Our Objective

We want to strengthen Europe’s ability to act through constructive relations both internally and with external partners in order to promote a more inclusive international order.



We want to help Europe develop a new image of itself. We are committed to more consistently involving African, Asian and Latin American countries in the global world order and want to better understand the actions of China and Turkey and their societies. We also want to foster exchange and encounters between people from these countries. In addition, we help to advance European integration, particularly in the east of the continent.


One reason why Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine constitutes a “Zeitenwende” for Germany and for the world as a whole is that it has illustrated the extent to which economic ties can also be weaponized. It is becoming clear that globalization, contrary to expectations, has not made the world a generally safer and more prosperous place in which there are no new inherent risks caused by interdependencies. Instead, global connectivity has created new vulnerabilities that have led to crises and conflicts. In future, aspects relating to dependency and security must therefore be taken into account when assessing cooperation, as must our shared responsibility for the global commons.

In view of the war that continues to rage in our Eastern neighbourhood, the end of cheap fossil energy imports as the driver of European prosperity, the turmoil in global supply chains and an increasingly dominant China, the EU must rethink the way that it shapes its external relations. Our dependence on the United States in security terms is not sustainable, either. We envisage the development of a multipolar order and the decline of Western dominance, which makes it essential for us to base our external relations on a partnership approach, to make ourselves more resilient to global crises, to act with greater foresight and to play an active role on the global stage.

In a changing international order and against the backdrop of multiple global crises, Europe must redefine its role. For the sake of strategic sovereignty and resilience, former dependency patterns must be broken, and partnerships diversified and intensified. We want Europe to create balanced partnerships with countries from the Global North and South in order to address key future issues, and thereby contributing to the establishment of a more inclusive world order in the long term.


Ever since Xi Jinping came to power (in 2013), the spaces for transnational dialogue and cooperation activities have been restricted by law, ideologically oriented and embedded within security policy. Looking at China’s presence in the world reveals how actively the Chinese state is seeking to play its role in shaping a new international order, e.g. by positioning itself in multilateral institutions, by pursuing development initiatives in Africa, Asia and Latin America, by establishing Chinese standards and by expanding its clout in international discourse. In this context, China’s systemic rivalry with the United States defines its own geopolitical coordinate system. Whereas rivalry with China likewise takes centre stage in Washington D.C., for the EU and Germany it was the 2019 strategic outlook on China that formed the basis for relations with China as a rival, a cooperation partner and a competitor. Looking at   the situation within China reveals the political and social shift toward a security state over the past decade. Civil society engagement in and civil society dialogue with China have become much more difficult ever since. Furthermore, we are observing social tensions in China posing a threat to the stability of the country’s society and confront its leadership with major domestic policy challenges.

In Turkey, intergovernmental relations have also become more complicated in recent years, above all as a result of domestic political developments. Nonetheless, Turkey is nowadays more important than ever for Europe and Germany. Turkey plays an important role as an EU neighbourhood-state and regional power in the Middle East. Many of the EU’s core interests demand close cooperation with Turkey. Turkey exhibits a more self-confident stance these days and aspires to a regional leadership role in the realigning international order, e.g. by offering to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. In doing so, it is distancing itself politically from the EU. Nevertheless, a marked pro-European attitude exists among younger generations.

China and Turkey play prominent roles in the changing global order, as well as when it comes to overcoming existing global and regional crises. We therefore want to expand expertise about these two countries among various target groups and maintain dialogue between representatives of their societies. Thereby we want to contribute to constructive German and EU relations with China and Turkey.

Our longstanding experience in China and Turkey serves as a solid foundation for our understanding of a global order set in motion and our observation of new and emerging actors within it. Our regional expertise further enables us to provide fruitful contributions to German and European debates.


The EU will be one of the poles in a new multipolar world order. On a global scale, the EU is the alliance encompassing the largest number of sovereign, democratic countries that are based on the rule of law. That is why the EU also serves as a bridge builder when it comes to addressing multilateral challenges and finding global responses, whereby the aspects of greater inclusivity and justice constitute the main focus.

At the same time, China, Russia, Turkey, and the Gulf states are asserting their influence in the EU’s eastern and south-eastern neighbourhood. In the Western Balkans, the growing influence of the aforementioned states is evident in targeted propaganda that is directed against Western norms, values and institutions.

The EU’s ability to become an actor with geopolitical and strategic clout will also depend on whether it manages to successfully integrate eastern and south-eastern neighbourhood states. It is therefore in the EU’s core interest to drive forward rapprochement with these states.

However, in many of the potential accession countries the EU’s credibility is suffering from the stagnating accession negotiations, often caused by conflicts of interest among individual members states of the EU and the fact that EU countries themselves do not consistently adhere to their own standards and principles, such as the rule of law as well as press and media freedom.

The inner-European process of rapprochement and stabilization thus finds itself under multidimensional stress at a time when European unity (including beyond the EU’s own borders) is of growing strategic importance for Europe’s positioning in the world.

To be able to effectively shape international realignment, the EU depends on its own internal functioning as well as on a robust and stable neighbourhood. In view of the new security policy realities, the EU has a vital interest in contributing to the stability of its neighbouring countries to the east and southeast. We therefore want rapprochement between the EU and potential accession countries to be intensified.

To drive forward rapprochement between the EU and the candidate countries in its eastern and south-eastern neighbourhood, we want to create more spaces for dialogue in which to share and compare perspectives and expand the mutual understanding about common challenges, develop concepts for improved transnational cooperation, and highlight the advantages of increased integration. In this way, we want to contribute to building bridges within wider Europe and thereby help establish new trust. Our focus is not on the formal accession process, but on encouraging the EU and its societies to consider Europe as a larger and more inclusive concept, and to incorporate this thinking into their activities.

We want to achieve this by using key thematic issues of our foundation’s work, such as climate action, the rule of law and digitalization, as focal points for a practicable and mutually enriching dialogue.  Migration may also become a topic of interest within this context. This approach will allow concrete progress in these fields, thus having a stabilizing effect on the EU and its neighbourhood and helping to strengthen the wider European region. In our activities, we want to place an emphasis on young professionals as the European decision-makers of the future, and because their lives will be particularly impacted by Europe’s changing role in a new international order.

Rather than establishing a dedicated southeast/eastern Europe focus, we intend to concentrate on bringing together and networking stakeholders from accession countries with their counterparts from founding and second-generation EU member states. In this context we also want to explore what role new formats such as the European Political Community could play. Where relevant, appropriate, and possible we also integrate Turkey into the impact logic of this area of activity.