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Assessing the Domestic and Foreign Policy Priorities of Germany’s New Government

January 28, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EST

After weeks of negotiations following Germany’s federal election in September, a new government was sworn in on December 8. Following 16 years of conservative leadership under Angela Merkel, Olaf Scholz became Chancellor. Promising a new start, his center-left Social Democrats will govern in a coalition together with the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats. The new government has ambitious plans to fight climate change by phasing out coal early and focusing on renewable energy, but its initial priority will be tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 50 days into the new government, we are already seeing tensions within the governing coalition over how to address challenges – ranging from pandemic response to tensions with Russia. Join the American Council on Germany, Atlantik-Brücke, and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall for a discussion with former U.S. Ambassador to Berlin John B. Emerson and former Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. The discussion will be moderated by Juliane Schäuble, U.S. Correspondent of Der Tagesspiegel. Together they will discuss how the new government will address Germany’s domestic and foreign policy priorities.

Ambassador John B. Emerson was named Chairman of the American Council on Germany at the Council’s Annual Meeting of the Members on January 17, 2018. He is Vice Chairman at Capital Group International. Previously, he was U.S. Ambassador to Germany, from 2013 to 2017. In 2015, Ambassador Emerson received the State Department’s Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, an award given annually to one non-career Ambassador. In 2017, the Secretary of the Navy and the Director of the CIA awarded him their highest civilian honors for his service.

Before going to Berlin, he was the President of Capital Group Private Client Services from 1997 to July 2013. Previously, he served on President Clinton’s senior staff, from 1993 to 1997, as Deputy Director of Presidential Personnel, and subsequently as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. Ambassador Emerson also coordinated the Economic Conference of the Clinton-Gore transition team and led the Administration’s efforts to obtain congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement in 1994, and the extension of China’s Most-Favored-Nation trading status in 1996. In 2010, President Obama appointed Ambassador Emerson to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. Earlier in his career, Ambassador Emerson served as the Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney (1987-1993).

In 1988, he traveled to Germany on an ACG Political Exchange Fellowship, carried out in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Before that, he was a Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, specializing in business and entertainment litigation and administrative law.

Sigmar Gabriel was Federal Minister for the Economy and Energy from 2013 to 2017 as well as Vice-Chancellor from 2013 to 2018 and served as Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2017 to 2018. On June 26, 2019, Mr. Gabriel was elected Chairman of Atlantik-Brücke by its members.
Mr. Gabriel has been politically active since 1976. Born in Goslar, he began his political career in a socialist youth organization and joined the SPD in 1977. Two years later, Gabriel joined the ÖTV union, and membership in IG Metall and Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO), a social welfare organization, followed. Trained as a high school educator, he assumed various responsibilities in adult education and became a member of
Lower Saxony’s parliament over the course of the 1980s. During the subsequent decade, among other positions, he held the post of chair of the environmental committee of Lower Saxony’s parliament and was a member of the SPD executive committee. He served as prime minister of Lower Saxony from 1999 to 2003, and he has been a directly elected member of Germany’s Lower House of Parliament since 2005, taking over the post of the Environmental Minister that same year. Gabriel, who represents the Salzgitter-Wolfenbüttel district, occupied the position of SPD chairman from 2009 until 2017.

Juliane Schäuble (Moderator) is the U.S. Correspondent of Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin’s biggest newspaper. Before she moved to Washington, DC, in June 2018 she was the head of the political department of the paper where she was responsible for the front page and the political section. She has more than twelve years of experience in the business and the political department of Der Tagesspiegel.

Ms. Schäuble earned her Master’s in Political Science at the University in Potsdam, Germany. Her studies included one semester at American University in Washington, DC, where she took classes in American foreign policy and worked part-time for the “American Council of Young Political Leaders” (“Washington Semester Program”).


January 28, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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