Central Europe

  • Germany, NATO, and Transatlantic Security

    NATO Engages 2019

    “Statement and Conversation: Germany, NATO, and Transatlantic Security”

      

    Speaker:

    Heiko Maas,

    Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs,

    Federal Republic of Germany

     

    Moderator:

    Karen Donfried,

    President,

    The German Marshall Fund of the United States

     

    Location:  Washington, D.C.

     

    Time:  4:25 p.m. EDT

    Date:  Wednesday, April 3, 2019

     


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  • Germany Will Meet Its NATO Commitments, Foreign Minister Says

    Amid a storm of criticism from the Trump administration over its low level of defense spending, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas sought to allay concerns that Berlin was reneging on its commitment to increase its contributions to the NATO Alliance.

    “We will stand by our commitments,” Maas said on April 3 at the NATO Engages event in Washington. “I know that our budgetary process is sometimes difficult for outsiders to understand…however, we made a firm commitment to invest more money in our defense and we intend to keep our word.”


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  • Pence Takes Germany to Task Over Defense Spending

    US vice president also warns Turkey against purchase of Russian missile defense system

    US Vice President Mike Pence on April 3 chastised Germany for not spending enough on defense, warned Turkey against going ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system, cautioned against the rise of China, and sought to reassure NATO allies that they will always have the United States’ support.


    US President Donald J. Trump has led the charge against NATO allies who do not meet the 2 percent of GDP defense spending target set at the Alliance’s Wales Summit in 2014. All allies are supposed to meet that goal by 2024. So far only seven of NATO’s twenty-nine member states meet that target; Germany is among those that lag behind.

    On April 3, the eve of NATO’s seventieth anniversary, it was Pence’s turn to take allies to task.


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  • Omega

    Editor’s note: This short story describes a hypothetical future war in Europe between Russian and NATO forces using advanced technology.
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  • Twenty Years Later, NATO Allies Remain Strong Members of the Family

    When the foreign ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary finally signed documents completing their nations’ accession to NATO it marked the beginning of a new era for the transatlantic alliance. Twenty years ago, the ceremony held in Independence, Missouri—the hometown of US President Harry S. Truman, who oversaw the creation of NATO—marked the first time former-Communist adversaries had joined the alliance of democracies.

    Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council, was a junior desk officer at the US Department of State when then US Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright travelled to Missouri to finalize the new enlargement. “For me, less than a year on the job, I was on a professional high,” Wilson recalled. “After watching Washington for years exude ambivalence about whether to welcome more allies into NATO, the compelling case presented by these nations’ extraordinary spokespeople won the day. The determination of Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles, and the subsequent bipartisan leadership of Robert Dole and Bill Clinton, ensured that President George H.W. Bush’s call for a ‘Europe whole and free’ would not remain just rhetoric.”


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  • Dear Europe: Renaissance or Unraveling?

    French President Emmanuel Macron this week stirred up a robust and healthy debate with his letter published in newspapers of all 28 EU nations, calling for a “European renaissance.” First, however, he will have to reverse a European unravelling, both political and economic.

    Markets are bracing for the U.K.’s parliamentary vote on Brexit’s fate next week, the European Central Bank this week sharply downgraded growth projections to a job-killing 1.1 percent and reintroduced stimulus, and Italy is moving to officially tie its wagon to China’s Belt and Road Initiative — choosing market access over European cohesion.


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  • Syrian Refugees' Struggle with Temporary Status in Germany

    Just a few months separated the arrival of Syrian refugees Ahmad al-’Awda and his friend Mahmud al-Agha to Germany.  Both of them fled from the war in their country that started in 2011. Al-’Awda arrived in Germany in January 2016 and al-Agha arrived in May 2015. This short eight month difference separating their arrivals was enough to guarantee that al-’Awda would not be able to apply to bring his family, who are still in Syria, because he did not get permanent residency in Germany. Rather, due to a series of laws, the German authorities have been granting only temporary residence papers to Syrian refugees.


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  • The Warsaw Summit: Not So ‘Anti-Iranian’ but Still a Success

    It is too early to assess the long-term consequences of the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. But for Poland and several other actors, the meeting can already been seen as a success.

    Poland, after hosting a NATO summit in 2016 and a UN Climate conference in 2018, has once again shown that it is able to organize large international events.

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  • Mike Pence Stands Up For NATO, But is That Enough?

    US Vice President Mike Pence, addressing US and Polish armed forces in Warsaw on February 13, emphasized the importance of NATO, reaffirmed the US commitment to the principle of collective defense, and encouraged allies to meet the Alliance’s defense-spending goal. It is an open question, however, whether his boss, US President Donald J. Trump, shares his conviction.

    “While Vice President Pence’s words were eloquent and reassuring, allies have learned that there is a disconnect between the administration’s policy and the president’s own feelings about NATO and other US alliances,” said Alexander Vershbow, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and a former deputy secretary general of NATO.


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  • Can Germany Stay the Course on Defense Spending?

    Germany’s defense budget is on the march upwards, but can Berlin maintain the spending momentum given the prospects of a slowing global economy? There are also questions about how the country should spend its defense euros in the long term, say defense officials and policy experts.

    Germany has long been an underspender when it comes to meeting NATO’s defense budget guideline of 2 percent of GDP for each of its allies, but that is now changing.


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