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IEP Lunch Debate with Martin Kotthaus, Head of the European Directorate-General at the Federal Foreign Office


“The EU-27, Brexit and Rome” was the topic of our IEP Lunch Debate with Minis­terial Director Martin Kotthaus, Head of the European Direc­torate-General at the Federal Foreign Office, who we hosted at the European House on 23 May. The event was moderated by Prof. Dr. Mathias Jopp, Director of the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP).

In his speech, Martin Kotthaus gave an assessment of the future of the EU-27, both with regard to Brexit and the negoti­a­tions with Great Britain regarding the country’s withdrawal from the EU as well as in view of the election of Emmanuel Macron and pro-European citizens’ movements such as Pulse of Europe.

Europe was said to stand at a cross­roads. The elections in France, the Bratislava Roadmap and the publi­cation of the EU Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe had shown that many things seem possible once again and that senti­ments in Europe are all together more positive than in the previous year. The Commission’s White Paper was said to have launched discus­sions on topics such as defense policy or a social Europe. Now it would be up to the member states to decide what shape Europe should take going forward. Given that Europe is very diverse, discus­sions on the future of Europe must be conducted openly and inten­sively. He showed optimism in reference to Brexit, as the EU-27 had thus far demon­strated a great amount of unity with regard to this question.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude for this inter­esting speech, as well as to Richard Nikolaus Kühnel, Repre­sen­tative of the European Commission in Germany, for sharing his opening words with our guests.