Young Transatlantic Network Commemorates GMF’s 40th Anniversary
On June 5, the Berlin chapter of GMF’s Young Transatlantic Network hosted a reception to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Marshall Plan and the 40th anniversary of the German Marshall Fund. Partnering with the U.S. Embassy and the German Council on Foreign Relations, alumni from various transatlantic networks were invited to the Willy-Brandt-Haus, headquarters of the German Social Democratic Party, where the party’s chairman, Sigmar Gabriel, and U.S. Ambassador Philip D. Murphy spoke to over 80 guests. Sudha David-Wilp, Senior Program Officer with GMF, introduced the speakers and welcomed the audience.
Looking back on the histories of the Marshall Plan and the German Marshall Fund, Mr. Gabriel emphasized the continued importance of the transatlantic link in a time of shifting global priorities, emerging powers, and new partnerships. He refuted notions of diverging transatlantic interests and an erosion in the partnership. Instead, he called for new initiatives and approaches to further boost the strong existing linkages. In particular, the transatlantic agenda should focus on global challenges given that they can only be tackled successfully if North America and Europe work in tandem. Germany, in particular, has a special responsibility which it should take on much more confidently. Europe depends on a strong Germany as much as Germany needs a strong Europe. Mr. Gabriel called for more European solidarity, a ‘European Marshall Plan’ to help ailing EU member states in Europe’s south overcome their economic and fiscal woes.
Ambassador Murphy warmly welcomed members of GMF’s Young Transatlantic Network and other alumni in the audience, noting the importance of celebrating the Marshall Plan’s 65th anniversary with future generations of decision-makers. He highlighted the “revolutionary” legacy of the Marshall Plan which still carries important lessons for today’s problems: it not only brought the countries of a war-torn continent together but also remains a perfect example of bipartisan cooperation in times of crisis. Ambassador Murphy said the Marshall Plan was not only about U.S. Dollars, but, chiefly, about the “responsibility and respect that go with cooperation and partnership”.