Some argue that the European Union is more united than ever, following the Brexit negotiations and recent EU crises. Others claim, however, that the internal differences are growing and that the motto of the next phase of European integration will be differentiation. Yet an even bigger perspective is needed: following the euphoria of 1989 and the subsequent rounds of Eastern enlargement, has the European Union of 2019 finally overcome the East-West divide? Are new cleavages emerging or are the old differences revived in the EU? This panel discussion will focus on the long-term evolution of the European Union (and Europe at large) and analyse the face the European Union will wear in the coming years.
The year 2019 might be a decisive moment for Europe, and as such also European integration. Many would like to see 2019 as a turning point that will move European integration away from the recent difficult years. For the first time in its history, the EU lost one of its member states and the two largest parties are expected to lose their majority in the European Parliament. Simultaneously, national populism is on the rise across Europe, threatening the core pillars that European integration has relied on. How will the result of the EP election influence the EU? What should the new EC do differently? How should the conclusions of the Bratislava process be implemented?
The series of the three biggest crises in the EU´s history is slowly drawing to its end. The eurozone crisis has led to the emergence of a specific system of executive federalism, the migration crisis to stressing the need for strong external action and the Brexit negotiations have seen a more united EU 27 than anyone expected. Does this mean that that the European Union is now ready to embark on a trajectory of deeper integration or are the new populist movements a challenge the EU is not capable of dealing with? Is a new strategic vision due, or should the EU focus on its persisting legitimacy problem? These and similar strategic questions will be discussed at the Opening Plenary Session.
The EU’s Global Strategy claims that an appropriate level of strategic autonomy in the EU is crucial for its ability to promote peace and security. Whilst familiar, the words ‘strategic autonomy’ regularly stir up confusion and, sometimes, even alarm. This raises the following question: what is strategic autonomy and what does it imply? Does strategic autonomy mean autonomy as responsibility, autonomy as hedging and/or autonomy as emancipation in the context of the EU? This panel provides a space to consider multiple views on the concept and its implications for the EU’s foreign policy, transatlantic relations and beyond.
In the Industrial Revolution 4.0, an economy is no longer based on the interaction between workers and machines but on the interaction between machines and other machines. There will be less of a need for blue- or white-collar workers, while products and services will reach consumers without human intervention. This panel provides a space to consider the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that the Industrial Revolution 4.0 brings to societies in Europe in the light of its economic and social effects.
The European Union is not only a community built on shared interests but also on shared values. This common understanding of values and norms embedded in the European integration project are now being put into question. It seems that the rule-based order the EU has functioned upon since its establishment is not as solid as it once appeared. Europeans have to find answers to several crucial questions: How can the EU protect the rule of law and its fundamental values internally? What can the EU institutions do in this respect? What measures should be adopted in order to preserve a rule-based order inside the EU? Is conditionality the right way forward?
In an increasingly interconnected world, Europe and other regions are becoming more open, and even vulnerable, to foreign powers’ influence. This influence comes in various forms and while it brings Europe and its citizens significant economic benefits, it carries also potential threats that we need to beware of. The panel will bring together experts from different areas to discuss the benefits and risks related to foreign investments into critical infrastructure, and ways to utilize economic cooperation while protecting European states and citizens from potential negative consequences. The focus of the panel will lie mainly on Central European perspectives on foreign powers’ activities in Europe.
Can the Big Data era lead to better and more targeted policy making and more intelligent governance? While Big Data helps governments by providing them with accurate policy analysis that is proactive and participatory, it also increases risks related to data privacy and potential misuse. Where then is the line between efficient use of Big Data analysis for the improvement of policy making and public diplomacy and when it is at the expense of the security of both states and citizens? What are the risks of using artificial intelligence in public governance and how can the governments counter them?
