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Conference „The way towards a European Feminist Foreign Policy“

In times when numerous crises are escalating and wars dominate our foreign policy, it is important to take a step back and think about alternative approaches: the path that led us into these crises will certainly not lead us out of them.

That’s why this week, together with the Greens/EFA group, I organised the conference “The way towards a European Feminist Foreign Policy”. The aim of the event was to show and discuss ways towards a European foreign policy for all.

We had a special guest right at the start of the conference: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. She gave a moving keynote speech in which she emphasised the effectiveness of a feminist foreign policy.

The message of her speech: We need a feminist foreign policy more than ever!
In the subsequent panel, we discussed the status quo of feminist foreign policy in the European institutions and its relevance for a civil society that opposes patriarchal norms.

Stefano Sannino, Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Katarzyna Pisarska, Chair of the Warsaw Security Forum, and Liliia Antoniuk, Director in charge of the Ukrainian non-governmental organisation “Women’s League” joined me on this panel, which was moderated by journalist Teri Schultz.

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Building alliances for a feminist foreign policy

After this successful start, the conference continued with the second panel the next morning. The panellists provided insights into how important alliances are for the implementation of a feminist foreign policy.

The panellists were:

  • Anne Goedert, Ambassador-at-large for Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Luxembourg
  • Kristina Lunz, co-founder and co-director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy
  • Claudia Brinkmann, Team Lead Feminist Foreign Policy at the German Federal Foreign Office
  • Joanna Kaminska, Zieloni Party (Poland)
  • Teri Schultz, journalist at NPR/Deutsche Welle, as moderator

Is the EU’s foreign policy already feminist?

Spoiler alert: No. The second panel of the day made it clear that there is still a long way to go to achieve a feminist European foreign policy, although many important steps in the right direction have already been taken. Shada Islam moderated a lively discussion on the role of European institutions in a far-reaching social transformation.

Besides me, the following persons took part:

  • Stella Ronner-Grubačić, Ambassador for Gender and Diversity, European External Action Service
  • Toni Haastrup, Professor and Chair of Global Politics, University of Manchester
  • Laura Davis, Senior Associate, European Peacebuilding Liaison Office

Improving coherence between internal and external measures

In the last panel, our panellists exchanged views on how European internal and external policies can become more coherent – and more feminist. European women’s rights activist and former Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby, Joanna Maycock, moderated this panel.

The following panellists took part in the discussion:

  • Julieta González, Senior Advisor EU Advocacy, CARE International
  • Fennet Habte, Research Associate, Global Public Policy Institute
  • Chiara Adamo, Head of Unit “Gender, Human Rights and Democratic Governance”, European Commission
  • Anna Cavazzini, Member of the European Parliament

The lessons which will accompany us on the path to a feminist European foreign policy

The conference made it clear that we are on the way to a European feminist foreign policy – but the road is bumpy and long. At the same time, the event highlighted ideas for new approaches and solutions, and numerous participants told me that they had many takeaways from the discussions and talks. I would like to thank Annalena Baerbock for her inspiring speech, all the panellists and moderators, and of course the participants.

You can view the full programme here:

And you can watch the livestreams of the conference here:

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