Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

Archive 2013

​Previous Conferences


Global Power Shifts and Progressive Foreign Policy

In recent years, European countries have changed their point of view towards their neighboring country Germany. After Germany's predominant depiction as the »sick man of Europe« in the 1990's, reports about German dominance have become more frequent today.

On the one hand, Germany's constant orientation towards the EU and the NATO as central references has inspired confidence after the Second World War. On the other hand, it laid the foundation for the economic and political success of Germany. »Nevermore alone« has become the principle for German foreign policy.

However, in the view of numerous EU countries, the crisis in the Euro area has started to bleaken Germany's generally positive reputation. Germany's economic strength has manoeuvred its government in Berlin into a leading role in Europe which it had not been prepared for. In many member states, Germany's strict austerity programs and the unusual rough tone have been confronted with growing criticism. Among the G8 and G20, irritations about the German decreed austerity are on the rise as well. With the continuous duration of the crisis, Germany's voice has gained in importance worldwide.

Altogether, emerging nations have changed global power for their benefit. Although this results in Europe’s comparative loss of power, Germany’s importance in consultations with BRICS countries is increasing. High-ranking consultations as with China and India illustrate the increasing international interest in Germany as well as a changed self-image of German foreign policy. For the large part, the German public does not realize that these exclusive relations have also evoked mistrust towards the basic orientation of German foreign policy. This mistrust was strengthened by the German abstention during the Libya crisis.

On the other hand, according to a former speech of the Polish foreign minister Sikorski, Germany is facing further expectations to take on a stronger leading role.

A progressive impulse for German foreign policy should face new global conditions and look for answers in accordance with its basic orientation. Willy Brandt once formulated the maxim: »We seek to be a nation of good neighbors, to ourselves and to the world.« This principle is more current than ever.


PDF   Download program as PDF (German version)


Panelist_innen der Tiergartenkonferenz 2013, vlnr: Daniel Hamilton (Johns Hopkins University), Rolf Mützenich (SPD-Bundestagsfraktion), Niels Annen (FES) und Almut Möller (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik); Photo: Jens Schicke
Audio: Conference Podcast

on German foreign politics in a world of shifting powers (in German).

The audiofile is also available for download.

Egon Bahr speaking at FES Tiergarten Conference 2013, 11.06.2013, Photo: Jens Schicke
Audio: Opening Key Note

by Egon Bahr, Former Minister and Advisor to Chancellor Willy Brandt, on »Germany: A Stabilising Factor in Europe Without a Global Strategy« (in German)


The audiofile is also available for download.

FES Publications on Global Power Shifts


Bulmahn, Edelgard et al.: Eckpunkte einer Strategie für Friedensförderung und Konflikttransformation, Eckpunktepapier, Februar 2013

Friesendorf, Cornelius / Krempel, Jörg: Sicherheitssektorreform und Friedensförderung - Internationale Trends und deutsche Möglichkeiten, FES Perspektive, November 2012

Crossley-Frolick, Katy A.: Between Modest Ambitions and Limited Resources - An Outside Perspective on German Conflict Prevention Policy, FES International Policy Analysis, October 2012

Rotmann, Philipp: Sicherheitssektorreform und die Vereinten Nationen - Erfahrungen und Chancen für deutsches Engagement, FES Perspektive, Oktober 2012


Maihack, Henrik: Indiens Außenpolitik 2.0 - Mehr Pragmatismus weniger Nostalgie, Perspektive FES Indien, Dezember 2012

Murthy, Changavalli Siva Rama: India as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2011-12, FES Perspective, May 2011

Bhasin, Shikha / Engelmeier, Tobias F. After Cancún - India's new role as an international Deal Maker, FES Perspective, April 2011

Engelmeier, Tobias F. / Roth, Isabelle-Jasmin: After Copenhagen and before Cancun - India on the way to a global agreement on energy and climate policies, FES Perspective, November 2010


Acharya, Amitav: Common Security with Asia - Changing Europe’s Role from »Model« to »Partner«, FES International Policy Analysis, December 2012

Ruiz Ferreira, Carlos Enrique:Brazil as a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council During the 2010–2011 Term, FES Perspective, November 2012

Haibin, Niu: BRICS in Global Governance - A progressive force?, Perspective FES New York, April 2012

Arbeitskreis Internationale Sicherheitspolitik: China als sicherheitspolitischer Akteur, FES Internationale Politikanalyse, Oktober 2011