A few hours ago I had the pleasure of attending an on-the-record discussion with the former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer at Chatham House here in London.
As may be expected, Fischer’s talk “Germany Twenty Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall” was a compelling presentation of the myriad meanings, consequences, and possibilities brought upon Europe at the end of the Cold War, as well as a discussion of the lessons for Germany’s future within the European system.
Coming from a Russophile perspective, I was very interested in what Fischer had to say about his frustration with Europe’s seeming inability to get its act together with regard to common energy policies, and the way that the actions of certain members has created some vulnerabilities to manipulation by suppliers. Fischer echoed an argument frequently published on this blog with regard to energy security – that Russia needs Europe much more than Europe needs Russia – and that the only to see that Russian elites integrate this fact into their decision making is for Europe to restructure and develop a truly global energy policy. The former FM, who is also on the board of the excellent think tank ECFR, also discussed at length the importance of Europe to engage with Turkey, not only as a critical energy supply route partner, but also for the future influence and security of the regional bloc.
Fischer had much more to say which I am hoping the press will have time to publish this evening, but overall it was a pleasure to hear his perspectives on these critically important events, and always impressive to consider the great distance between where Germany was when the wall came down, and where it is now at the center of European leadership and values today.