“BRUSSELS – The 13th German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum took place on 8-10 March. As in the previous years, it gathered leaders from government, business, journalism, and academia for discussions of pressing global issues.
One of the key panels of the first day was with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who addressed policymakers from across Europe and the United States. Despite recent controversies between Brussels and the EU, the prime minister struck a conciliatory tone.
“We try to find a common language with our Western European partners, because I truly believe in Europe,” Prime Minister Morawiecki told the BBC’s Katya Adler in a conversation that addressed the controversies between Poland and Brussels.
The conversation came at a time when the trust in the transatlantic relationship has increasingly come into question, with the Trump administration’s recent announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminum calling trading relationships within the United States and Europe.
“We believe in trade with the United States. We believe in reciprocity and this is why I say, in case needed, we will protect our interests, but this is not our attitude. Our attitude is to invest in free and fair trade and we see this as beneficial for the European economy and for the US economy,” said Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission.
The theme of GMF’s 2018 Brussels Forum, Revise, Reboot, Rebuild: Strategies for a Time of Distrust, reflects a time where common ground often feels increasingly difficult to find. The conference, which started on International Women’s Day, featured four all woman panels and 38 percent female participation.
“GMF has always been committed to issues of diversity and gender balance,” said Karen Donfried, GMF President. “Women have been making big impact on policy for a long time. If you look at just our agenda today, we have Federica Mogherini, Rose Gottemoeller, Manisha Singh, Ana Gomes, Susan Ness, Michèle Flournoy, just to name some of those headliners. Women are leading today. I don’t know if she’s in the room now, but a trailblazer has been Madeleine Albright, and she will be with us over these next couple of days.”
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller addressed NATO’s transatlantic partnership.
The Deputy Secretary General stressed the importance of the transatlantic bond, noting that troops from North America and Europe currently serve together in NATO’s four battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance, helping to deter aggression. “In the field, on the ground, we see the essence of transatlantic trust,” she said.
She underscored that NATO is focused on transatlantic burden-sharing, and many European Allies have stopped cutting their defence spending, and are stepping up their contributions to Alliance security. On European defence, she stressed the need for complementarity between NATO and EU efforts.
Conversations throughout the day emphasized that despite tensions, there is a need to build trust.
Trade was at the top of the agenda on the second day of GMF’s Brussels Forum. Against the backdrop of a rapidly developing story of potential U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, the day’s first conversation featured Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, and Robert Zoellick, chairman of West Alliance and former World Bank president.
Despite concerns that potential tariffs on steel and aluminum could drive a wedge between Europe and the United States, Malmström highlighted common ground on the issue of overproduction in the steel sector. Tying trade to the conference theme of trust, Malmström said:
“We want to increase the possibilities for us to trade, for our people to meet to harness and shape globalization. To make sure that we get proper jobs, that we get fair trade, sustainable trade, and also because of the title of this meeting is today, how can we regain trust?”
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also spoke on an entirely different force shaping the world: the refugee crisis. Secretary Albright pointed out the connections between the refugee crisis and other global challenges, saying “Most people don’t want to leave the home where they were born, where they speak the language and have their family. The people who are leaving Africa are being pushed out because of desertification,” said Albright. “We need to recognize the earth is not flat and there is a scientific basis to climate change. I think we need to have short-, medium-, and long-term action plans, because this is the new normal.”
The day’s most spirited conversation came in the form of an Oxford Style debate on the motion “Humanitarian Intervention Does More Harm than Good.”
Arguing for the motion were Frank Ledwidge, senior fellow at the Royal Air Force College and Dr. Rajan Menon, senior research scholar at Columbia University. Arguing against the motion were Dr. Kori Schake, deputy director general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and former French foreign minister. The debate, hosted in partnership with Intelligence Squared U.S., explored many facets of humanitarian and military intervention. While both sides won audience members to their position, as recorded through the conference voting app BFconnect, the team arguing against the motion won a greater proportion of the audience to their side and prevailed.
Other notable speakers on Friday included members of the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament, CEO of The World Bank Kristalina Georgieva, and U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison. Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly, of GMF’s Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), presented Hamilton 68’s methodology, the dashboard that tracks Russian disinformation. The conference will conclude Saturday with sessions featuring Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, a discussion on resolving the North Korean threat, and a conversation with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.
