|The German Elections and Europe's Future||Panels and Discussions||Ivan VejvodaOlivia LazardValbona ZeneliZoran NechevRoderick Parkes||
Series: Panels and Discussions
|Europe's Futures Colloquium||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaSoli ÖzelValbona Zeneli||
The Transatlantic relationship between Europe and the United States is being challenged in a variety of ways. The situation in Southeastern Europe and Turkey adds to this complexity but also opens alleys for cooperation. Foreign malign influence is growing in the candidate-countries of the Western Balkans, highlighting the vacuum and the economic, security and environmental risks created after the recent “deepening-before-widening [of the European Union]” policy shift that has put the accession processes on hold. In the immediate vicinity, Turkey has been going through cycles of internal and external conflicts that have further strained relations with the European Union already damaged by the effective removal of Turkey’s accession prospects. This session offered detailed insight and expert views from two of 2021-22 Europe’s Futures Fellows, Valbona Zeneli and Soli Özel. In a conversation facilitated by Ivan Vejvoda, they examined the routes for the Western Balkans’ candidate-countries to be drawn closer – and in - to the European Union, as well as the likely scenarios for future political developments in Turkey.
|Europe's Futures Colloquium||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaJanka OertelOlivia Lazard||Register here||
The European Union stands at a critical juncture in terms of the Green agenda. In a complex geopolitical environment it aims among other to externalise its Green Deal - the most advanced political and technical proposal to chart a path torward a regional climate transition. Key in this overall geopolitical environment is the question: how far is China ready to go forward on its recently stated commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2060 (President Xi Jinping’s statement at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020). How can the EU's Green Agenda Go Global? How to best manage and mitigate the impact of China’s new role as a competitor also on the green transition? What does the European Union need to do to project its vision and values on these issues?
|Europe's Futures Colloquium||Seminars and Colloquia||Amanda CoakleyZoran Nechev||Register Here||
The second Europe’s Futures Fellows Colloquium explored the impact of growing ultraconservatism and pro-natalist policies in Central Europe on women's reproductive rights. Furthermore, it scoped different perceptions of what strategic action by the European Union should or should not encompass and mapped different national understandings of EU’s actions in North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania in order to find out how these aspiring members can best position themselves vis-à-vis the EU.
|Europe’s Futures Colloquium||Seminars and Colloquia||Oana Popescu-ZamfirWojciech Przybylski||Register Here|
|What is the outlook for EU enlargement in the Western Balkans?||Panels and Discussions||Ioannis ArmakolasIvan VejvodaSrdjan Cvijic||
The state of play in the Western Balkans shows signs of political deterioration. There is uncertainty over opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, whilst those already open with Serbia and Montenegro progress sluggishly. Implementation of the Prespa Agreement is slow and the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia is at a standstill. Overall, it is not a very promising picture even without the growth of popular frustration. Is the European Union awakening to the need for a more robust engagement in the Western Balkans?
|Narrative Making in the European Capital||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaJulia De Clerck-Sachsse||
As great power competition increasingly spills over into the information space, a compelling European narrative has become a geopolitical imperative. Europe finds itself in a battle of narratives between democracies and authoritarian regimes that cannot be decided on the basis of facts alone. To resist populist and autocratic forces, the European Union needs to communicate in a more personal and empathetic way demonstrating that its policies can deliver for its citizens. Just as the old adage has it that the personal is always political, the political will need to become more personal if Europe wants to hold its ground in the battle of narratives.
|Missing Pages of European History||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaTeresa Reiter||
Many people agree that the European Union’s enlargement process is flawed. As a consequence, none of the aspiring EU members meet their targets on the path to membership on time and some do not meet them at all. While Europeans spent a lot of money, time and energy to improve life the region for decades, it is equally true that Europeans made decisions that affected the Western Balkans negatively, too. However, when European history is discussed in the context of the European Union, it is usually mainly about how the treaties were negotiated, how the European institutions developed, and about the vision of the leaders who envisaged the European Union. There are pages missing from the European history book. Arguably, this approach of not dealing with its own role, interests and past with the Western Balkans could be seen as having a negative impact on the enlargement policy the European Union is pursuing today.
|Judges Under Pressure||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaJudy Dempsey||
Two members of the European Union. Two members of NATO. They couldn't be more different.
Poland and Romania are undergoing transformations that could have a profound effect on the rule of law, particularly on the role of independent judges.
Romania has been consistently criticized by reformers, by human rights activists and by organizations trying to combat the rampant corruption for the weak rule of law and for the constant interference by the political elites in the judiciary.
Since 1989, the country's transformation has been long, complicated and delayed by vested interests and indeed the old guard. Its history and culture do play a role in delaying the transformation. But the past cannot be used as an excuse to postpone a long overdue institutionalization of the rule of law and make the judiciary genuinely independent.
As for Poland, it was supposed to be a kind of model for other countries making the transformation from communism to democracy. But since 2005, a year after Poland joined the European Union, Law and Justice, a nationalist, conservative party, has been doing everything possible to overturn the gains of the post-1989 period.
Its first stint in power was too short-lived for the party to achieve its goal: adapting the law to implement its agenda. But since 2015, it has chiseled away at the fundamental aspects of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.
There are a lot of "whys" with regard to what is happening in Poland and Romania. This will be the topic of my presentation on 4 November.
|People of the Mountain||Seminars and Colloquia||Ivan VejvodaKapka Kassabova||
For millennia, the people of the Mesta Valley have lived in an intimate relationship with their environment. Kapka Kassabova's enquiry is into the nature of this relationship as it survives today, after a succession of mass traumas in the 20th century have made their mark. They include political persecution during Communism, economic upheaval in the wake of the collapse of the planned economy, environmental degradation during and after Communism, migration, endemic state corruption, climate change, and a generational shift from a traditional, agricultural way of life towards a globalised, digitalised, uprooted way of life. His focus is on the Pomak (indigenous Muslim) and mixed villages here. An interesting phenomenon can be observed: permanent emigration is rare. These communities are held together by invisible factors that cannot be accounted for by pure economics.
The villages of the Mesta Valley are remarkable for several things: their exceptionally rich biosphere where some of Europe’s cleanest foods, animals, and medicinal herbs thrive; their rich tradition of cultural syncretism; their existential endurance in the face of trauma, and the fact that they export the greatest amount of cheap seasonal labour to Western Europe – the fruit pickers, planters, and builders on whom the wealthier European economies depend.