The German Marshall Fund and Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung Launch “Transatlantic Task Force” Setting Path Forward for U.S.-Europe Relations

Group Chaired by Dr. Karen Donfried and Amb. Wolfgang Ischinger to Confront Growing Transatlantic Divide, Propose Solutions to Shared Challenges

Washington, DC & Hamburg Despite maintaining peace and stability for the past seventy years, the transatlantic alliance today faces profound difficulties. With new European Union leadership and key elections on the horizon on both sides of the Atlantic, now is the time to set a new path forward.

Toward that end, Washington, DC -headquartered German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the Hamburg-based Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung (BKHS) have launched a new Transatlantic Task Force: Together or Alone? Choices and Strategies for Transatlantic Relations for 2021 and Beyond.

Chaired by GMF president Dr. Karen Donfried and Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, this new initiative has assembled a distinguished group of prominent American and European experts to develop transatlantic policy solutions to pressing challenges-- from security, climate and trade, to technology and relations with China and Russia.

“The U.S.-European relationship and its underlying assumptions are being questioned to an unprecedented degree on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Donfried. “Any belief that the transatlantic order will soon revert to the status quo ante overlooks long-festering alliance difficulties.”

“Already at an early stage, Helmut Schmidt realised the key importance of a close transatlantic partnership for Germany and Europe,” said Dr. Meik Woyke, chairman of the management board and managing director of the BKHS and deputy chairman of the Transatlantic Task Force. “Cooperation on the basis of trust has always been vital to his work. It is alarming to see that security and foreign policy institutions, which Schmidt advocated for, increasingly lose their power of influence.”

“Due to the rise of authoritarian global powers, now is the time to find out if the Western partners define their interests on the basis of common values and, if so, which joint options for action result from it,” emphasised Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, vice president and head of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, as well as deputy chairman of the Transatlantic Task Force.

Task Force members include:

  • General John Allen, President, The Brookings Institution
  • Rt Hon Baroness Catherine Ashton, Chair of Global Europe, Woodrow Wilson Center; Former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Commission
  • Mr. Thierry Déau, Founder/CEO, Meridiam
  • Dr. Sławomir Dębski, Director, Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Prof. Dr. Henrik Enderlein, President, Hertie School; Professor of Political Economy; Director, Jacques Delors Centre
  • Dr. Michael Froman, Vice Chairman and President, Strategic Growth, Mastercard; Former U.S. Trade Representative and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs
  • U.S. Representative Will Hurd, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-TX 23)
  • Dr. Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Slovakia
  • Ms. Merle Maigre, Executive Vice President for Government Relations, CybExer Technologies
  • Dr. Cecilia Malmström, Former EU Trade Commissioner
  • Dr. James Manyika, Chairman and Director, McKinsey Global Institute
  • Dr. Kori Schake, Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin, Member, U.S. House of Representatives (D-MI 8)
  • Dr. Nathalie Tocci, Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali

GMF and BKHS share a belief that Americans and Europeans must think collectively about practical and implementable policy recommendations to successfully confront an ever-evolving slate of common challenges.

The task force will publish its policy recommendations in Fall 2020. Bruce Stokes will serve as executive director and principal author of the final report.

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