Senator Chris Murphy and Norbert Röttgen, head of the German Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, kicked off the final day of GMF’s Brussels Forum. In a conversation that touched on hot button issues from gun control in the United States to the threat posed by North Korea to rapid social change on both sides of the Atlantic, both Murphy and Röttgen expressed commitment to partnership between the United States and Europe. “We have to broaden the conversation. We have to build a kind of political approach among parliamentarians and businesspeople for this rational, liberal approach to foreign policy,” said Röttgen.
Murphy expressed a hope that that collaboration between Europe and the United States will continue, even on difficult issues such as trade and climate change.
“I think we can do some work, behind the scenes, in an inter-parliamentary manner,” said Murphy. “There are solutions that can still be there.””
|Brussels Forum/2014||“The ultimate soft power instrument in the world is the Brussels Forum”||Carl Bildt||2014|
35 of the 480 known participants already have pages here:
|Madeleine Albright||Ruthless politician, acquired and beloved by everyone named Clinton in the 1990s. Hero of Kosovo. Most powerful woman of all time according to ISGP's superclass index. When asked about half a million dead Iraqi children because of the sanctions she enforced, she replied "We think the price is worth it."|
|Ali Aslan||Spooky journalist, Georgetown University, many deep state ties|
|Carl Bildt||Swedish deep politician and serial Bilderberger|
|Elmar Brok||lobbyist and European parliament politician|
|Marta Dassù||Deep state connected general director of the international activities of Aspen Institute Italy. NATO, Trilateral Commission, European Council on Foreign Relations, International Institute for Strategic Studies...|
|Karen Donfried||US spook, German Marshall Fund President 2014-2021|
|Simon Fraser||Former UK Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Deputy Chairman of Chatham House.|
|David Frost||British adviser and politician|
|Ralf Fücks||German politician married to Marieluise Beck of the German cluster of the Integrity Initiative|
|Kristalina Georgieva||Bilderberg World Bank|
|Nik Gowing||UK Deep state connected TV journalist|
|Kay Bailey Hutchison||As ambassador to NATO said US prepared to consider a military strike to destroy Russian missiles.|
|David Ignatius||Attender of spooky "security" conferences|
|Wolfgang Ischinger||Spooky German diplomat. Chaired the Munich Security Conference|
|Craig Kennedy||president of the German Marshall Fund in the period 1996-2014|
|Mikhail Khodorkovsky||Russian billionaire who feuded with Vladimir Putin. Set up the Future Of Russia Foundation.|
|Julian King||British diplomat and civil servant who was European Commissioner for the Security Union from 2016 to 2019.|
|Silvana Koch-Mehrin||WEF/Young Global Leaders 2005. Promising euro-politician from the German FDP until revelations that she had plagiarized large parts of her doctoral thesis.|
|Bernard Kouchner||Bilderberg French politician, 3 times French Health minister, founded Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde, attended 2005 pandemic planning exercise Atlantic Storm|
|Thomas Leysen||Bilderberg Steering Committee Member. Trilateral Commission.|
|Mohammed Loulichki||Moroccan diplomat who as Vice-Chair of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee met with Tony Blair to hear about "countering violent extremism through education"|
|Peter Mandelson||Supranational deep state operative. Bilderberg, TLC, Ditchley etc.|
|Federica Mogherini||Italian politician, WEF|
|Natalie Nougayrède||British journalist who was exposed as working for the Integrity Initiative. Her reporting is replete with topics of importance to the UK deep state.|
|Ana Palacio||Spanish politician|
|Didier Reynders||Belgian FM/European Commissioner for Justice accused of corruption|
|Norbert Röttgen||Bilderberg German politician who blamed people who declined vaccines for a divided society|
|Kurt Volker||US deep state operative, US Permanent Representative to NATO|
|Celeste Wallander||US deep state operative|
|Robert Zoellick||World Bank president, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Multiple deep state connections|
|Cem Özdemir||German Green war-loving politician who experienced rocket career after being taken under the wings of transatlantic influence networks.|
|Soli Özel||Quad Bilderberger journalist and academic|