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How can Europe recover after Covid?

A Franco-German perspective by ambassadors Vassy and Brengelmann


Follow the livestream of this event here.

France, Germany, the Netherlands: hardly any EU member state has profited more from European integration than these three. Present at the making, they have seen a project of restoration and reconciliation develop into the world’s largest trading block, based on democracy and humanitarian principles. However, European economies are currently struggling with the severe consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, and geopolitically the EU is facing an ever-changing environment. In the face of these unprecedented challenges, EU member states have managed to agree on a historic deal to re-start the European economy and on the EU-budget until 2027. Negotiations in mid-July were surely not easy but one thing is certain: France, the Netherlands and Germany had key roles in achieving this success. Despite the agreement, there are still important questions to be answered: How can Europe mend its economies and cure Covid’s societal effects? What role will Member States play in the European recovery?

To discuss these questions Luis Vassy, ambassador of France, and Dirk Brengelmann, ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, will visit Utrecht. Ambassadors Brengelmann and Vassy symbolize the long tradition of joint German-French initiatives regarding European integration. At crucial stages, both countries have presented plans to revitalize Europe, most recently in May 2020, when Chancellor Merkel and President Macron presented a 500-billion-euros EU rescue fund, which helped to broker agreement in the EU.

On 21 September, both ambassadors will present their countries’ perspective on the recovery of Europe and discuss with students of Utrecht University and other members of the audience. The moderation will be in the hands of Dr. Marloes Beers and Prof. Dr. Jacco Pekelder of Utrecht University’s BA and MA programs of International Relations in historical perspective.

Organizers of the event are Utrecht University’s Centre for Global Challenges, the French and German Embassies in The Hague and the Genootschap Nederland-Duitsland.

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