Europe and global challenges: The Potsdam Meetings took place in Moscow

18 November 2019

On November 18, a meeting of Russian and German parliamentarians was organized as part of the Potsdam Meetings in Moscow. The event is traditionally organized by the Gorchakov Fund and the German-Russian Forum. Top politicians and public figures from Germany and Russia, diplomats, journalists and representatives of the business community took part in the discussion dedicated to “Europe between Global Challenges and National Interests”.

Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky welcomed the guests of the forum. He mentioned that for the first time the meeting was attended by participants of the Youth Forum of the Potsdam Meetings – a project for Russian and German young experts.

Bernhard Kaster, a member of the German Bundestag (2002-2007), welcomed the attendees on behalf of the German-Russian Forum and mentioned that the Potsdam Meetings had always provided an important dialogue format: “Last year we met in this kind of format for the first time. Many attendees emphasized a special role of the dialogue, which demonstrated importance of such types of events”.

Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Envoy for International Cultural Cooperation to the President of Russia, noted that the meeting of the Russian and German parliamentarians that year was supported by foundations affiliated with different political parties. Shvydkoy expressed hope that it would make the dialogue constructive and bring positive results.

Rainer Lindner, member of the Board of Trustees of the German-Russian Forum, opened the first discussion block “From Overcoming the Breakup between the West and the East towards Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”: “Our meeting is taking place during the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today as never it is important to remember about the contribution made by then the USSR into unification of Germany. The Union was acting very delicately and did not interfere into the national affairs.”

“The idea of Europe “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” has not lost its appeal or political importance today. However, those, who live to the east of Berlin, have a little bit different idea about what the space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” should represent. We ought to keep that in mind”, believes Andreas Nick, a CDU member of the German Bundestag, member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Head of the German Delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Chairman of the Committee for Energy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of Russia Pavel Zavalny added an important aspect to the discussion “From Overcoming the Breakup between the West and the East towards Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”: “The energy industry and climate protection could become areas of common interest and rapprochement between the EU and the EEU”.

The Potsdam Meetings will continue tomorrow, on November 1 within the framework of the anniversary 5th Youth Forum. Young experts, representatives of NGOs and business will discuss certain aspects of  current events in Europe, prospects of the Russian-German relations, summarize results of the previous Potsdam Meetings and will identify future areas of development of the project in the future.