Even proven foreign policy instincts do not help much when confronting challenges of a new sort. When the international multilateral order falls apart, the strong do as they can and the weak suffer what they must. A world without order will again be a world marked by competition over spheres of influence. That may include the use of military means. At the same time, domestically, our societies are increasingly fragmented. Populist movements tend to be nationalist. They represent those citizens who feel that foreign policy in times of globalization runs roughshod across national borders and interests, affecting our everyday lives.
Against this background conventional foreign policy is challenged on numerous grounds. Is the multilateral order prepared to face a new competition over spheres of influence? Can the EU save its identity as a peace project? And what can be Germany’s contribution in this context? How, then, can foreign policy be conducted in ways that citizens recognize it as representing their own interests?
The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), the Brussels office of the Stiftung Wissenschaft and Politik (SWP – Berlin) and the EU office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) are organising a panel discussion on the need to forge a new social consensus on foreign policy in Europe. Volker Stanzel, ‘one of Germany’s most experienced diplomats’ (Timothy Garton Ash), will start the discussion with an introduction to his latest book “Rudderless foreign policy and why it needs the backing of society“. Stanzel strongly supports a deeper involvement of citizens in the formulation of foreign policy.