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Lecture by Joschka Fischer, Former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany "Europe and Unified Germany"

Speakers Joschka FISCHER, Former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany
Moderator Prof. Koichiro AGATA, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda Univ.
Date 8 October 2010
Time 15:00 - 16:15
Venue Room 201, Bldg.14, Waseda Campus, Waseda Univ.
Language Germany and Japanese 
Note


On 8th October, EUIJ Waseda invited Mr. Joschka Fischer, Former Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany.  Mr. Fischer delivered a speech about how can we face the global issues, from the perspective of "Europe and Unified Germany".
 
1. Opening
After opening remarks was given by Prof Agata, Prof Uchida (School of International Liberal Studies) introduced Dr. Joschka Fischer and said it is a badge of honor for us to hear the speech of such a great politician at the 150th Anniversary of the German-Japan Friendship.   

2. Mr. Fisher's Speech
Mr. Fischer began his speech by looking back at the history of Europe.  He mentioned the 3rd October, 1990, the day of the German reunification, which also turned out to be the beginning of the European integration and enlargement.

European Integration and German Unification
Fischer1.JPGIn order to understand Germany and Europe, we firstly need to understand the history of the 20th century.  According to Dr. Fischer, the century can be divided into two parts.  The first part mainly consists of internal conflicts, dictatorship and two world wars.  On the contrary, the latter part symbolizes peace on the European continent.  Behind this change, there was the establishment of NATO and the desire for the state order in Europe.  Until then, there was the balance of power at the fundamental base, however, once the balance of power went wrong, the war was unavoidable.  It was necessary to get Germany in, to make a new order in Europe.  After 1945, the new idea started that Europe should be based in the future and not on the balance of power but on the integration.  This idea of integration is based on common institutions to seek for the common interests and find a peaceful common approach.  By getting the approval of the neighbor countries, German reunification was possible.  Since then, Germany is actively contributing to the EU.    

New state order and EU Enlargement
The largest accomplishment of the EU is that it brought peace to the continent.  On the other hand, there were conflicts in the Balkans, and Germany has also sent troops outside the country for the first time since the World War II.  As the foreign minister of that time, Mr. Fischer felt strongly that without the integration of the Balkans into Europe, peace would not be possible.  A conflict on the continent leads to the destabilization of the whole continent.  Mr. Fischer believes that the European integration needs to keep going forward.  He is also on the supportive stance for Turkey's membership in the EU.  Turkey has developed, modernized rapidly in recent years and is in the perfect geopolitical situation for European security and the energy interests.  

Future tasks of Europe
Fischer2.JPG
In addition to the demographic issue of low birthrate and aging population, which is the common issue for Europe and Japan, Europe also has an immigration issue.  The discussion of Europe and Islam is unavoidable and it is necessary for both sides to walk up.  Mr. Fischer emphasized additionally that academic exchange plays a large role in building friendship like there are German & EU-Japan academic exchanges.
 
Furthermore, Mr. Fisher stressed that despite damage of the financial crisis in Europe, Europe's welfare model is still important in the areas of education, social welfare, health insurance, unemployment insurance and pension systems.  Country needs to create a system to invest in there areas.  However, those systems need to change by adapting itself to the changing society.  Moreover, Mr. Fischer claimed that China, India and Brazil will be emerging powers and the presence of the East Asia region will increase in the future.  But at the same, EU will keep on working together for its further integration.
 
Crisis is a big chance
Mr. Fisher emphasized that the financial crisis was world-shaking, but such crisis was a chance and challenge for Europe to make a change.  There were a lot of disputes, but he believes that Greece will be stabilized, because if the euro collapses, you would risk a collapse of the euro.  In order to avoid such crisis, EU will create a new structure of economic governance, including policies such as budgetary policy and tax policy. 

Optimism and Realism
Mr. Fischer has now an optimistic perspective towards EU integration, however, he was known as a realist politician.  In order to accomplish the goal, it is important to be realist.   He claimed that European integration is not yet in completed, but the west Balkans will change Europe's future dramatically.  As the challenge for the future, we need to seek for peace.  It is also a challenge for the European citizens to have such passion.  Looking back to the last 20 years, German unification and European unification have turned out to be a tremendous progress.  Enlargement will be complicated, but it will continue.  Lastly, Mr. Fischer said if he had the opportunity to give a speech at Waseda University after 10 years again, he hopes that the East Asian perspective towards Europe would be even more positive. 

3. Q&A  
Fischer3.JPG
There were many questions that time was not enough.  "As Japan is aiming towards the East Asian Community, how can Japan cooperate with socialist country, such as China and can play a role in the process of integration?"  To this question, Mr. Fischer answered "East Asia and Europe are in different situations and their proportion is also different.  The importance of the East Asia will increase in the 21st century and if there may be any failure, the whole world will be in danger.  Asia could learn the importance of multilateralism from Europe." 
The other question was "Germany has been building good relationship with USA in the framework of NATO, and at the same playing a leading role in the European integration.  What advice could Germany give Japan concerning the relationship with USA and the East Asian Community?"  Mr. Fischer responded "Relation with USA is important for both Europe and East Asia.  However, when you think that it is wrong, it is necessary to say your opinion, just like saying that "1 plus 1 is not 3, but 2".  There were also several questions on Japan-EU relation.

4. Closing Remarks by Prof. Fukuda, Director, EUIJ Waseda
After Prof. Agata thanked Mr. Fischer for his speech, Prof. Fukuda (Director, EUIJ Waseda, Director, Waseda Institute for EU Studies) expressed his gratitude to Mr. Fischer, German Embassy and Delegation of the European Union to Japan.  Prof. Fukuda mentioned Mr. Fischer's speech at Humboldt University in May, 2000.  In this speech Mr. Fisher spoke about EU's institutional making and expressed the necessity for the EU and the Member States to clarify its scope of authority by criticizing the concept of "sharing of sovereignty".  Three days after the speech, this idea was stipulated on the report made by European University Institute, receiving a commission from the European Commission.  Then, this idea was realized clearly in the language written in Lisbon Treaty which came into effect in 1st December, 2009.  Prof. Fukuda said that he was "greatly encouraged by Mr. Fischer's positive attitude" and lastly, thanked him again for his very interesting speech.