The "Forum Bellevue
on the Future of Democracy"

The Federal President's "Forum Bellevue on the Future of Democracy" aims to facilitate critical and open debate on current and fundamental issues affecting our society and thereby contribute to the well-being of our liberal democracy. At each event since September 2017, the Federal President has engaged in discussion with German and international thought leaders from the worlds of science, politics, culture, business and civil society.

The Forum provides a platform in which to explore controversial questions and new points of view while seeking open debate on the conditions of success and the challenges faced by liberal democracy.

November 15th 2021: "Is the state up to it? Drawing lessons from the pandemic"

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation hosted a further event in the series "Forum Bellevue on the Future of Democracy" at Schloss Bellevue on 15 November.

The twelfth forum was titled "Is the state up to it? Drawing lessons from the pandemic". Together with his guests, the Federal President enquired, based on the COVID-19 pandemic, what lessons can be drawn for democracy and democratic statehood. He also asked what structural and institutional changes are needed to prepare our society to meet future crises.

The Federal President discussed these topics with Alena Buyx, medical ethicist and Chair of the German Ethics Council, the legal scholar Laura Münkler, whose research at Greifswald University focuses on administrative and health law, and Aminata Touré, Vice-President of the Parliament of Land Schleswig-Holstein.

The event was streamed live in German.

Together with his guests, the Federal President explored in what areas democracy and the state must take action, and what specifically they should change. Furthermore, the debate focused on what obstacles exactly are preventing state institutions from putting into action knowledge that has been gained from the crisis, and why.

Crises cast a political spotlight on the executive branch of government in many ways. This begs the question as to what extent efficient and effective state action can meet the demands of democratic legitimacy. The Federal President and his three fellow panel members also addressed the question of the relationship between democratic politics and scientific advice. How can or should the state and politics handle scientific expertise in the future, and how can such expertise be included in democratic processes? Last but not least, the pandemic has brought to light the need to press ahead with the digital transformation. The forum looked at what elements of digital infrastructure are essential and how we can guarantee data protection while remaining open to innovation.