Podcasts / Vienna Coffee House Conversations with Ivan Vejvoda

Vienna Coffee House Conversations with Ivan Vejvoda

“Europe is made up of coffee houses or cafes… Draw the coffee-house map and you have one of the essential markers of the ‘idea of Europe’.”

George Steiner

Vienna Coffee House Conversations podcast series are brought about by Ivan Vejvoda, IWM’s Permanent Fellow and director of Europe’s Futures – Ideas for Action project.

As Europe finds itself confronted with challenges of a magnitude it has not experienced since the crises of the 1930s, it is of the essence to create a space to understand the current dynamics and to bring people from the different corners of Europe to speak and listen to each other on many challenges: rule of law, democratic deterioration, depopulation and migration, unity and solidarity, the wake of Brexit, the enlargement prospects in the Western Balkans.

Expanding that space, Europe’s Futures Fellows and other prominent European experts join Ivan Vejvoda in 30-min episodes with succinct discussion on issues with lines sometimes blurred but importance always clear for the success of the European project.

The European Reaction to the Russo-Ukrainian War with Nathalie Tocci

In this episode, Director of Rome's Institute for International Affairs and 22/23 Europe's Futures Fellow of IWM and ERSTE Foundation Nathalie Tocci joins Ivan Vejvoda to offer her assessment of the European response to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. From the often surprising unity and speed with which the EU has adapted to economic, energy and geopolitical challenges to the more fraught issues of security and defense where a clear European purpose has been less in evidence, Nathalie and Ivan discuss the strengths and shortcomings that have been revealed by the war. Looking to the future, they also address the shifting power centres within the EU, the interaction of continent-wide forces with local concerns and the consequences of the war for the psychology of enlargement policy and other EU wide concerns.

Assessing the Post-soviet Space a Year on From the Full-Scale Russian Invasion of Ukraine with Thomas de Waal

In a wide ranging conversation that aims to provide a strategic overview of the former Soviet Union as its constituent countries reconfigure their relationships with each other, with the Russian government and with the rest of the world - Ivan Vejvoda and  Thomas de Waal reckon with the complex dynamics of power and shifting influences a year on from the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. From the EU facing societies of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to the central Asian countries with strong links to China to the ebb and flow of the trade routes and border policies that shape the geopolitics of the world, de Waal and Vejvoda discuss the events, tensions and historical forces that are defining the twenty first century.

The European Green Deal and its Implications with Olivia Lazard

In this conversation, Ivan Vejvoda talks to our Europe's Futures Fellow, Carnegie Europe visiting scholar and COP26 attendee Olivia Lazard about the European Green Deal - the series of policy initiatives described by Ursula Von Der Leyen as Europe's 'man-on-the-moon moment'.

While decarbonization is unquestionably desirable and necessary should we think of 'the environment' as including the geopolitical, and social environments actually experienced by people in their daily lives? How do we reach the goal of net-zero without stifling the developing world? As Europe pursues strategic autonomy, is there a way for the EU to pioneer a new global model for sustainability?

This Podcast was recorded prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Deliberative Democracy, its Dangers and the Future of Europe with Wojciech Przybylski

The Conference on the Future of Europe - a multi-year consultation that aims to set an agenda for the reform of EU policies and institutions in the medium to long term by inviting participation from EU citizens and civil society - is ongoing following the launch of its digital platform in April 2021. Does the conference represent a new frontier in deliberative democracy or does it give undue prominence to the preoccupations and divisive rhetoric of outlier political movements that do not represent majority EU opinion?

In this episode, Wojciech Przybylski - Editor-In-Chief of Visegrad Insight and a Europe's Futures Fellow at the IWM - discusses these concerns with Ivan Vejvoda and expands upon his own research on the future of the continent: will Europe remain the peace project it was conceived as, or will strategic autonomy confer upon it the status of superpower?

This Podcast was recorded prior to the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to his work at Visegrad, Wojciech Przybylski is chairman of the Res Publica Foundation in Warsaw. Read more of his work at Visegrad Insight here.


CO₂, China and Economic Competition with Janka Oertel

This week Ivan Vejvoda is in conversation with the director of the Asia programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations Janka Oertel. Against a backdrop of rising global temperatures and the pledges made at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow last year, Oertel and Vejvoda consider the pivotal role that China will play in determining whether humanity can achieve its stated aim and keep warming below 1.5 degrees. Conventional wisdom sees the rise in emissions that has accompanied China's emergence as an economic superpower as a forbidding hurdle, but emissions have fallen recently and the country's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 took many by surprise.  What does the arrival of the Chinese epoch mean for Europe and the planet?

In addition to her role at the ECFR, Janka Oertel is a Europe's Futures fellow at the IWM this year, has been a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Berlin office and was a program director at the Körber Foundation. She has published widely on topics related to EU-China relations, US-China relations, security in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese foreign policy, 5G and emerging technologies as well as climate cooperation. 

Read more about the Europe's Futures Program

Information about Janka Oertel's fellowship is available on our website

Download and subscribe to the podcast series 

Abortion Rights and Ultra Conservatism with Amanda Coakley

In this episode Ivan Vejvoda speaks with award-winning international correspondent and Europe's Futures fellow Amanda Coakley about the rollback of women's reproductive rights in Central Europe. The discussion charts the effective outlawing of abortion in Poland, when a judgement of the country's constitutional tribunal came in to force in January 2021 limiting abortion to cases where the pregnancy was the result of a criminal act or where the life of the mother was at risk.

In this podcast they ask why some countries have moved toward restrictions of this kind while others, like Coakley's native Ireland, have seemed to progress in the opposite direction. What are the social forces underpinning this shift in attitudes and what role have ultra-conservative organizations played?

You can read more on Amanda's Europe's Futures fellowship project here on the IWM website.