Conference “The EU, Central and Eastern Europe and Ukraine: Transformation, Prognosis and Perspectives”

On November 16th, 2012 the representatives of Strategic and Security Studies Group participated at the Conference “The EU, Central and Eastern Europe and Ukraine: Transformation, Prognosis and Perspectives”. The Conference was organized by Centre for European and Transatlantic Studies with the kind support of East-East Partnership Beyond the Borders Program of International Renaissance Foundation. The key-note speakers discussed the perspectives of the European Union and the EU-Ukraine relations.

The key ideas of the speakers can be found below.

Marjan Svetlicic (Slovenia): EU challenges at a Time of Global Strategic Reset

- BRIC domination – China and India dominated in the world since 1000s till XIX century (till 1st Indian Rev.), now they return their influence

- 3 possible scenarios:

- bipolar: US – China

- tripolar: US – EU – China

- one polar: pax Chinese

Basic problems:

- “Jungle” (unpredictability, volatility, lack of trust)

- be prepared for all scenarios (contingency planning, risk management)

- in which currency to save? ($, EUR, Yena?)

EU-US time lags (income – 18 years, employment rate – 25 years, productivity, etc.)

Why EU lags? (eurocentrism, view on the past backward rather than forward)

Yugoslavia lessons for freedom

- elimination of autonomy

- rent seeking redistribution coalitions

For the future:

- power to shape the world

- EU should become more proactive

Priorities set by business leaders (survey conducted by Ernst & Young, 2012)

! – improve education (47%) – top priority

Agnes Oros (Hungary)

Fundamental roots of the crisis: (Crisis is multilayer)

- existential crisis

- failure of SGP

- neglecting of private sector vulnerabilities (credit housing boom)

- lack of effective tools to foster structural changes

- lack of crisis resolving mechanism

- interdependence of banks

- interdependence of countries

- lack of euro-area fiscal policy

Importance of Germany – “German Model”

- reforms in the labour market

- competitiveness problem for periphery countries (Spain, Greece, Italy, Ireland)

Germany’s trillemma

=> Seeking bal-outs

- Needs for additional crises management

- Political union debate has started

Bogdan Nedea (Romania): Perspective Paramenters of the EU New Treaty

- peripheral countries are in depths

- ethnic tension, corruption, economic segmentation

- Russia intends to exploit own influence outside its territory

- New EU member states – they have dictatorship past

- Romania benefited a lot from EU accession – funds became more available, free travel, access to job market

- new EU member states might become so-called ‘3rd class members’ (periphery of the periphery)

- Institutional cooperation from both sides

- Governments have problems in communication (Poland defends Ukraine in the EU Parliament/EU Commission, but it won’t last forever)

- Lack of knowledge about Romania’s experience of EU accession and lack of communication between NGOs (question: “whom to call?”)

Viljar Veebel (Estonia): Baltic States and the EU Crisis – Political Calculations ad Strategy for Actions

- Academy + Media + Policy-makers => should act together on EU integration

- 2.5 bln.EUR Estonia contributed to bale-out fund

- Baltic cooperation is rather weak

- Critics of the EU is very rare, ministries rely strongly on EU money

EURO -> is seen as very positive, and should be saved as any cost

-Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not communicate with Parliament

- Government approves decisions regarding EU policy quickly, without communicating them to the Parliament, because if to communicate/discuss – opposition might inform wider public or media about them

- Multi-speak Europe

- Taxation: integration

- Solidarity in EU policy

- Estonia changed from English-speaking into German-speaking, but it seems that Germany is not interested in such cooperation with Estonia.

In Eastern cooperation triangle (Germany – Poland – Russia) Estonia was very pure informed about what-s going on (i.e.Nordstream pipeline)

Bartek Novak (Poland): Visegrad Group Conditions of “The European Project” Transformation

- Differences between B4 states in various aspects: Eurozone membership, energy policy; similar interests in Danube strategy;

- leadership in the group – Poland wanted to be a leader, but 3 other countries did not agree

- V4 is doing much better after joining the EU, because they were rather competitors before.

- However, their reaction / voting in the EU remains different for Poland and 3 other states

- EU money (money given to the EU) varies (Poland pays 1.95% of GDP)

- Defense policy – strategies are different (i.e. Libia case)

- Poland also watch much around, i.e. on Germany

Todor Tagarev (Bulgaria): Europe and the Balkans

Various security issues related to the EU

-The EU managed to talk to вааукуте former Yugoslavia states which were confronting – and it joined them

- Bulgaria and some other Balkan states are transnational states; they do not set the rules but adopt the rules set by the other countries

- People in Bulgaria say that their country is ready to join Eurozone

- Common energy policy is discussed by experts /players (Russia, Turkey). Yesterday [Nov15] – Southstream with Gazprom was approved which means 20% cheaper gas for Bulgaria

- Bulgaria and Montenegro were called “mafia states”, and Ukraine is also in the “mafia list”

-Opinion polls in Balkans show that attitudes of people towards Turkey became more positive

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