His Excellency Dr Peter Schoof, the German Ambassador to Greece, lectured on “Germany’s role in Europe,” at DEREE – The American College of Greece on December 2, as part of the Ambassadors’ Forum series organized by ACG’s Institute of Diplomacy & Global Affairs in collaboration with DEREE’s School of Business.
Dr Schoof, who was introduced by the Institute’s Director Andreas Andrianopoulos, said that Germany, though uncomfortable with a leadership role since WW II, has assumed a leadership role in Europe for the sake of the “European spirit,” outlining how Germany is “committed to European Integration.” Dr Schoof also outlined Germany’s handling of the economic crisis and discussed the country’s views on foreign policy, energy, immigration and economic policy.
“Germans are preoccupied with the role of Europe in the world – not with Germany’s role in the world,” Dr Schoof observed, adding, “Germany is at the very center of Europe. Its well-being depends on the European Union and its member states. It believes in European integration and that no country can survive on its own – only by joining forces can we survive…Germany will always strive to be a European Germany and will strive to avoid a German Europe,” he added.
When asked by the audience how Germans perceive of Greeks and whether the public discourse has changed in the country since the crisis started, Dr Schoof noted that the perception has changed, adding that the media in both countries were “brutal” in their portrayals back in 2011. Dr Schoof noted that German people have compassion for ordinary Greeks, while the government in Germany encourages investments in Greece, he said. “Not one of the 150 German companies in Greece left the country.”