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Sovereignty in the EU: Who decides?

Plenary / Future of the EU
english language

What does it mean to talk about a ‘sovereign Europe’? Should the European Union have the right to extend its resources and act according to the principle of statehood, namely ‘to tax and spend’? What about policy areas such as commerce and security? And, finally, who would be on board – a core Europe under Franco-German leadership or the entire EU27?

Executive Director, European Alternatives e.V., Berlin
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh
President, EUI - European University Institute, Florence
Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, European Commission, Brussels
International presenter and journalist, Berlin


Executive Director, European Alternatives e.V., Berlin

Hockerill Anglo-European College, Bishop's Stortford Bachelor, European Studies, King's College London Federal Ministry of Justice, Berlin Institut d'Etudes Politique de Paris (Sciences-Po), Paris Amnesty International France, Paris Master, Modern Society and Global Transformations, University of Cambridge FLACSO Argentina - Latin-American Institute for Social Sciences, Buenos Aires Junior Project Manager, GIZ - German International Cooperation Agency International Services, Brussels Mercator Fellowship in International Affairs European Department / EU Justice and Home Affairs, German Federal Foreign Office, Berlin Office with Regional Function for East and Central Africa, International Organisation for Migration, Nairobi UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Rabat Coordinator, European Alternatives Berlin Evaluation Officer, Camino gGmbh - Werkstatt für Ideen, Berlin Director, European Alternatives (Citizenship and Democracy Director until 2015, from March 2015 on Director of Programmes)
since 2014

Array Aart Jan DE GEUS

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh

Master of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam CNV - Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands), Utrecht Vice Chairman, CNV - Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands), Utrecht Partner, Boer & Croon, Amsterdam Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, cabinet Balkenende Deputy Secretary-General, OECD - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris Member of the Executive Board, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh

Array Renaud DEHOUSSE

President, EUI - European University Institute, Florence

 Professor Renaud Dehousse has been President of the European University Institute since 1 September 2016. Prior to this, Professor Dehousse was a Professor and holder of the Jean Monnet Chair of European Law and Political Science at Sciences Po, where he also directed the Centre for European Studies. After studying law at the University of Liège (Belgium), he obtained a doctorate at the European University Institute.
 Before joining Sciences Po in 1999, he taught at the European University Institute, where he led the Academy of European Law, and he also taught at the University of Pisa. He was a visiting professor at the universities of Florence (Cesare Alfieri), Lausanne and at the Law School of the University of Michigan.

Array Günther H. OETTINGER

Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, European Commission, Brussels

Chairman of the CDU, Ditzingen Studies, Law and Economics, Tübingen; First State Law Examination District Councillor, Ludwigsburg Town Councillor, Ditzingen Scientific Assistant, Tübingen University; Second State Law Examination Employee at a firm of auditors and tax consultancy Leader of CDU members, Ditzingen Municipal Council Federal State Chairman, 'Junge Union Baden-Württemberg' Lawyer employed by a firm of auditors and tax consultancy Member, regional Parliament (Landtag), Baden-Württemberg Lawyer and Chief Executive Officer of a firm of auditors and tax consultancy Chairman, CDU Baden-Württemberg parliamentary group, regional Parliament (Landtag) Chairman, Federal Committee on Media Policy, CDU District Chairman, CDU Northern Württemberg Chairman, CDU Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Member, Governing Board and Federal Executive Committee, CDU Deutschland Chairman, Media Policy Experts' Group, CDU Germany Member and President, Four Motors of Europe Co-Chairman, Commission on the Modernisation of Financial Relations between the Federal Government and the German States (Federalism Reform II) Commissioner for Energy, European Commission, Brussels Vice-President, European Commission, Brussels Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, European Commission, Brussels
since 2005

Array Ali ASLAN

International presenter and journalist, Berlin

 Ali Aslan is an international presenter, journalist and tv host who has worked worldwide for global news networks such as CNN, ABC News, Channel News Asia and Deutsche Welle TV. An internationally known presenter, Aslan regularly moderates at high profile events around the world and has shared the stage, among others with Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Bill Clinton. Aslan holds masters degrees in Journalism and International Affairs from Columbia University and has received his bachelor’s degree in International Politics from Georgetown University.

Political Symposium

show timetable


11:30 - 14:30My Europe – My StoryPartner
15:00 - 16:30OpeningPlenary
17:00 - 18:30New perspectives on EU enlargementPlenary
19:30 - 21:30Drink receptionSocial


06:30 - 07:30DER STANDARD Morning BriefingPlenary
06:30 - 07:30POLITICO Morning BriefingPlenary
07:00 - 10:00Alpbach Hikes: Hiking with pioneers – Mindfulness in educationPartner
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 01: Whoever has the money has the power? The future financing of the EUBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 02: EU-Russia relations: Attempting a cool-headed analysisBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 03: Citizens don’t bite: Experiences and learnings from successful participation projects in EuropeBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 04: European security and the Mediterranean: A simulationBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 05: A world without nukes? The impact of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear WeaponsBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 06: Women and youth empowerment: The Sustainable Development Goals in practiceBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 07: Democracies under pressure: Civil society and populismBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 08: Implementing the SDGs: The challenges countries face and the solutions they offerBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 09: European security in the age of hybrid threats: Rethinking military and civilian cooperation?Breakout
13:00 - 14:15Sovereignty in the EU: Who decides?Plenary
15:00 - 16:15Democracies under pressurePlenary
16:30 - 18:30Green Finance: Private capital against climate changePartner
16:30 - 18:30Lessons from the best: What we can learn from Europe’s most sustainable regionsPartner
16:45 - 18:15The subsidiarity principle under scrutinyPlenary
18:00 - 20:00European-Israeli DinnerSocial
18:15 - 19:00POLITICO Happy HourSocial


06:30 - 07:30DER STANDARD Morning BriefingPlenary
06:30 - 07:30POLITICO Morning BriefingPlenary
07:00 - 10:00Alpbach Hikes: Hiking with pioneers – Mindfulness in politicsPartner
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 10: Living the Swiss militia principle: Ensuring resilience through involvementBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 11: Israel: Can democracy exist without peace?Breakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 12: Defending democracy in the digital age: From theory to practiceBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 13: The end of oil: Global systems in transitionBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 14: Are you acting or reacting? Countering climate change through new partnershipsBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 15: Culture and identity: What level of adaptation is required for successful integration?Breakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 16: Promoting sustainable developmentBreakout
08:00 - 10:30Breakout Session 17: Democracies under pressure: The media and populismBreakout
11:00 - 12:45From grey to green: Green infrastructure as a way out of the biodiversity crisisPartner
12:30 - 13:45Global power shifts: Implications for Europe and AsiaPlenary
14:15 - 15:45European Union – Russia: What to do?Plenary
16:15 - 17:15The future of the EU: Priorities of the Austrian EU Council PresidencyPlenary


07:00 - 10:00Alpbach Hikes: Hiking with pioneers – Mindfulness in businessPartner
07:30 - 08:30The rule of law under scrutinyPlenary
09:00 - 10:30Reconciling (bio)diversity protection and efforts to mitigate climate changePlenary