“It’s good to be heard”
National Security Strategy: Fabio Flügel tells how citizens in Germany are being included in the strategy development.
Germany is creating its own National Security Strategy for the first time. It is aiming to reflect a broad consensus in society and will be developed with the participation of citizens and experts. In July Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited some of the seven Townhall Meetings throughout Germany. Fabio Flügel tells us about the meeting in Hof, Bavaria and about the following Open Situation Room in Berlin:
“I read about the Townhall Meeting with Foreign Minister Baerbock in our local newspaper. I’m very interested in questions surrounding national and international security policy, so I simply applied to go. I thought: Maybe I can actively contribute towards the security strategy. And I was lucky, because I was invited to the meeting in Hof. The two topics on the agenda were cyber security and flight and migration.
We divided ourselves into two groups on the random principle and each worked through one of the topics. I was in the cyber security group, and it was a very open discussion. The participants joined in free exchanges about which aspects give us cause for doubts or fears, and which dangers we see. It was really interesting. We often discovered that the steps towards solutions can in fact create entirely new problems. We felt it was very important to work out how state reactions to crises affect ordinary citizens.
At the end of the meeting there was a big panel discussion together with Foreign Minister Baerbock. Everyone had the chance to openly ask the minister questions or offer ideas and impulses, and of course we did this with enthusiasm. I really enjoyed these exchanges. Many of us in Germany are very good at complaining and criticising, and I’m no exception, but we can be very hesitant when it comes to actively participating. But all I can say is, if you get the chance to participate, then go for it. I’m really happy that I took part in this hands-on discussion. It’s a key part of our democracy, that we can say things that don’t please everyone, and maybe rub people up the wrong way. But with a statement or an idea you can always have an effect, maybe something sticks in your mind, maybe a particular aspect is important. Whatever the case, I enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to make my contribution, to actively participate in such a central assignment as the development of a national security strategy.
Throughout the whole of the Townhall Meeting I felt that everything was focused on the topic. We were listened to carefully. And I think that’s extremely important, because a lot of people think that politicians tend to pursue their own interests at such events. But in this case it wasn’t about projecting an individual image or fighting an election campaign – I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I’d definitely take part again. The topic was the main focus, together with the honest aim of listening to the opinions of the citizens. And the best thing about it is: It’s good to be heard.”
Fabio Flügel, 29, is married. He and his wife have a daughter. He is a member of the Bundeswehr.
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