The European Neighbourhood Policy was conceived with the aim of creating a ring of peaceful, stable and prosperous states at the EU’s borders. However, the situation has dramatically changed as many new challenges have emerged in the neighbourhood, ranging from the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine to economic stagnation and democratic backsliding in many other partner countries in the EU’s southern and eastern neighbourhood. Therefore, we need to ask fundamental questions about the future of the European neighbourhood: Does the EU need a new impetus for its policy in the neighbourhood? How can we make the policy truly attractive to partner countries? Should the EU kick-start its engagement in the region? What are the potential areas for cooperation in the neighbourhood? How can we deal with the influence of external actors who are sometimes opposed to the EU’s intentions in the region? How are the EU’s and other main actors’ policies perceived in the neighbourhood? What kind of cooperation is necessary to foster job creation and increase economic growth there?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other digital tools are quickly becoming key drivers of economic development, bringing innovation and smart solutions to almost every aspect of citizens’ daily lives. Rapid developments in the sector, its strategic importance and immense potential forced Europe’s leaders to act in the past year. The joint “Communication Artificial Intelligence for Europe” from April 2018 is a first step towards a coordinated approach in the upcoming years and more money should be available in the last two years of Horizon 2020. Furthermore, the proposal of the new MFF aims to mainstream the support for new digital tools to various chapters. Advantages and opportunities of AI and other emerging technologies go hand in hand with several challenges, mainly in the field of data protection and cybersecurity – especially when major tech companies are currently not based in Europe. How can Europe compete in the field dominated by American and Asian companies? Is extensive financial support for research enough to ensure Europe’s competitiveness? Does the current educational scheme fit the needs of the new digital economy? How should the EU regulate the new field of AI? Can regulation fuel competitiveness or is it threatening it?
The eurozone can only work if countries are better off inside the currency union than on the outside of it. In its current form, the single currency seems unsustainable in the long term. At the same time, the success or failure of the eurozone will determine the EU's future, as continuing low growth and divergent economic fortunes will further spur Euroscepticism. This panel provides a space to consider the following questions: What are the missing pieces of the eurozone architecture? How can we move beyond current visions of eurozone governance? Has the eurozone governance been sufficiently reformed to deal with a future crisis? What are the criteria on the basis of which the eurozone will evolve? Do Germany and France hold the keys in related decisions, or are other EU member states equally important in this regard?
The impending 4th industrial revolution, with a fusion of technologies blurring the lines between the digital, biological and physical spheres, is set to fundamentally challenge our conceptions of society, much like the industrial revolutions preceding it, and thus also the role of governments and governance as the caretakers of our societies. How will the EU and state governments face the challenge of automation coupled with an ever-increasing global population? How will the advent of artificial intelligence and quantum computing affect our democracies, given how vulnerable to electronic influencing elections and referendums have proven to be in recent years? While technological advancement is inexorable, the case for regulation and governance in a dynamic future on both the regional and global levels has become absolute. How can the EU ready itself for a dynamic, accelerating future characterized by technological leaps that affect our societies and lives in a hitherto unprecedented degree?
The deteriorating transatlantic relationship since the election of President Trump has shown that strategic partnerships are harder to maintain nowadays. The economic competition with China, the security concerns posed by Russia’s resurgence, and even increasing political divisions on the European continent make it harder to find new partnerships. The difficulty to complete free trade agreements, such as with Japan and Canada, show that multilateralism is going through a complicated period. Shall Europeans wait it out, or is it symbolic of a deeper rift? Who are the new actors in this picture? Can regions, cities, or the private sector provide a new impulse? What are the main issues, such as climate change, that we will need to deal with together in a global fashion?
Glass of Wine
The International Programme Board is the key advisory body of the Prague European Summit. It meets on a regular basis, at least once a year. The International Programme Board is comprised of leading international thinkers who care about the future of European integration. The Board is essential in shaping the substantive part of the Prague European Summit, and its tasks include the formulation of programme priorities for the upcoming Summit in May 2019 as well as innovative suggestions regarding the Summit´s structure, its side-events and its output.
As an initiative of EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy and the Institute of International Relations, and under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic and the City of Prague, the Prague European Summit has been established to trigger a strategic and open debate on the future of the European Union among high-level political representatives, government officials, business representatives, academicians and journalists from the Czech Republic, EU countries, V4 countries and other. …
Its goal is to find common answers to the key questions in the economic, social, foreign-political and institutional areas. By hosting this regular summit on the future of European integration in Prague, the organizers contribute to recasting the image of the Czech Republic as an EU member country which self-confidently yet constructively joins the strategic discussions on the course of the EU.
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