24. October 2012

How does the young generation perceive the international developments such as the crisis in Europe, the role of political Islam in the Arab world or the global shift to the Asia-Pacific? The Berlin Foreign Policy Forum took into account the voices of young Europeans.

FutureLabbers took part alongside the leading members of the foreign policy community, among them William Hague, Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom; Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany; Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Finland; Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Communities or Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, former Spokesman on Iran’s nuclear file.

FutureLab Europe members Marian Cramers (Belgium), Enja Sæthren (Norway), Heidi Beha and Lukas Brück (Germany), Georgi Ivanov Michev (Bulgaria) and Daniele Mallamaci (Italy) had put their thoughts on Europe in personal blogs. Thus, they also brought the inputs from the discussions in their young social media community to the Forum in Berlin. “The euro is more than just a currency” says Lukas Brueck. He points out the proportionality – if the sums to save Europe today seem unbelievable, one should bear in mind that in the 1990 and 2004 much more money has flowed from the old to the new states. For him, the (re) unification of Europe is today. Berlin also witnessed the optimism of Guido Westerwelle, German Foreign Minister stating “we are only at the beginning of the history of the EU, not at the end”.

Marian Cramer pointed out the value of a united Europe. To the traveling, multilingual and mobile Erasmus generation the nation-state is of much less importance. “Today’s generation is living in a professional and social environment where identity is more diverse, multi-layered and seemingly contradictory than ever before. As a consequence, the nation state is becoming somewhat irrelevant at best, and a severe limitation to individual ambition and development at worst.” she argues.

“The change in transatlantic relations is due to the European success story” stated Dr de Maiziere, German minister of defense. What is the future of transatlantic relations with the United States focused more on the Pacific realm and connections with Asia, was questioned by Georgi Ivanov Michev and Daniele Mallamaci. Heidi Beha folowed on how could Europe enter the game with emerging powers in Asia. Within the last panel Enja Sæthren participated in discussing the importance of political Islam.

Common to our young Europeans to share views of the older generation do not always: they feel their own identity as a complex, see more opportunities, less threat and are willing to make sacrifices to secure a shared future.

More about the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum