Raison d'Etat

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS |

BERLIN/LONDON/PARIS (Own report) - In the coming week, the German Foreign Ministry, with the German Foreign Minister in attendance, will present the "European Council on Foreign Relations" (EFCR) to the European public. Financed in part by the US billionaire George Soros, this new think tank will help promote an integrated foreign policy of all EU member states, thus laying the groundwork for a future EU foreign minister to be designated, once the EU Reform Treaty is ratified January 1, 2009. The EFCR members include senior EU politicians, such as the former German Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer. According to its Berlin Office, the Council would like "to aid Germany in continuing to assume its exemplary and leading role in Europe". The Council chose November 9, for its inaugural event in the German capital, because this date marks the "birth of a new European history".

The "European Council on Foreign Relations" was launched at the beginning of October, following several months of preparations, and has offices in the six largest EU member states (Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Poland) and one in Bulgaria standing in for all Southeast European EU member states.[1] The Council was launched by 50 prominent Europeans from EU member states and candidate countries: "former prime ministers, presidents, EU commissioners, current and former parliamentarians and ministers, public intellectuals, business leaders," among them former German Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer, State Secretary for many years in the German Finance Ministry, Caio Koch-Weser, Former EU Commissioner, Chris Patten, former French Finance Minister, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari and the US billionaire George Soros.

Soros

Soros is playing a major role on the "European Council on Foreign Relations". By its own account, the council was founded by the London based Open Society Foundation associated with the Soros foundation empire. This network is covering one third of its expenses. At the EU in Brussels, the Council does not have its own office but delegates an ambassadorial role to the Soros Open Society Institute's office in Brussels. In the 80s, the US billionaire, Soros, had supported Solidarnosc in Poland and the "Charta 77" in Czechoslovakia and more recently subversive movements in the CIS member states (Georgia in 2003 and the Ukraine in 2004). By financing the "European Council on Foreign Relations", Soros is seeking to gain influence on future EU foreign policy making.

Transatlantic

This corresponds to the distinct transatlantic orientation of several of the new think tank's leading members. Executive Director Mark Leonard, previously director of the Foreign Policy Centre, founded under the patronage of Tony Blair in London, had worked in Washington as a Transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Ulrike Guérot, head of the Berlin EFCR office, was senior transatlantic fellow with the German Marshall Fund (2004-2007). Nick Witney, who previously had worked as the private secretary to the British Ambassador in Washington DC and as high ranking adviser in the British Ministry of Defence will join the ECFR as a Senior Research Fellow in January 2008. ECFR'S Senior Policy Fellow Daniel Korski has also worked at the Ministry of Defence in London before joining a division of the US State Department in Washington as liaison officer.

Also Military Power

The "European Council on Foreign Relations" is expressly demanding that the European Union "develop a more coherent and vigorous foreign policy",[2] an objective shared for a long time by German foreign policy. "When faced by the great powers of today and the rising giants of tomorrow," individual European countries would not have enough influence, according to the ECFR's "Statement of Principles". But if the European Union "speaks with one voice, it can help shape the world order." According to the ECFR, to accomplish this, the EU's foreign policy "should be backed up with all of Europe's economic, political, cultural and, as a last resort, military power." Beginning January 1, 2009, based on a ratified EU Reform Treaty, a newly designated EU Foreign Minister will seek to develop a coherent and vigorous pan-European foreign policy. The "European Council on Foreign Relations" is preparing the groundwork with position papers and debates on strategy.

German Predominance

Germany is particularly interested in the institutional consolidation of Brussels' foreign policy. "The EU must be more unified in its decision-making process" writes Ulrike Guérot, the head of the German branch of the "European Council." "The office in Berlin will therefore pursue particularly the institutional development f the EU."[3] Alongside the pooling of responsibilities as stipulated by the EU Reform Treaty, she is particularly projecting suggestions to improve the "common foreign representation in international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF)." German predominance of the common EU foreign policy is assured through the future weight of the ballots in the European Council.[4]

Europe's Birthday

The "European Council on Foreign Relations" is already taking this into account. Next Friday, (Nov. 9,) the council will be introduced to the rest of the European nations in the Weltsaal of the German Foreign Ministry. The German foreign minister will hold the opening speech. The date Nov. 9, was deliberately chosen for the "Grand Launch." The focus should no longer be on the memory of the deadly pogrom carried out Nov. 9, 1938, but rather on the collapse of the German Democratic Republic. "After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, Germany again stood in the spotlight of European integration" writes Ulrike Guérot [5]: "We chose this date for our grand inauguration event, because, from our point of view, it is Europe's birthday." The Federal Republic of Germany is centrally situated "between east and west" and "measured by (...) size of population and economic power, the greatest EU nation," writes the ECFR about German predominance within the EU. "Europe is nearly a sort of 'raison d'état in Germany."[6]

Please read also: Expelled from Class, Austrittsgedanken, Europe Finale, Konstante der deutschen Außenpolitik, Success Story, Unter der Führung des Reiches, Nicht hinnehmbar, Kriegsverlierer, A Question of Peace or War in Europe, Richtungsentscheidung and Consensus of the Elite.

[1] Frequently Asked Questions; www.ecfr.eu
[2] Statement of Principles; www.ecfr.eu
[3] Berlin: wer wir sind und was wir machen; www.ecfr.eu
[4] see also Richtungsentscheidung
[5] "Die Gedanken sind frei" - zur Kritik am ECFR; www.ecfr.eu
[6] Berlin: wer wir sind und was wir machen; www.ecfr.eu