Laure Mandeville, a senior reporter at Le Figaro and Friedbert Pflüger, a former German parliamentarian joined Tällberg’s Alan Stoga for this conversation about Europe through the lens of France and Germany. Can Europe recover if the French and Germans can’t figure out how to work together? What ails Europe’s traditional leaders? Can this marriage be saved?
Europe is in a bad place: the war in Ukraine, energy crisis, inflation, looming recession, political and social tensions—the list seems endless. Perhaps most importantly, key elements of Europe’s grand strategy are in trouble. Dependence on cheap Russian energy has ended catastrophically. Reliance on soft power, while effectively disarming, has proven to be a bad idea. Deepening economic and trade ties with China when that country and the United States seem headed towards confrontation is at best problematic for Europe’s future.
Over the last several decades, the relationship between France and Germany has been central to Europe’s success. Regardless of who’s been in power in Berlin or Paris, that relationship has always been made to work. Now, however, those countries are obviously out of sync. Their leaders lack a shared vision of where Europe should go or how to get there. Their political and business elites seem increasingly at odds. The mood is bad and getting worse.
The question, of course, is how—perhaps if—Europe can recover if the French and Germans can’t figure out how to work together. What ails Europe’s traditional leaders? Can this marriage be saved?
Laure Mandeville, a senior reporter at Le Figaro with considerable expertise in French, European and Russian politics and Friedbert Pflüger, a former German parliamentarian and state secretary for defense joined Tällberg’s Alan Stoga for this conversation about Europe through the lens of France and Germany. It was originally recorded during a recent Tällberg Foundation webinar and lightly edited for this presentation.
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Laure Mandeville is a senior reporter at Le Figaro, in charge of a weekly page, Debates Around the World.
She was the chief US correspondent for Le Figaro in Washington from January 2009 to August 2016, covering US politics, US foreign policy, and American society. She joined the foreign desk of Le Figaro in 1989 to cover the end of communism and spent twenty years covering the post-Soviet world (Eastern Europe, Russia, Baltic countries, Caucasus, Ukraine, and Central Asia). She was a correspondent to Moscow from 1997 to 2000. She also covered Europe, Islam in Europe, and transatlantic relations. She is the author of The Russia Army: A Power in Tatters (1994, Ed n°01), The Russian Reconquest (Grasset, 2008), which received the Louis Pauwels Award and the Ailleurs Award in 2009, Who is really Donald Trump, Les Equateurs, 2016 and she just published The insurgents of the West, from Trump to Zemmour, L’Observatoire 2022. Her next book, a conversation with the Ukrainian philosopher Constantin Sigov, When Ukraine rises, Talent editions, will be out on the 9th of November. Mandeville is a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council and an adviser to the Editorial Board of Politique Internationale. She is a regular guest on LCI, C’est Politique, C’est à vous and BFMTV. She is a co-founder together with Jean Guillaume and Stéphanie de Tocqueville of the Tocqueville Conversations on Democracy, a transatlantic conference that was created in 2018 to address our common democratic crisis.
Friedbert Pflüger is a founding partner of Strategic Minds Company (SMC) and chairman of the Internet Economy Foundation (IE.F).Managing Partner of Pfluger International GmbH, Berlin. The former press spokesman of the then German President, Richard von Weizsäcker, was a member of the German Bundestag from 1990 – 2006. In 1998 Pflüger became Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on EU Affairs and in 2005/2006 Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defence. Pflüger is Senior Fellow (non-resident) of the Atlantic Council of the U.S. and Senior Advisor of the Global Gas Centre of the World Energy Council. He is a member of the foundation board of European netID.