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First German-Italian Dialogue on the Future of Europe: “Germany and Italy — Partners in Constructing Europe”

On 22 and 23 January, 2015, the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and the Istituto Affari Inter­nazionali (IAI) organised the first German-Italian Dialogue on the Future of Europe at the Residenza di Ripetta in Rome. Under the title “Germany and Italy – Partners in Constructing Europe” some 200 partic­i­pants from Italy and Germany discussed the current challenges within the European Union (EU) in the areas of economic policy, energy policy and foreign policy as well as Germany’s and Italy’s role and contri­bution to the construction of Europe’s future.

This first German-Italian Dialogue was attended by top-ranking repre­sen­ta­tives from politics, business and academia, along with young researchers and profes­sionals, to discuss possible solutions to the current European challenges from German and Italian perspec­tives. As core members of the EU, both countries share a particular respon­si­bility for solidarity in times of crisis, which has been manifested both in terms of content and values as well as in the long-standing collab­o­ration between the two states.

By tackling the questions of a common European strategy to strengthen compet­i­tiveness, growth and employment in Europe, of the challenges in Eastern Europe and of the devel­opment of further integration measures, e.g., in the form of an energy union, the forum was devoted to a wide range of themes over these two days.

Michele Valensise (Secretary General, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Inter­na­tional Cooper­ation, Rome), Martina Nibbeling-Wrießnig (Minister Plenipo­ten­tiary and Director, Department for Economy, Finance and Social Affairs; Deputy Director of the German Embassy in Rome) and Claudia Dörr-Voß (Director General for European Policy, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Berlin) opened the conference by empha­sizing the signif­i­cance of analyzing these problems against the background of events concurrent to the conference, such as the European Central Bank’s (ECB) announcement on the quanti­tative easing programme, the ongoing unrest in Ukraine, the pending election in Greece, and the accom­pa­nying uncer­tainty about the future devel­opment of the Eurozone and of the EU as a whole.

By Josefa Glass and Anthony Baumann