In the beginning of June I joint a group of young professionals that were invited by the Hertie Foundation Alumni Club (also known as Hertoe Fellows and Friends) to discuss European Politics and current political developments in Europe with the Dutch ambassador Monique van Daalen.
The lively debate at the beautiful residency of the ambassador in Dahlem was accompanied by great dutch food and nice talks in between the open debate.
The opening remarks by Ms van Daalen were highliting the dutch stance on current issies within the debate sorrounding the European internal crisis management and towards how to approach current international crisis and challenges from a common european perspective. She emphasized the common interests of germany and the netherlands especially on Foreign Policy issues but also with relation to the European Unions future structure and profile.
After a second interesting input from Maurits Meijer a PhD student at the Hertie School of Governance working on populism in right wing and left wing parties in Europe and how they influence the positions of center parties on policy issues the debate centered around the European Union. The pariticipants highlighted that for many people living in the EU the community has always been primarily an economic one to the benefit of all members.
The fact that the political elite did not invest enough time, efforts and resources into explaining the benefits of the community for every single citizen was mentioned. But also more ciritical statements were raised. The fact that the Union has been build primarily for economic collaboration and benefit was largely agreed upon. In light of this some of the participants argued for a more social Europe that would also take the demands of its citizens into account and not only regulate the markets and flow of goods and work.
All in all it was an inspiring evening in the embassy of my second home.
is a researcher and PhD student in political science, freelance journalist and photographer interested in Democracy, Transition, Authoritarianism and Security especially in the MIddle East and North Africa.