178th Bergedorf Round Table
The End to Illusions:
“Zeitenwende” and the Future of Germany’s International Role
Berlin, 25-26 March 2022
Putin’s war against Ukraine constitutes not only a turning-point in European history, but also a cathartic moment for Germany as an international actor. Acknowledging that “if the world changes, our policy must change, too”, long-held foreign and security policy principles were revisited or even reversed in a matter of days. In a seismic U-turn on decades of German foreign policy, Berlin drew its own consequences and decided to not only halt Nord Stream 2, but also to initiate nothing less than a paradigm shift when it declared to provide weapons to Ukraine, create a one-time 100 billion euro fund for the German military and meet NATO’s two-percent goal. As an additional consequence of the current crisis, unprecedented measures to reduce Germany’s dependence on Russian gas, oil and coal are also underway. While the “Zeitenwende” undoubtedly marks a watershed moment for Berlin, the debate about its implementation, its domestic repercussions, and its implications for Germany’s future relations with autocratic systems, first and foremost China, has only just started.
The 178th Bergedorf Round Table sought to explore trajectories and trends that will define the future of Germany’s foreign and security policy in a changed international order.
A distinguished group of 25 high-ranking politicians, government officials, and representatives of think tanks, academia and media from Germany, other EU and non-EU states discussed these questions during the 178th Bergedorf Round Table on 25 and 26 March 2022 in Berlin.