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Dr. Klaus Ebermann Gives Lectures at IES

Dr. Klaus Ebermann Gives Lectures at IES

Author:Zhang Lei From:Site author Update:2017-08-21 13:43:48

 

From 21st March to 6th April 2011, the former EU Ambassador to China, Dr. Klaus Ebermann was invited to visit the Institute of European Studies. During the time, He totally gave the faulty and students six fascinating lectures, topics of which were mainly on EU Today, EU’s external relations, EU-China relations, EU’s security policy, the impact of internal policies on external affairs, Euro and financial crisis, etc.

In the first lecture of “EU Today”, the Ambassador went back to the history of European integration firstly. There were many crucial steps in this history, such as the establishment of the European Coal and Steal Community and European Economic Community, enlargement, the first direct election to the European Parliament, completing the Single market, the birth of the European Union, circulation of the single currency the Euro, and the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Secondly, the new changes by the Treaty of Lisbon to the EU were clarified, the main characteristics of which is the balance between powers. In terms of the question that whether EU could speak in one voice, the Ambassador pointed out that the EU would face both challenges and opportunities in the future. Last but not least, for the impact of the new treaty to China, the Ambassador emphasized that member states governments still had the final words for some important decisions and decision-making for these issues would still need unanimous approval. Meanwhile, some decision-making would be easier than before, and the new competence of the EU would increase more and more multilateral dialogues and co-operations between EU and China.

In the lecture of “European External Relations”, the Ambassador stressed that the Neighbourhood Policy was the priority in EU’s external relations, the objective of which was to keep a zone of peace, stability and prosperity. The EU took different policies to south neighbouring countries and east ones since these two regions had their own characteristics geographically and historically. From Barcelona Process in 1995 to the Union for the Mediterranean in 2008, the EU were expecting to reinforce the partnership with mediterranean countries, but the Middle east and immigration issues would remain the challeges for future cooperaions.

In the lecture of “EU-China relations”, after looking back to the history of 36 years of China-EU relations, the Ambassador pointed out that the relations today has gone to a new stage and has been deepened in many areas. But trade and sectors of economy alone do not make up a strategic relationship. China and the EU should cooperate more on politics, security, and world affairs. Sometimes China over-estimates EU potential for delivery, and bilateral relations between China and EU Member States in some area are still quite important. Comprehensive relationships rely on mutual undrestanding, trust and respect. Both EU and China should seek for new common ground and be aware of the limits of military power and nation states, and be patient, tolerant and fair with each other.

In the lecture of “EU’s security policy”, the Ambassador emphasized that the EU had a large framework for security policy, and other policies such as defense policy, energy policy, development policy were all in the framework. Additionally, the Ambassador analyzed the obstacles the European External Action Service (EEAS) may face. Firstly, the mandate of the EEAS is quite limited. Secondly, it’s not clear that whether the EEAS could speak in one voice. Thirdly, competences reflected in Delegations would need to be split. Fourthly, the relations between European Commision and the Council is not easy. Fifthly, it is difficult to coordinate 1643 staff from different administrative cultures. All in all, it still takes time for the operation of the EEAS.

In the lecture of “the impact of internal policies on external affairs”, the Ambassador explained that many internal policies may have influence on EU’s external relations. After the comparison between Lisbon Agenda and Europe 2020, the Ambassador indicated that the debate on the economic governance would help to create awareness that the EU’s facing lots of challenges, including aging, shrinking of population, sub-optimal competitiveness and innovation, globalisation. Europe 2020 should take on heavy responsibilities.

In the lecture of “Euro and financial crisis”, the Ambassador mentioned that as the EU is China’s largest trading partners, stable Euro is in line with China’s interest. The financial crisis this time is a crisis, but also a wake-up call for Europeans. The lesson learned from the crisis was that “solidarity and competiveness are the two sides of the Euro coin”. Recently, Europe has taken measures to reinforce regulation and supervision to clear up the mess. For instance, firstly, four new EU regulators were taken up their functions to supervise the banking system, insurers and financial market operations. Secondly, a temporary European Financial Stability Facility was already set up. Besides, Europe was also making stricter disciplines, involving more private partners, enhancing the level of enforcement of the rules, focusing on new financial products and establishing the European Semester. Finally, the Ambassador concluded that it was still not a fully- fledged “economic governance” at European level, but just as European integration history showed that the EU could be capable of learning and adapting its rules to achieve results again and again.

During the lectures, the Ambassador also had vivid discussions with the faculty and students in IES. Participants debated on so many issues, such as Libya crisis, the EU after the Treaty of Lisbon, the cooperation in foreign aid between EU and China, and the trade disputes etc.

Ambassador Klaus Ebermann has plentiful political experience. He’s started his career in European Commission since 1974. He held the position of Ambassador and Head of EC-Delegation to China during 2001 to 2005, then Ambassador and Head of EC-Delegation to Egypt and Arab League from 2005 to 2009. After the period, he was the Principal adviser on far -east and middle east in Directorate General External Affairs from 2009 to 2010. And currently he is a visiting professor in the British University in Egypt.

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