After Merkel: Germany’s international role in a world of uncertainty

invitation only · Webinar · 06.09.2021 10:00 - 11:30

invitation only

With Angela Merkel leaving office, Germany is heading towards crucial elections. Merkel’s successor will inherit a difficult foreign and security policy legacy. Under Merkel, Germany has grown in international stature. At the same time, many crucial issues remain unresolved. Germany has struggled to redefine its relationship with China and Russia, is still recovering from recent transatlantic turbulences and seems undecided about the EU’s strategic autonomy. Moreover, its hesitant approach to security and defence persists. What lies in store for German foreign and security policy after the September elections? What factors will shape Germany’s international role in the coming years?

The recording of the webinar is available at FIIA’s youtube-channel:


Opening remarks:

Mika Aaltola

Director, FIIA

Mika Aaltola is the Director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (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 the 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.


Jana Puglierin

Head ECFR Berlin, Senior Policy Fellow

Jana Puglierin has been the head of ECFR’s Berlin office and a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations since January 2020. She also directs ECFR’s Re:shape Global Europe project, which seeks to develop new strategies for Europeans to understand and engage with the changing international order. Before joining ECFR, Puglierin headed the Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). Prior to this, she was an advisor on disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation in the German Bundestag, where she also worked on matters relating to German and European foreign and security policy. Between 2003 and 2010, she was researcher and lecturer to the chair of political science and contemporary history as well as in the program for North American studies at the University of Bonn. She was also an associate at Stiftung Neue Verantwortung in Berlin from October 2010 until October 2011. In November 2017, Puglierin was a visiting fellow at the American-German Situation Room, a joint initiative of the AICGS and GMF. She is alumna of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation’s Working Group of Young Foreign Policy Experts (2007-2016), of the ZEIT Foundation Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius (2016), of the Manfred-Wörner-Seminar for German-American Relations (2009), and of the International Visitor Leadership Program (2015). She is a board member of the German Atlantic Society and a member of the extended board of Women in International Security ( Puglierin earned a master’s degree and a PhD in political science, international and European law, and sociology from the Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn.

Ulrike Franke

Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Ulrike Franke is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). She leads ECFR’s Technology and European Power initiative. Her areas of focus include German and European security and defence, the future of warfare, and the impact of new technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence on geopolitics and warfare. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford – in her PhD thesis, she studied the use of drones by western armed forces. She also holds a BA from Sciences Po Paris and a double summa cum laude MA degree from Sciences Po Paris (Affaires internationales/Sécurité internationale) and the University of St. Gallen (International Affairs and Governance). Franke is a policy affiliate at the Governance of AI project at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. She was also part of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson’s research team, examining drone use in counterterrorism contexts.


Niklas Helwig

Leading researcher

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’).


Tuomas Iso-Markku

Senior Research Fellow