The following issues are suggested as topics for discussion at the conference.
Others may well will suggest themselves.
- Brexit will continue to dominate politics in the UK. What should be the main aims in the UK position for negotiations with the EU? What chances does the UK have of realising its aims, and what might a realistic outcome look like from both the UK’s as well as Germany’s points of view? Is a common view achievable?
- How widely has the feeling that the benefits of globalisation have not been fairly distributed in the UK and possibly other EU member states, contributed to Brexit and anti-establishment attitudes? What accounts for high levels of dissatisfaction with ‘Brussels’? What might be done to counter this?
- Depending on the outcome of the UK/EU negotiations what is the likelihood of Scotland holding another independence referendum and Northern Ireland deciding on a much closer relationship with the Republic of Ireland leading to eventual Union? Both processes driven by a majority view in both countries that they wish to remain members of the EU.
- Can the EU rise to the challenge of agreeing a long term policy on immigration which divides those arriving into economic migrants and refugees? Can they take the step of separating an offer of asylum from automatic citizenship after three or so years of residence? Will they accept that Syria is not the main driver of immigration which smart phones are making more attractive to sub-Saharan and other economic migrants? Is it thought that the agreement with Turkey will last given Erdogan’s record on human rights in Turkey?
- How have Germany and Sweden coped with major influxes of both asylum seekers as well as economic migrants? What lessons can be drawn from their experience so far?
- Can Schengen survive on an EU wide basis? Is it the main driver of opposition parties in EU member States?
- What effect on the development of EU will the results of the US Presidential elections have?
- What is the future of the Euro given the wide disparities in economic development and attitudes to free market economies as opposed to those which are more influenced by state decisions – currently the focus of difficulty and probably the defining issue in the 2017 French Presidential election?
- Will Germany agree to the other elements needed to support the Euro in the future, in particular a ‘federal’ insurance policy to help countries which get into difficulties?
- Will the ECB’s policy of Quantitative Easing succeed in boosting lending and thus growth in the Eurozone?
- What solution to the Greek debt crisis can be found that is acceptable to both to Germany and Greece?
- Will stability return to markets in China?
- There is likely to be continuing uncertainty in US Fed policy until the US Presidential election is over on 8 November. How will this affect the economic and financial outlook in the EU?
- What financial effect might aggressive Russian policies in Ukraine have on confidence in EU markets? Will a new gas pipeline to the EU deliver more growth or more dependence both economically as well as politically?
Future of the EU
- The UK’s intention to leave the EU on the grounds that it has become an undemocratic and unrepresentative institution has raised similar concerns in other EU countries. What does Germany want to see the EU become – A United States of Europe with all the relevant institutions (on US lines) or a United Europe of States with more subsidiarity to Member States and only the main lines of policy decided in the Community institutions?
- How big a role should the European Parliament play given that many would claim it does not represent a European electorate but an amalgamation of national parties with similar views. What can be done to give the Parliament greater legitimacy to go with its increased powers?
- What are the prospects of Turkey joining the EU?
- Have Greece’s difficulties and the immigration challenge brought into sharp focus the question of solidarity between EU Member States?
- Will the US presidential election – whichever candidate wins- result in greater demands that EU member states who are also members of NATO should pay their committed contributions or face a less committed partner. Should there be a ‘European’ Army?
- How can the EU use its considerable ‘soft power’ to its benefit?