Press release, September 9, 2015
German Foreign and Security Policy: Politicians and Scholars Discuss Digital Challenges at the SWP Workshop
“It has been a year since the German government published Digital Agenda 2014-2017. But the debate about the role of Internet in foreign policy cannot lose steam now”, said Ben Wagner, the director of CIHR, after a discussion organized by the SWP between politicians, government officials and academics yesterday. “This is a very real danger following a reshuffle in the German foreign ministry that abolished the high level ‘Cyber Coordinator’ position that previously existed. The German government needs to work harder to promote digital rights globally and ensure that it lives up its international commitments at home.”
Annegret Bendiek, senior associate at the SWP added: “The question of legitimacy is crucial for the future development of German foreign policy on internet topics. In this regard inter-ministerial coordination and improved parliamentary oversight is key. Here the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European External Action Service need to play a stronger role in taking the lead on these issues.”
The workshop entitled “The challenges of digitalization for German Foreign and Security Policy” was organized in cooperation with the Center for Internet & Human Rights (CIHR). It was held on September 8, 2015 at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) under the Chatham House rule. The goal of this workshop was to promote transfer of knowledge between academia and governments.
First, Dr. Patricia Flor from the German foreign ministry gave a keynote speech about Cyber Foreign and Security Policy after the Review 2014 process. Then, participants from France, India, Kenya and the EU institutions gave their perspectives on international expectations towards Germany.
In a different panel, German Members of Parliament, who participate in the investigation committee on the mass spying of secret services, focused on the domestic preconditions for German foreign policy.
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