The Next Generation Network (the “Network”) is an online discussion forum where Americans and Germans worldwide between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five (that is ten-years-old or younger when the Berlin Wall fell) are able to generate and exchange ideas on strengthening the US-German relationship.
At present, the Next Generation Network has approximately 70 participants. Most of them are located in the Washington, DC area, but roughly a dozen live in Germany and nearly that many live across the United States. There are also Network participants in three other countries: Israel, The Netherlands and Zambia.
Network Survey Highlights Shared Economic Interests
Between March 22 and March 29, twenty-one members of the Network took part in a survey conducted by Network participant Michael Siebel to gauge its assessment of US-German relations. Overall, the network holds a mostly positive outlook. The survey displayed consensus that US-German ties are strongest among economic interests- over half of respondents believe it is the closest aspect of the relationship. An overwhelming majority of the network marked that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would strengthen the transatlantic relationship.
The network’s views on the military relationship are mixed. While a small majority somewhat agree or completely agree that the military relationship will grow over the next ten years, two-thirds of respondents ranked military strategy as the weakest aspect of the relationship. Around 90 percent of respondents agree that strengthening NATO would strengthen the transatlantic relationship.
Overall, respondents believe that political ties will grow over the next ten years. However, almost two-thirds of respondents do not believe that U.S. and German politicians will prioritize the same interests/issues over that time. In other words, the two countries may face different electoral pressures, regional challenges, or political priorities. Still, the network is confident that the two countries will generally improve their bilateral diplomacy.