A discussion with German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: European defence cooperation during the EU Council Presidency

Webinar · 03.07.2020 10:00 - 10:45

When Germany holds the EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020, it faces a full European agenda and an increasingly challenging international environment. While the presidency’s focus will be on the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, Germany also aims to improve the EU’s ability to act on security and defence matters. For example, a key initiative of the German defence minister is a joint threat assessment and the development of a “Strategic Compass” for the EU.

Finland cooperates closely with Germany on security and defence issues in the EU framework, as part of EU-NATO cooperation and in civilian and military operations in Africa and the Middle East. Both countries also share common interests concerning the security situation in northern Europe. Against this backdrop, Germany’s views on global challenges and Europe’s options to tackle them are extremely relevant for Finland and its Nordic partners.

In the first week of the German EU Council Presidency, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer joins FIIA to discuss the joint regional and global challenges of Germany and Finland, Germany’s plans for the EU Council Presidency, and the role of Germany in European security. She is the German Federal Minister of Defence and party leader of the German Christian Democratic Union.

If you wish to attend the webinar, please register to Maija Salonen maija.salonen@fiia.fi by Wednesday 1 July.


Main guest

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer

German Federal Minister of Defence

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been the Federal Minister of Defence since July 2019. Since December 2018 she has been the Party Leader of the CDU Germany. Until 2018, she was the Prime Minister of the Saarland. Prior to this, she headed various ministries there. Kramp-Karrenbauer studied law and political science in Trier and Saarbrücken.

Opening remarks

Mika Aaltola

Director, FIIA

Mika Aaltola is the Director of FIIA and Editor-in-Chief of "Ulkopolitiikka" – the Finnish Journal of Foreign Affairs. Previously, Dr Aaltola worked as the Programme Director of the Global Security research programme at FIIA (2011-2019). His areas of expertise include US foreign and domestic policies as well as the international system and major-power relations. Aaltola is a professor (part-time) at Tallinn University since 2012 and holds the rank of docent at the University of Tampere. He acted as visiting professor at the University of Minnesota (2006–2008) and as visiting fellow at Cambridge University in 1997. Aaltola has also been a visiting researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (fall 2013) and at the CERI Sciences Po (fall 2010). He obtained his PhD in social sciences from the University of Tampere in 1999.


Niklas Helwig

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Niklas Helwig is a Leading Researcher at FIIA. His research focuses on EU foreign and security policy, German foreign and security policy, as well as the transatlantic security alliance. Before he returned to FIIA in 2019, he worked at the RAND Corporation, at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS, Washington), at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP, Berlin) and at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS, Brussels). He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cologne and the University of Edinburgh (‘co-tutelle’).


Henri Vanhanen

Research Fellow, FIIA

Henri Vanhanen is a Research Fellow at FIIA. He specializes in Finnish foreign, security and defence policy, as well as European and US security issues. He has previously worked as a Parliamentary Assistant at the Finnish Parliament and has work experience from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, European Parliament and the US State Department as well as the US Department of Defense. He also writes for the Finnish online journal The Ulkopolitist. He holds a M.Soc.Sci degree from the University of Turku.