Tripartite Young Leaders Conference on the Future of Europe
"The European Union in Crisis - The Future of the Euro and the Euro Zone"
Building on the success of three previous Young Leaders Study Groups on the Future of Europe, the Dräger Foundation in Lübeck, the American Council on Germany in New York, and the Warsaw Center for International Relations, for the first time launched a tripartite young leader Study Group. The study group consists of around 40 participants from Germany, the United States and Poland. Itis designed to foster leadership qualities in young professionals by stimulating dialogue across national boundaries and across professional sectors, and to create a new network of future global leaders. Participants represent government, media, academia, business, international organizations, and the NGO community. They meet for three conferences over a period of three years. Selected guest speakers are invited to each of the three conferences.
The first meeting took place in Warsaw from November 13-15, 2011 and focused on the financial and economic challenges facing the transatlantic community. It aimed to raise awareness regarding the differing perceptions of Germany as one of the founding members of the EU, Poland as one of the new members, and the United States.
Followed by the first conference, the second conference took place in Brussels from October 7-10, 2012. The aim of the conference was to address the latest developments of the Euro Crisis and to discuss potential ways out of the crisis. Since the first conference in Warsaw, things have not changed for the better unfortunately - on the contrary. With Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland, at least five members of the EU and the Euro Zone are still in deep - if not deeper - financial trouble. Doubts are increasing that the Euro zone in its current form will endure. Greece's household deficit seems to become larger with every visit of the Troika, rumours from diplomatic circles signal that with Spain the next country wishes to slip under the ESM umbrella, and there are signs that Slovenia could be the sixth candidate for the Euro rescue funds.
The temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) that was established in summer 2010 with some 12 people working for it, was supposed to be closed after three years. Instead, it has become the permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on October 8, 2012 endowed with - so far - 700 billion Euro and - so far - 60 people working for it. The European Central Bank seems to have become the lender of last resort able to buy unlimited member state bonds in order to prevent Euro Zone members from going bankrupt.
What can be done to get out of this disaster? The list of potential solutions is long and disagreement about the right approaches among EU member countries is strong. Many questions and uncertainties remain that left room for interesting discussions and exchange of ideas by the participants of the 2nd Young Leaders conference.
The third and final conference of this group took place in Washington, D.C, from October 15-18, 2013. The Young Leaders Group analysed causes and consequences of the Euro Crisis as well as its implications for transatlantic relations.