Week two is proving to be more of a challenge in the office. FNF often moves quickly to assess daily political news and formulate a liberal perspective on the issues at hand. For me, this has required a lot of catch up on the issues most notable in both Germany’s impending elections and those of the European Parliament.
The rise of populism in Europe is a hotly discussed topic and the level of unity between mainstream parties, that was in part developed to limit the influence of far-right parties, is now being tested. My colleagues have been highlighting aspects of the debate which are in line with their areas of research and I have been assisting by relating the proposed policies to what is evident in other OECD nations.
This week I also began research on my own topic. The 12th G20 Summit will be in July and this year it shall be held in Hamburg, under German presidency. The usual calls for global cooperation as well as economic and financial stability are reflected in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s choice of topics and ministerial meetings.
Thankfully, the German position is also highly opposed to isolationism or any return to nationalism. Whether the summit may be used to begin talks on new deals to increase transatlantic free trade, assuming Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections really does mean the end of a dead and nearly buried TTIP, is yet to be seen. The provision of free global trade networks is of importance to many of the G20 participants and one can only hope that this can be harnessed to generate a collective voice in opposition to Trump’s protectionist rhetoric.
On a lighter note, late in the week we had a movie night at the office. It is a yearly tradition and somewhat of a new year’s celebration. I found it a great opportunity to get to know my colleagues better and to relate liberal ideas to blockbuster films like Jason Bourne. Having the opportunity to engage with my colleagues on issues beyond my daily tasks, is really broadening my outlook. Certainly more than what would be expected at a standard internship. I am greatly looking forward to the weeks ahead!