA scandal and its effect on transatlantic relations. Ms. Eddy got her start in journalism at the AP's Vienna bureau in 1997. From there, she covered the Kosovo crisis and war, breaking the story of the 1999 massacre at Racak, which led directly to the NATO bombing war in Serbia. Ms. Eddy followed NATO troops into Kosovo at the end of that war.