Since NATO was created almost 70 years ago, the alliance has been a cornerstone of European security and stability and has played an undeniable role in promoting peace and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, however, the North Atlantic security alliance is under significant strain. In 2017, the US administration’s back-and-forth in endorsing the US’s commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty alarmed its European allies. Currently, there are real differences between the US leadership and several European governments over issues such as defense spending or the Iran nuclear agreement. 

As a result, at a time when issues such as cybercrimes and cyberwarfare, nuclear proliferation in East Asia and beyond, the spread of international terrorism, and the growing number of armed conflicts worldwide would render transatlantic security cooperation more critical than ever, the chances of such cooperation now often seem remote. 

What do increasing policy differences mean for the transatlantic security community in going forward? How can the EU and NATO meet future common security challenges? Our panel of international security and foreign policy experts will discuss.




Niels Annen

Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office

Since 14 March 2018 Niels Annen has been Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office. Prior to his current position he served several years as spokesperson on foreign affairs of the SPD Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag. Niels Annen is also a member of the SPD’s executive committee since 2003. 
His main foci of interests are Transatlantic relations and the Middle East as well as China and Latin America. From 2014 to 2018 Mr. Annen also chaired the Bundestag’s Parliamentarian Friendship Group for Relations with the States of South Asia. As an advocate for a stronger German role in international diplomacy, he supports multilateral engagement as a tool for resolving today’s conflicts and crises, and protecting human rights.
Niels Annen was a senior resident fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Washington, D.C. (2010 to 2011), and a researcher at the International Policy Analysis unit of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (2011 to 2013). From 2001 to 2004 he was chairman of the Federal Executive Board of the Young Socialists. Niels Annen holds a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University.



Senior Policy Fellow,
Director of the European Power Programme
European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

At ECFR, she leads the European Power programme, which focuses on the strategy, politics and governance of European foreign policy, at this challenging moment for the international liberal order. Before joining ECFR in 2010, Susi worked for Amnesty International, carrying out advocacy on human rights protection and promotion in the EU's relationship with Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Susi began her career in HM Treasury in the United Kingdom.

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Ambassador Tacan Ildem

Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO

Ambassador Tacan Ildem was appointed NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Division in 2016. He advises the Secretary General on public communications and directs the Division that works to raise the Alliance’s profile with audiences around the globe. As a senior Turkish diplomat, he served, among others, as Permanent Representative to the OSCE, as Director General for International Security Affairs at the MFA, as Permanent Representative to NATO and Ambassador to the Netherlands.



Weizsäcker Fellow
Robert Bosch Academy

Julianne Smith is a Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy. She is the former Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. She serves as a contributing editor to Foreign Policy, where she coedits Shadow Government. From 2012-2013, she served as the Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States. Previously, she served as the Principal Director for European/NATO Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.





Chief International Correspondent,
Columnist and Academic Director

Matthias Naß was Secretary of the German Association for Asian Studies and Editor of the quarterly Asien (1978-82). Mr. Naß attended the Hamburg School of Journalism (1982-83). He was a member of the foreign policy staff of DIE ZEIT (1983-90), deputy Political Editor (1990-94), Managing Editor (1994-97) and deputy Editor-in-Chief (1998-2010). He is Co-Chairman of the German-Japanese Forum. He studied History, Chinese Studies and Political Science at the Universities of Göttingen, Hawaii and Hamburg.