A Transatlantic Talk with German State Secretary Markus Ederer
On April 20, 2016, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) hosted German State Secretary Markus Ederer to discuss the German response to the multiple crises facing Europe. This latest installment of GMF’s Transatlantic Talks series was moderated by The Washington Post columnist and GMF Trustee David Ignatius.
Ederer began by discussing the upcoming UK referendum on membership in the European Union. He indicated that should the UK decide to exit the EU, Europe will be “less of an actor on the world stage,” particularly in matters of security. Ederer also expressed concern that other EU member states may choose to hold similar referendums.
In terms of improving European internal security, Ederer underscored the difficult political issues related to intelligence sharing. While there are efforts underway to create an EU intelligence agency, members must consider intelligence gathering balanced on the “fulcrum of sovereignty.” Ederer indicated that bilateral intelligence sharing has improved since the attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Turning to the migrant crisis, Ederer highlighted how last summer’s influx of refugees has created serious challenges for the EU. He noted that the decision by certain European leaders to decline refugees on a religious basis threatens the value of consensus within the EU. He also explained that the goals of the agreement with Turkey are to lessen the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea and establish a UN managed refugee resettlement program.
Ederer concluded by discussing Germany’s role in the Ukraine crisis. He pointed out that the U.S. and Germany worked closely together during the Minsk negotiations and in the implementation of the sanctions regime against Russia. When considering how Germany confronts a Russia that asserts a separate identity, Ederer indicated that Germany’s eventual goal is still to reincorporate Russia into a common European space.