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Sigmar Gabriel

Articles by Sigmar Gabriel

Will Europe Rise to Biden’s Challenge?

July 12, 2021

In seeking to renew the image of liberal democracy in an age of rising authoritarianism, US President Joe Biden recognizes that the first step is for the West to get its own house in order. For Europe, that means finally overcoming longstanding political hurdles to deeper economic integration.

BERLIN – US President Joe Biden has found his mission: to secure the West by strengthening its liberal democracies against authoritarian temptations, both foreign and domestic. Having witnessed both an attempted coup and steeply rising socioeconomic inequalities in his own country, Biden knows that democracies will not find support abroad until they have fulfilled their promises of fairness, justice, and security at home.

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What Europe Must Do

April 30, 2021

Europeans have long known that the global balance of power is shifting rapidly to Asia, and America’s attention with it. With the transatlantic alliance only barely surviving Donald Trump’s presidency, this may be the last chance to repurpose it for the twenty-first century.

BERLIN – The first months of US President Joe Biden’s administration have raised Europe’s hopes tremendously – but perhaps too much. For all of our shared values, the United States and Europe each has its own interests and perspectives, and these can sometimes take us in opposite directions. If the transatlantic alliance is to be revived, following its near-death at the hands of Donald Trump, such divergences will need to be accepted and managed. The

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Europe After Brexit

January 6, 2021

While remaining wary of geopolitics, Germany has been carrying its weight on internal EU political matters, pointing to a potential division of labor between itself and France in the future. The question, as always, is whether Europe can find ways to preserve both its own autonomy and its close partnership with America.

BERLIN – “The UN was not founded to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell,” the United Nations’ first secretary-general, Dag Hammarskjöld, once said. The hell he had in mind, of course, was World War II and the Shoah, next to which most of today’s challenges pale in comparison. Nonetheless, disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic and Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union have

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The Global Risk of the US Election

August 26, 2020

Never before has a US presidential election posed such a grave potential threat to the peace, prosperity, and stability of the rest of the world. A crisis following a disputed result in November would be a disaster, and it would come just when the world urgently needs to address an array of shared problems.

BERLIN – Unlike in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, the modern world’s journey over the next 80 days will be more of a slog than an adventure. But it will culminate in an event of global and historic consequence.

The Post-Pandemic Economy’s Barriers to Growth

PS OnPoint

Peter Zelei Images/Getty Images

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The Future of Transatlanticism Is Up to Europe

July 17, 2020

European leaders who speak of a need for "fundamental" change in the transatlantic alliance are missing the point. The relationship with the United States has already been irreversibly altered, and what most needs to be updated is Europe’s conception of itself.

BERLIN – Politicians who don’t know what to do when confronted with new or difficult circumstances often resort to empty phrases. This certainly appears to be the case for Europe and its changing relations with the United States.

America’s Compromised State

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Toward a New Fiscal Constitution

PS OnPoint

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The Lethal Threat of COVID-19 Isolationism

April 1, 2020

The pandemic has revealed a vacuum in global leadership that now threatens us all. With the US and China stirring up geopolitical resentment, Europe must embrace its responsibility and reinvent itself on the global stage.

BERLIN – Under President Donald Trump, the United States is not actively seeking cooperation with other countries in combating COVID-19, leaving the global fight against the coronavirus fractured. Far more than the US-European dispute over the role of NATO, the silence surrounding the pandemic between the two sides shows that one can hardly speak of a transatlantic community.
Insuring the Survival of Post-Pandemic Economies

Getty Images

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Finding Europe’s Way in the World

January 21, 2020

For historical reasons, Europe has long resided in the strategic shadow of the United States, which itself has underwritten decades of globalization and rapidly expanding prosperity. But the global balance of power is rapidly shifting, leaving Europe increasingly exposed.

BERLIN – The European Union, and particularly Germany, have yet to rise to the challenge posed by the United States’ retreat from global leadership. But, given the new competition from China, together with Russia’s renewed great-power aspirations, Western countries must find a way to cooperate more closely.
Restoring Fiscal Order in the United States

Tsokur/Getty Images

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Make Europe Relevant Again

December 27, 2019

The competition between the US and China for technological supremacy has revealed Europe’s fundamental weakness in the twenty-first century. A community of nation-states built around a shared project to ensure regional peace and prosperity is now surrendering its economic power and autonomy to foreign firms.

BERLIN – It is increasingly clear that the European Union was not built to be a global actor. The EU is a strictly European idea, designed to bring peace and prosperity to a region ravaged by centuries of incessant war. It was meant to mind its own business, leaving matters of global import to the two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Britain and France.
How Truth Survived 2019

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Germany Must Bet on NATO

April 4, 2019

With NATO marking the 70th anniversary of its founding, there is no better time for Germans to reflect on their own contributions to the Alliance. When it comes to ensuring European – and German – security, NATO is the only option.

BERLIN – NATO was founded 70 years ago to prevent war between the liberal-democratic West and the Soviet East. The fact that the Cold War never turned hot is a testament to its success. Moreover, whenever NATO has deployed troops, it has been authorized to do so by the United Nations Security Council or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The oft-criticized exception was its intervention in the Kosovo War; but in that instance, it put an end to an ethnic

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Europe in the Shadows

March 8, 2019

With the world increasingly dominated by the US and China, Europe must develop a much stronger common voice on economics, defense, and trade. But this will require Germany, in particular, to rethink some of its long-held positions.

BERLIN – Recently, I met up with an ambassador of a Southeast Asian country. We started discussing the current trade dispute between the United States and China, as well as the arrest, on a US warrant, of a senior executive of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. My interlocutor then summed up the dilemma facing Germany and Europe. “The Chinese train left the station years ago. You will not bring it back. But you can’t leap on to it, either, because if you did, you would take a stand against the US,”

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Europe and the New Nuclear-Arms Race

February 4, 2019

With the near-certain demise of the US-Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Europe is entering a potentially dangerous period. It must now try to apply some kind of brake to the new nuclear-arms race and gain time for negotiations.

BERLIN – One of the pillars of nuclear-arms control became history on February 2, with the expiry of the 60-day deadline that the United States had given Russia to save the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Russia blithely let the deadline pass. But so did the European Union, abetted by Germany. Europe is now entering a potentially dangerous period and must play a much more active role in the nuclear-arms debate.

Fred Dufour – Pool/Getty Images

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Why Brexit Will Damage Europe

January 30, 2019

The European Union will not shatter in the wake of Brexit, and it will also overcome the economic fallout from the UK’s departure. But Brexit will damage Europe’s role in the world in a way that Europeans currently seem unable to grasp.

BERLIN – The clock is ticking toward March 29 and the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. Whether Brexit turns out to be “soft” or “hard,” the UK is set to endure a bout of severe economic turbulence. But Britain has survived much larger crises and will overcome this one at some point. For me, the real question is what Brexit means for the future of Europe.

Fred Dufour – Pool/Getty Images

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


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Franco-German Friendship Is Not Enough

January 25, 2019

By signing the Treaty of Aachen, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have taken an important step toward firming up the Franco-German partnership at the heart of the European project. But insofar as the pact excludes all other EU member states, it risks deepening Europe’s divisions even further.

BERLIN – The recent signing of the Treaty of Aachen invites us to reflect on how the Franco-German partnership’s role in Europe has evolved since the two countries first adopted a bilateral friendship pact, the Élysée Treaty, in 1963.

Fred Dufour – Pool/Getty Images


At the heart of the Treaty of Aachen is a plan to form a

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