Public event

Europe in the era of weaponised interdependence

Presentation by Henry Farrell (Johns Hopkins University) and Abraham Newman (Georgetown University) on how the logic of weaponised interdependence is radically transforming the global environment for Europe and Germany. Co-hosted by the Centre for Sustainability and the Centre for International Security.

On October 11, the vice-president of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, warned that Europe was undergoing a "hard awakening into the era of weaponised interdependence." The previous week, a newly published book quoted a senior Trump administration official talking about how "weaponised interdependence is a wonderful thing." Three years after Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman wrote their seminal article, weaponised interdependence has become a foundational concept in debates over global security and markets, explaining how powerful states are turning networks into tools of coercion. Once, for example, the global financial system and the knowhow that is used to build semiconductors seemed the cornerstones of an open economy. Now they have been weaponised.

This poses enormous challenges for Europe and Germany. The European Union was built on the "four freedoms" of movement of goods, money, services and people. How does this work when trade, finance and services are being reforged into chains? Germany's approach of "Wandel durch Handel" rings hollow and false in a world where the global trade system has become a new battleground. In this talk, Farrell and Newman explain how the logic of weaponised interdependence is radically transforming the global environment for Europe and Germany. Creating a "geopolitical Europe" and a "geopolitical Germany" will not be easy.

This event is a cooperation between the Centre for Sustainability and the Centre for International Security.


Welcome and introduction

  • Christian Flachsland is Professor of Sustainability at the Hertie School and Director of the School's Centre for Sustainability. He is also a Research Fellow at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), where he previously led the working group ‘Governance’. His research focuses on the design, governance and politics of climate, energy and sustainability policy. He publishes in Science, Nature Climate Change, and leading journals on climate policy and climate politics. 


  • Henry Farrell is SNF Agora Institute Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 2019 winner of the Friedrich Schiedel Prize for Politics and Technology, and Editor in Chief of the Monkey Cage blog at the Washington Post. He works on a variety of topics, including democracy, the politics of the Internet and international and comparative political economy. He has written articles and book chapters as well as two books, The Political Economy of Trust: Interests, Institutions and Inter-Firm Cooperation, and (with Abraham Newman) Of Privacy and Power: The Transatlantic Fight over Freedom and Security.

  • Abraham L. Newman is professor of Government at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and research fellow at the Centre for International Security. His research focuses on the politics generated by globalization. He co-authored Of Privacy and Power: The Transatlantic Struggle over Freedom and Security (Princeton University Press 2019), which was the winner of several awards, and one of Foreign Affairs’ Best Books of 2019. He is also the co-author of Voluntary Disruptions: International Soft Law, Finance and Power (Oxford University Press 2018), author of Protectors of Privacy: Regulating Personal Data in the Global Economy (Cornell University Press 2008) and the co-editor of How Revolutionary was the Digital Revolution (Stanford University Press 2006). 


  • Cornelia Woll is President of the Hertie School and Professor of International Political Economy.  Woll came to the Hertie School in 2022 from Sciences Po in Paris, where she had served in many roles since 2006, including President of the Academic Board (since 2020), Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Max Planck Sciences Po Center (MaxPo), and as a researcher at the Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (CEE). Her research focuses on the international political economy and economic sociology, in particular regulatory issues in the European Union and the United States.