Over the past months, the Hertie School and Open Society Foundations (OSF) co-hosted the "Priorities in the German federal election" event series, a three-part virtual panel discussion exploring top-agenda issues in the run-up to the 2021 German federal election.

The first panel brought together experts to talk about foreign policy priorities of the major parties in the German Bundestag and their views on European integration, transatlantic cooperation, security alliances and post-pandemic international cooperation. In the end of June, a high-profile panel discussed economic challenges that shaped the campaigns - the green transformation of Germany’s economy. Only hours after the press conference, during which Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats presented their finalised coalition agreement, a final panel examined the coalition’s projects for society, climate, and digitalisation, with public administration as a cross-cutting issue.

Past events

Ready for change? How coalition talks are shaping Germany’s top policy issues: society, climate, digitalisation
Wednesday, 24.11.2021 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm CET | Online via Zoom

The next German government faces a long list of complex policy challenges. While the Social democrats, the Greens and the Liberals have now come together at the discussion table to negotiate a possible “traffic light” coalition and to reach consensus on how to effectively tackle Germany’s pressing issues, we bring you a lively and meaningful interactive discussion as we delve into the most important question at the heart of this coalition-building:  What needs to be done?  
In the aftermath of the elections - only hours after the press conference during which Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats presented their finalised coalition agreement - a final panel shared their insights in a lively uncovering and exchange on the three major policy issues that dominate current German political discourse: society, climate, digitalisation - with public administration at the heart of these issues.

Scene setter:

  • Andrea Römmele, Dean of Executive Education and Professor of Communication in Politics and Civil Society at the Hertie School


  • Christian Flachsland, Professor of Sustainability at the Hertie School and Director of the School's Centre for Sustainability
  • Thurid Hustedt, Professor of Public Administration and Management at the Hertie School
  • Sigrid Roßteutscher, professor at the department of social sciences, Goethe-University Frankfurt
  • Birgit Schwarz, former Chief Correspondent and Head of the ORF Office in Berlin

Moderator: Cornelius Adebahr, Fellow at the Hertie School, a political analyst and entrepreneur based in Berlin

Watch the recording here

Priorities in the German federal election - Economic and fiscal policy during Germany’s green transformation
Thursday, 24.06.2021 | 6:00 pm CEST | Online via Zoom

This event discussed the green transformation of Germany’s economy has become the key theme for this year's Federal Election. All major parties promised to tackle climate change, although they differ in their means towards this objective. The panel discussed questions such as "How will a future government approach these challenges? What economic policies will do the splits? And what will this all mean for Germany’s role in Europe and the world?"  Academics and policymakers joint for a debate on the economic policies that shaped the elections.


  • Ottmar Edenhofer, Director and Chief Economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Director of the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC). 
  • Otto Fricke, member of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, and budgetary spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group. 
  • Maja Göpel, Director of Research at The New Institute, bestselling author and important voice for a sustainable transformation of society working at the intersection of economy, politics and society.
  • Lisa Paus, member of the German Parliament since 2017, spokesperson for financial policy, leader of the finance working group of ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS.
  • Carolin Schenuit, Managing Director of Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft (FÖS).
  • Wolfgang Schmidt, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance. 
  • Kai Whittaker, Chairman of the CDU/CSU working group on the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development.

Moderator: Jochen Andritzky, member of the Next Bretton Woods Group at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former secretary general, German Council of Economic Experts

Watch the recording on YouTube


Priorities in the German federal election - Foreign policy
Tuesday, 08.06.2021 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm CET | Online via Zoom

This event discussed the foreign policy priorities of major parties in the German Bundestag and their views on European integration, transatlantic cooperation, security alliances and post-pandemic international cooperation among others.


  • Daniela Schwarzer, Executive Director for Europe and Eurasia at Open Society Foundations
  • Norbert Röttgen MdB, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, CDU/CSU
  • Nils Schmid MdB, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, SPD
  • Alexander Kulitz MdB, Spokesperson for Foreign Economical Relations, FDP
  • Hannah Neumann MEP, Spokesperson for Human Rights, Greens / EFA Group

Moderator: Cornelius Adebahr, Hertie Fellow and policy advisor

Couldn't make it? Watch the recording of the event