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Sovereign Europe

Newsletter on European Topics

May 2020


Newsletter on European topics, May 2020

Bertelsmann Stiftung's Newsletter on European topics


Online Editorial

Online Editorial on the European Union during the corona crisis

In an online editorial, Christian Kastrop, director of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Europe's Future program, and Thomas Wieser, long-time chairman of the preparatory committee of the European Council of Economic and Finance Ministers and the Eurogroup, argue that the Corona crisis provides an example of how the European Union must change to survive in the 21st century. More



Europe's Coherence Gap in External Crisis and Conflict Management

As the refugee crisis of 2015, but not least the current Corona crisis, shows, success in crisis and conflict management in the globalised world can only be achieved if governments and international organisations develop holistic responses and coordinate and pool the instruments that are available separately in different ministries or departments, both nationally and internationally.

The need to introduce such Whole-of-Government approaches is the subject of the anthology "Europe's Coherence Gap in External Crisis and Conflict Management. Political Rhetoric and Institutional Practices in the EU and Its Member States".

The 29 reports in this book - one for each EU member state and one on the EU as a whole - examine for the first time in this overview whether and how successfully these new forms of cooperation between the various actors in external crisis and conflict management have been developed and implemented. We thus provide illustrative material on both successful and less successful examples of an improved, because more coherent, approach to crisis and conflict management in the EU. More


Project news

Repair & Prepare: Corona implications for the Eurozone and the Single Market

In order to fight the economic impact of the corona pandemic, several measures have been introduced at the national and European level so far. Early on in the crisis, the ECB announced the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP). Recently, the German federal constitutional court judged that ECB had exceeded their competence in another unconventional measure, leaving the fate of the PEPP unclear. In a recent policy paper we argue that the PEPP is legal, compliant and suitable and thus compatible with EU law.

Over the past weeks, member states have also taken considerable national action to flatten the recession curve from the virus. Yet the scale and scope of the measures differ markedly across the EU. We analyze these early fiscal responses and emphasize that the size of the measures do not reflect countries’ different vulnerabilities and might not be enough to save the Single Market. A joint European policy response like a Pandemic Solidarity Instrument that can deliver real burden sharing might be needed in addition. In late April, our newest findings were presented in the first digital EU to go event with over 200 participants. More


Blog Post

Corona and the European Neighbourhood

Miriam Kosmehl, Senior Expert Eastern Europe and European Neighbourhood in Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Europe’s Future program, explains why COVID-19 is hitting the six countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership particularly hard. She points out why they are vulnerable in light of their weak health and social sectors, and argues that it is only logical in view of the impact of the pandemic on politics, the economy and society that Brussels shows itself as a strong partner in the fight against the pandemic. Read the Blog Post here.

Christian Hanelt, Senior Expert Europe, Neighbourhood and the Middle East, reflects these issues vis-à-vis the southern Neighbourhood of the EU: Refugees and day labourers in particular are without adequate health protection; societies in the ten countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region are particularly affected by the social consequences of the corona-induced economic recession. Read the Blog Post here.


Focus Paper

Learning from Trump and Xi? Globalization and innovation as drivers of a new industrial policy

Technological innovations are essential drivers of long-term and sustainable growth to ensure prosperity. Accordingly, there is currently a debate in Germany and the EU as to whether a new, strategic industrial policy can be an answer to the complex dynamics of digitisation. Our study takes a look at the approaches of the USA and China to an innovation-promoting industrial policy and describes framework conditions for German and European industrial policy. By analyzing the historical development as well as the main characteristics and success factors of Chinese and American innovation models, the transferability of their strategies to the German and European case is discussed. More



The EU and its neighbours: How to strengthen the economy and civil society?

Learning from each other in order to strengthen their own economies through more partnership with the EU. In Marrakech, the Saham Foundation and the Bertelsmann Stiftung discussed possible solutions for achieving more intensive social and economic cooperation. More


European Citizens' Dialogue and Conference

For a Strong, Sovereign and United Europe

Under the heading “2020: Shaping the Future of Europe Together”, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the German Foreign Office invited citizens, politicians and experts to a joint Event. The Citizens from Poland, France and Germany discussed with Foreign Ministers Heiko Maas and Ekaterina Zaharieva. More



DINNER DIALOGUE: Conference on the Future of Europe – How to get citizen participation right

On 4 February 2020, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, together with the King Baudouin Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, organised a DINNER DIALOGUE in Brussels. The DINNER DIALOGUE brought together around fifty EU officials, think tankers, experts on democracy and European Affairs, participation practitioners and journalists. Since citizen participation is crucial for the perception and success of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the discussions that evening focused on the quality criteria for good citizen participation and their implementation in the context of the Conference. More


