On 28 June 2016, PDU President Brendan Simms gave the opening speech at Das Progressive Zentrum’s Opening Conference
Das Progressive Zentrum, a Berlin-based think tank, held their opening conference to launch their “Dialogue on Europe” project in the German Foreign Office on 28 June 2016. The conference included speeches by the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Federal Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, and PDU President and Cambridge professor, Brendan Simms. There were also presentations by young European activists and panel discussions with distinguished writers and academics such as Jeremy Cliffe of the Economist, Professor Marina Costa Lobo of the Institute of Public Policy in Lisbon, Dr. Thanos Dokos of the ELIAMEP in Athens, Professor Henrik Enderlein of the the Jacque Delors Institut, and Dr. Nathalie Tocci of the Istituto Affari Internazionali.
The speeches and panel discussions were dominated by speculation on the effects of Brexit, fresh in attendees’ minds five days after the vote. Brendan Simms gave a provocative speech about why the United Kingdom, unlike many other states, could leave the European Union project and why this should be a wake-up call for closer political union on the continent. Many of these ideas are also expressed in his recent article in the New Statesman.
The event was very well attended by academics, writers, and policy coordinators from around the continent. Nadja Bergelt and Emilie Mendes de Leon represented the Project for Democratic Union, along with Brendan Simms. The full program of the conference is available here.