The year 2017 was dubbed by some, perhaps too quickly, as the year that populist parties were defeated in crucial elections, especially with the defeat of Marine Le Pen and the realization that BREXIT will be a slow and mostly painful process. Is the influence of populist parties on the decline? Have the underlying factors of their rise been identified, and are mainstream politicians acting upon them? What is the danger of traditional parties appropriating themselves the rhetoric and sometimes even policies from these populist movements?
The current Commission did not place EU enlargement among its priorities, but this could change with the newly released strategy for a successful accession of Serbia and Montenegro, the two foremost candidates. Is this the right time to boost the enlargement process? Is there a consensus on the issue among member states? What about other candidate countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey?
Czech and CE industry, great economic providers, are to be threatened by automation and robotization of manufacturing and traditional sectors of economy. What impacts does it have on the labor force and how can we already think of restructuring the economy long term? What are the sectors where CE can derive benefits, where/how can the EU help and provide guidance? Do the digital agenda and other initiatives provide sufficient growth? Will CE still depend on foreign investments to ensure its growth?
Public opinion is increasingly at the heart debates on European integration. Europe seems to be emerging from its many crises and the time seems to be up for decisive steps forward. The feasibility and sustainability of EU reform however crucially depend upon the support amongst national publics. So what do European citizens really want? Have they become too sceptical about the European project to resist any steps forward? Or they are keen to move towards an ever-closer Union?
With the posted workers directive voted, it seems that a first step has been taken towards finding future potential compromises on building Social Europe, one key step forward in EU integration. Discussion of parameters, red lines, future evolutions – harmonization of corporate tax, EU-wide social and retirement contributions, EU minimum wage etc.
In his 2017 State of the European Union Address, the President of the European Commission proposed a Roadmap for a more united, stronger, and ever closer Union, and a couple weeks later the European Council adopted the Leader’s Agenda. Both documents detail the changes the EU should adopt until 2019. How can we evaluate the process of EU reforms that started in Bratislava in 2016 so far? What changes do we expect to be agreed upon the end of the current EP mandate? When will the window of opportunity for fundamental changes close?
The seeming increasing “bilateralization” of relations between the US and EU member states means that a narrower set of interests is communicated through transatlantic channels. What do we, as Europeans, learn from almost two years of DJT? Is someone in the EU leading the discussions with Trump? How has the relative loss of American normative power influenced the EU’s role as a foreign policy actor?
Cohesion policy - the main priority of CEE member states - may undergo deep changes after 2021, and with net payers attempting to downsize it and net recipients planned to fight for its preservation, there is a chance that this issue will be at the forefront of EU policies in the near future. Potential divergences, such as linking the delivery of funds to respect of rule of law, will make the topic even more controversial. What changes can we expect in the Cohesion policy? Does Cohesion policy still meet its original aims?
The Commission will present in May 2018 its proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework, including beyond 2020; it is expected that the Commission will propose fundamental changes to the structure of the Framework including changes to income side of the EU budget (new sources, elimination of VAT based-resources and rebates, creation of a Eurozone envelope within the budget, etc.). What are the changes that have the biggest chances of being adopted? Will we see an end to all of the rebate systems? How will the budget be structured in the absence of the UK's contribution?
Defense is the field in which the most progress has been made since the UK referendum. In a year and a half, the EU will have been able to successfully put together the non-executive mission’s HQ, PESCO, CARD, and an expanded role for the European Defense Agency. However, the speed at which progress has been made could be a validation of the fears about two-speed Europe, and of the way future integration will be drawn up: a French-German led initiative that other countries outside of the “core” have the choice – or not? – to join, at the risk of being left out? Is this a viable model that can be transposed for other issues? On principle, all countries who sign up to PESCO agree about the fact that the goals of its numerous projects is to reach European strategic autonomy. But how can we reconcile different priorities within PESCO, countries who see it as an opportunity to reinforce their territorial sovereignty and fight against migration, others who see it as enabling European intervention forces?
The debate about the future of the EU is partially premised on the idea of improving responsiveness of and representative democracy at the European level. The EU’s response to this challenge will in part define the future of European integration. The introduction of the ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ system before 2014 EP election was one of the steps to make the EU more responsive. Given its polarising effect, the questions remain whether the system will be repeated and how should it be improved if it is supposed to stay? Should the EU go further and link the election of a (joint) EU president to the outcome of the EP elections? Or should the heads of state and government try to marginalise it?
Vision for Europe is the annually bestowed award for distinguished personalities who have, in the course of their lives, devoted substantial energies to the establishment and development of European ideals such as strengthening peaceful cooperation among European nations, developing a fair institutional arrangement of European integration, making European integration more accessible to European publics, and overcoming prejudices and misconceptions related to the integration process. The awarding ceremony is part of the annual Prague European Summit, and it is accompanied by the European Vision speech, which is delivered by the awardee.
Breakfast at the Embassy of Hungary
Breakfast at the Embassy of Finland
Business Breakfast, Institute for Politics and Society
Integration of the Eurozone and Two-Speed Europe
It is currently discussed that the EU will become two-speed. The harder core should include the eurozone countries, led by France and Germany. Members with "soft" integration rates, and thus without the single currency, should be included in the second group. Two-speed Europe whose biggest supporter is French President Macron, may be a problem for non-eurozone countries. Important issues can be solved by the states themselves or among themselves. What will be the position of the EU member countries that so far have not adopted the common European currency and do not even plan to accept it? Can the future of these states within the EU be jeopardized even if we remain with the existing system and a two-speed Europe will not form?
The EU is underdoing decisive debates about its future, with different options on the table being defended by different sets of actors. In parallel, the EU has become markedly more ambitious in terms of foreign and defense policy, and remains a global economic actor. How do European neighbours and partners perceive these debates across the world, and what are the expectations outside of Europe? Is this perception of the EU’s distinctiveness shared inside the EU’s borders as well? How are the EU’s identity and role perceived outside of the Union?
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 June 2016 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 Governemnt 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.
The 2018 Summit will be held on 19-21 June. A special focus will be put on the role of the EU as a global power, Brexit, populist and nativist forces, industrial revolution 4.0, Juncker’s plan and new EU financial framework. For the first time this year, the Summit will be preceded by the debates on EU topics for young professionals, which will follow up on a pilot involvement of new voices – personalities capable to shape the world around them and adding fresh perspectives into traditional discussions. …
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