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French and V4 Perspectives on the Future of Europe
Event report available
Public international conference with French and V4 invited speakers, touching the topics of the future of Europe, strategic autonomy and defence policy.
1011 Budapest, Fő utca 17., HU
1011 Budapest, Fő utca 17., HU
1011 Budapest, Fő utca 17., HU
Event reportThe Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) held a conference in the subject of „French and V4 Perspectives on the Future of Europe” in the French Institute in Budapest. The speakers were Márton Ugrósdy the Director, IFAT, H. E. Pascale Andreani, Ambassador of France in Hungary, Dominique David Senior Advisor, and former Director of IFRI, Sébastien Maillard the Director of the Institut Jacques Delors, Rodrigo Ballester the Head of the Centre for European Studies in MCC and Alica Kizeková Senior Research Fellow at IIR. The moderator was Gergely Fejérdy, Senior Research Fellow at IFAT. The conference was opened with a speech from Pascale Adreani who expressed her excitement for the passion the Hungarian side showed in organizing the event. In her speech she talked about the common values and challenges like climate change. The next keynote speech was delivered by Márton Ugrósdy who outlined the importance of events like these and the need for a common stance regarding the issues facing the EU even if the set of values differ between the member states. Dominique David talked about how multilateralism is in crisis and must be reinvented. Also, how we need to solve the current Afghan crisis and the crises to come on EU level as a whole the same way we did during the Brexit negotiations. Finally he listed the challenges that are ahead of the EU: 1st The cohesion of the EU and the eurozone 2nd The reinvention of the EU institutions, 3rd The EU’s structural future as a federative EU or the EU of nation states, 4th The strengthening of the communication between the European Parliament and the general public, 5th The values the EU will represent, their content and deciding who will guard these values, 6th The EU enlargement and protection of the borders and the establishment of a single common armed forces. The next speaker was Sebastian Mallard who cited from one of his earlier interviews, where he said that the EU should rather focus on countries like Russia, China and Turkey who want to divide the EU, rather than only focusing on internal issues. He pointed out that the euro is one of the strongest currencies in the world but there are still barriers that need to be overcome for the EU to become the strongest trade-area in the world. The EU should strive to achieve independence from the big players and to be able to compete with them. Finally, he stressed that labor shortages will be a major security issue, with the ageing, which could be solved with migration, with respect to the rule of law or with the nations different family supporting policies. He closed his remarks with a question: Will Germany be able to remain the leading country after Merkel has left? The fourth speaker was Rodrigo Ballester who pointed out that less than 5% of the EU population know about this event. He stated that the EU has forgot its past and that its origins in pragmatism, which helped creating the inner market. He believes that the Commission is rather fighting ideological wars that lead to division between the east and the west. In his opinion the EU forgets its own rules: 1. The rule of law and subsidiarity 2. Shared competences: what is and isn’t the competence of EU institutions. For example, he brought up the European Court of Justice which is not under control of any state. He closed his speech with the thought that even though a country differs from the others ideologically it can still be European. The final speaker was Alica Kizeková who believes that it would be important for the EU and its institutions and representatives to involve the common people, civilians, and younger generations into the decision-making processes. In her opinion she thinks that the public does not see that EU would everything in its power to make their lives easier, while countries like China which does more for the V4 countries in FDI aspects. At the end of the first panel the audience questions revolved around the possible cooperation between the V4 and the Intermarium region. Jean Pierre Maulny stated that the European Union should define clear aspects of security such as crisis management and their capabilities of common defense. This entails focusing not only on military defense but also technological development, where other actors, namely China and the United States of America, are more advanced. He goes on to mention that identifying handicaps, such as the EU’s dependence on China for necessary production (eg. masks, semiconductors, etc) should be taken into consideration in the European Defense Fund. He also mentioned that the idea of national strategies should be eradicated due to countries’ incapability to compete on a national level. He suggests that the European Union should conduct a 50 years plan, and oversee the aspects mentioned above for effective strategic security planning. He adds that although the European Union will not be capable of competing as a military power, it still needs to assess its credibility to the US by actively spending into military assets. Alena Kudzko, claims that the strategic environment in which European security operates has not experienced notable changes in the past 5 years and that the EU's focus should shift in preventing further stagnation. She mentions that Central European’s perspective of EU’s strategic autonomy as an existential crisis is an issue. She defines two dimensions of strategic planning, its degree, which is seen as unrealistic by Central European countries; and differentiation of its sectors, such as health and technology, by mending existing gaps between Central European countries and Western ones. Another point Kudzko makes is understanding and broadening the concept of security. She mentioned that by expanding the concept of security to cybersecurity, that sector has the prerequisites to do much better. The importance of decision-making speed is another incentive to maintain the US engagement, as they are much faster at making decisions, as well as provide the important aspect of risk-taking culture that a well-functioning institution needs. Optimistic view on the Strategic Compass, in regards to the innovation policy for technological development in NATO. She briefly touched upon the process to coordinate a new EU strategy document, which is beneficial in aligning NATO and EU opinion and values, however, she believes these documents will not deliver any fundamental change. Tama Csiki Varga expressed a pessimistic view on the development of strategic autonomy. Stating that decision-making in the EU is ineffective in regards to reacting to strategic shocks. European Initiatives and Mechanism that are in place, have yet to be implemented, which is what hinders progress. He claims that the key solution is the realization of the necessity of change, specifically the role of the nation-state and their willingness to integrate themselves. He mentions that the EU\s inadequacy to react to Grey Zone Conflicts is a result of the lack of political willingness of nation-states, drastically slowing decision making. Giving up part of the nation-state's sovereignty is crucial for defense. He also emphasizes the importance of having the United States of America - with its military assets -as an ally, and predicts a scenario of conflict outbreak in Europe if the US decides to resign as a member of NATO - which he predicts to be a plausible scenario in ten years from now. Varga, adds that the European Defense Fund is important, in the road towards focusing on NATO, which he claims to be more effective than the EU. Proposes shifting focus to an EU Global Strategy that finds common scenarios and solutions. In regards to Hungary, Varga asses that it has fully complied with NATO’s security processes and requirements in the past 5 years, by increasing the spending of its GDP and starting initiatives that combine with Polish and Romanian operational movements.
10:30 - 15:30
Number of participants 60
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