The Alfred von Oppenheim Center for the Future of Europe (AOZ), named after DGAP’s president between 2003 and 2005, asks how the European Union can become more strategic in its decisions and actions and what this would require from Germany.
The EU has experienced a decade of global crises, during which it was at the epicenter of the problems and increasingly peripheral to the solutions. This has damaged its reputation for good governance, playful geopolitics, and an ability to anticipate future trends. Both the EU and Germany risk falling into a habit of reactive crisis management.
In order to help remedy this, the work of the Europe program of the AOZ comprises four strands that think strategically about global opportunities and threats to the EU as well as the role of German European policy in responding to them. Each strand is pertinent to the work of Brussels and Berlin in re-establishing the EU’s strategic capacity:
- Europe in the World
Using foresight methods, scenarios, and table-top thought exercises, this strand anticipates the future shape of globalization and looks at opportunities for the EU to influence it. One of its key components is the “European Capacity to Act” project, which looks forward to 2030 by asking how and in what fields the EU needs to build capabilities. This strand also assesses how the EU can continue harnessing its internal market in favor of cooperative relations, international security, and liberal politics.
- EU foreign policy and strategic autonomy
- The Role of the EU in international organizations
- EU regulation of global trade, capital, and labor flow
- The World in Europe
Embracing cross-border integration has exposed the EU to new threats – hybrid warfare, the weaponization of cross-border flows, and foreign interference – as outside powers like China and Russia, as well as non-state actors like organized crime groups, exploit its vulnerabilities. This strand asks how the EU can reinvent its handling of cross-border flows and how the EU can re-establish this flagship element of its international standing.
- Hybrid threats
- Border management and technologies
- Irregular migration
- The Schengen crisis
- Germany in Europe
The way that Germany makes and implements its political choices matters for the strategic direction of Europe. The Eurozone crisis, the appointment of German officials to prominent EU roles, and, now, Brexit have placed Germany center stage. Consequently, the country has become an indispensable partner for other countries wishing to influence EU affairs. Against this background, this strand evaluates how Germany should choose and handle its partnerships and coalitions.
- Political developments in southern, nordic, and eastern EU member states
- Relations to the EU
- Europe in Germany
All strategic processes need to mobilize citizens behind common goals. Although Germany has achieved widespread popular support for European integration, a decade of crises has undermined the EU’s reputation in Germany. These crises have also led to the centralization of decision-making in Brussels. This strand asks how to improve popular participation in European policy and how to use cross-border networks of cities, businesses, and citizens to bring European perspectives into Germany.
- City diplomacy
- Public diplomacy
- Dialogue to other European think tanks