Blog Post

Corona and the future of the EU

In two blogs Frank Eich argues that the Corona pandemic will have far-reaching implications for the future of the European Union. In the blog "#EU_summit: It ain’t what you do…it’s the way" that you do it Frank suggests that the crisis is a make-or-break moment for the EU. Measures taken on the European level to complement national initiatives could make the union stronger - or leave it weakened. Crucially, not only the measures themselves but also the processes will shape public perception on the merits of continued EU membership. In his second blog "#Brexit despite corona – to the promised land!" Frank looks at the UK and Brexit. Frank suggests that the Corona crisis will not have shifted the UK government's stance on Brexit - anyone who believes or hopes otherwise will likely be disappointed. For the EU27 the Corona crisis might be a turning point though: given the choice, the EU27 should use its extremely stretched resources - money, time, politicians' bandwidth - to rebuild Europe rather than spend any more time and effort to negotiate with the UK.



What does good neighbourhood mean to you?

This is the core European question: "What does 'good neighbourliness' mean to you?” The Stiftung Genshagen actually wanted to discuss it with a kick-off event on March 18th, and had a short film made with German, French and Polish actors from art and politics. Our colleague Joachim Fritz-Vannahme from the programme Europas Zukunft (Europe's Future) was one of the participants with his personal statement. You can watch the film here



Chasing Efficiency: Can operational changes fix European asylum systems?

The report "Chasing Efficiency: Can operational changes fix European asylum systems?” examines how in the face of vast pressures on their asylum processing and reception operations, Member States adopted a range of instruments to address long-standing structural weaknesses to their asylum systems. This focus on nuts-and-bolts operational fixes at all stages of the asylum process cumulatively tallied up to partial or even complete overhaul of individual national systems – a development EU policymakers should take into account with CEAS reform. More



One year after: BackToEurope one of the most successful movies on Europe in 2019

The Bertelsmann Foundation produced a short movie for the European Elections in May 2019 that showed, with humor and exaggeration, a world without EU: empty supermarket shelves, closed borders, rising prices etc. Over 700.000 people saw the movie and teaser and turned #ZüruckZuEuropa (BackToEurope) into one of the most successful social media movies on Europe in 2019, highly recognized by several media awards. The movie lives on after the Elections with thousands of new views, is shown at schools and inspires more and more young people. Watch the movie here!


Study with OECD

On the concentration of innovation in top cities in the digital age

This paper investigates how digital technologies have shaped the concentration of inventive activity in cities across 30 OECD countries. It finds that patenting is highly concentrated: from 2010 to 2014, 10% of cities accounted for 64% of patent applications to the European Patent Office, with the top five (Tokyo, Seoul, San Francisco, Higashiosaka and Paris) representing 21.8% of applications. The share of the top cities in total patenting increased modestly from 1995 to 2014. Digital technology patent applications are more concentrated in top cities than applications in other technology fields. In the United States, which has led digital technology deployment, the concentration of patent applications in top cities increased more than in Japan and Europe over the two decades. Econometric results confirm that digital technology relates positively to patenting activities in cities and that it benefits top cities, in particular, thereby strengthening the concentration of innovation in these cities. More



From principles to practice: How can we make AI ethics measurable?

Discussions about the societal consequences of algorithmic decision-making systems are omnipresent. A growing number of guidelines for the ethical development of so-called artificial intelligence (AI) have been put forward by stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and the scientific and policymaking spheres. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Algo.Rules are among this body of proposals. However, it remains unclear how organizations that develop and deploy AI systems should implement precepts of this kind. In cooperation with the nonprofit VDE standards-setting organization, we are seeking to bridge this gap with a new working paper that demonstrates how AI ethics principles can be put into practice. More



Improved governance of digitalization – what might it look like?

What do Dieselgate and forums that self-organize the internet have in common? And what can we learn from both in terms of shaping digital transformation for the good of society? In the expert opinion paper published today by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Dr. Carolina Ferro and Dr. Ben Wagner present their research on four case studies and proposal for an improved framework of governance for digitalization at the European level. More




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Jake Benford

Program Europe´s Future


Bertelsmann Stiftung

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The Bertelsmann Stiftung, based in Gütersloh, Germany, is a nonprofit, private

operating foundation in accordance with Section 1 of North Rhine-Westphalia's Foundation Law.

The district government of Detmold serves as its supervisory authority.

Founder: Reinhard Mohn

Chairman of the Board of Trustees: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Werner J. Bauer

Executive Board: Dr. Ralph Heck (Chairman), Dr. Brigitte Mohn, Prof. Dr. Daniela Schwarzer