Germany’s response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic propelled Berlin into a global leadership role, with many nations emulating its testing and transparent messaging strategies. But after a string of early domestic and international successes—including the re-opening of businesses and schools and Berlin’s key negotiating role in the EU’s historic relief agreement—Germany has gone back into lockdown amidst a second wave of rising infection caseloads. As the second wave of the coronavirus rolls over Europe, Jens Spahn, Minister of Health of Germany, joins the Aspen Security Forum to discuss key questions about the pandemic, including:
• How can the pandemic be understood as a catalyst for an updated German foreign policy?
• How is Berlin working with the U.S. and other allies to accelerate the development of an effective COVID-19 vaccine?
• What lessons should countries take from Germany’s approach to managing the virus?
• What is Germany doing to mitigate the effects of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, and is it preparing for a possible third wave of infections in 2021?
Jens Spahn was sworn in as the Federal Minister of Health of Germany in 2018 and was first elected to the German Bundestag in 2002, representing the Steinfurt I/Borken I constituency. He is also chairperson of the Borken county branch of the CDU. Previously, he served as health policy spokesperson of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag and as Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Finance. Spahn joined the Young Union in 1995 and the CDU in 1997. In 2012, he became a member of the Federal Executive Committee of the CDU and was elected to the party’s Presidium at the CDU’s federal conference in Cologne in 2014. From 2013 to 2017, he served as chairperson of the German-Netherlands Parliamentary Friendship Group. He is the editor of the book “Ins Offene – Deutschland, Europa und die Flüchtlinge.” With two physicians, he wrote the book “App vom Arzt – Bessere Gesundheit durch digitale Medizin,” which came out in 2016. He is a former bank clerk and political scientist.