Merkel, Kissinger Stress Lasting Power of Transatlantic Partnership at German Marshall Fund Event
BERLIN — Today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated the power of international cooperation for creating “win-win situations.” Speaking in Berlin at an event hosted by The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan, Chancellor Merkel underscored, “[The Marshall Plan] showed how politics is to be understood with common convictions and values, and how it can work for all. When we stand up for shared values, we have peace and prosperity.”
Merkel did stress the need for a self-reliant Europe to address its own economic and security challenges. "After the latest NATO Summit in May, we know that we Europeans now face a huge challenge...and we have to take our fate into our own hands. This is our responsibility," she said, reiterating an important campaign message to a transatlantic audience, first heard in a “beer tent” at a Christian Social Union rally.
"Courageous leaders working in cooperation brought about European solidarity and transatlantic partnership."
Chancellor Merkel was preceded by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who spoke about the lessons the Marshall Plan provides for meeting the challenges the world faces today. “Courageous leaders working in cooperation brought about European solidarity and transatlantic partnership,” said Kissinger, citing the success of the Marshall Plan for bringing about the current liberal international order and commending the continued efforts of leaders such as Chancellor Merkel to foster global cooperation. “Great vision is a prerequisite of great achievement,” he stated.
Initiated in June of 1947 by then-U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall, the Marshall Plan was integral to reconciling Germany with the rest of Europe, rebuilding European economies after the devastation of World War II, and establishing the institutions that have underpinned transatlantic security and prosperity for the past 70 years. GMF President Karen Donfried, who opened the event, said, “Among its many achievements, the Marshall Plan is remembered as one of the most successful examples of a foreign assistance program.”
Established on the 25th anniversary of the Marshall Plan with a gift from the German government, GMF has strengthened transatlantic cooperation in the spirit of the Marshall Plan for the last 45 years. Chancellor Merkel celebrated GMF’s work saying, “For Germany, GMF helps to understand the American spirit. And, GMF helps Americans understand our country.” She continued, “For more than 45 years, GMF has served as a transatlantic exchange, building mutual understanding, providing information, clarifying positions, and identifying commonalties.”
Brexit, disagreements over trade and NATO funding, and the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement have all shaken the stability of transatlantic relations in recent months. Today’s event sent a strong message of the continued value and vitality of the transatlantic partnership established by the Marshall Plan.
The event also included a panel discussion with Dr. Michael Ignatieff, president and rector of Central European University; Matthias Machnig, Germany’s state secretary for the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; and Dr. Kori Schake, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. The conversation explored lessons from the Marshall Plan for the present era of globalization, economic and demographic changes, and evolving security concerns. Panelists emphasized the importance of securing popular support for international cooperation. GMF Vice President and Director of the Berlin office Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff moderated the discussion.
The event, held at the Deutsche Historisches Museum in Berlin, drew approximately 200 leading figures from the fields of politics, business, and media. BMW, the Embassy of the United States, Google, and the KfW sponsored the celebration.
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