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  • Author: Zuzana Stuchlíková
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: EUROPEUM's associate research fellow Zuzana Stuchlíková describes the impact of COVID-19 on the Conference on the Future of Europe in her EU Monitor. The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is one of the flagship projects of Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission, introduced the aftermath of the 2019 EP election and aimed at connecting citizens with various EU stakeholders and empowering them in the European project. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it and preparations are restarting only now. A closer look shows that one year into the project, it lacks a clear vision. Key questions remain unanswered – what will be the format? Who will lead the negotiations? What should be the role of European institutions? And is the question of a treaty change completely off the table? The EU needs to open the essential questions and continue the dialogue on the future of Europe, despite the ongoing obstacles in the form of a global pandemic. However, only with a deep consensus on what the stated objectives of the conference is, how do they are achivable, how it is financed and how it is ensured that the implementation of the conclusions of it can be implemented can it mature from an ambitious idea to a viable project. It is essential that the CoFoE’s launch is not rushed at the expense of readiness - good will on its own is not enough and a rushed start could lead to a PR disaster that could further hamper European citizens’ trust in the EU institutions.
  • Topic: European Union, Institutions, Conference, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: This text deals with the topic of the European Union's response to COVID-19 and how it is perceived by Czech society. As of 13th August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed more than 179 000 European lives out of 1,8 million who contracted with the virus1 . Most of the European states issued lockdowns, significantly curtailing economic activity. This resulted in the deepest recorded recession in the EU, reaching negative 11,9% GDP growth in the second quarter of 2020. . ▪ As a reaction to the ongoing economic crisis, the European Council decided to create a joint €750 billion recovery fund called Next Generation EU that should be financed by loans and repaid after 2027, a significant step that might mitigate the poor perception of the EU actions during the initial weeks of the health crisis. Significant EU criticism appeared in Italy; leading international outlets started discussing whether Europe had lost Italy.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, European Union, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Katerina Davidova, Vít Havelka, Jana Juzová, Christian Kvorning Lassen, Danielle Piatkiewicz, Zuzana Stuchlíková
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Experts from EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy comment on the State of the Union address (SOTEU) given by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on 16 September 2020. Topics of the commentaries: Christian Kvorning Lassen: General Impressions – A Visionary Speech Challenged by Political Reality; Christian Kvorning Lassen: A Stronger European Health Union is Needed; Christian Kvorning Lassen: Migration – Ambitious rhetoric, dubious feasibility; Danielle Piatkiewicz: Multilateralism: Europe’s Call to Global Action – Taking the Lead; Kateřina Davidová: EU’s climate momentum not quashed by the pandemic as new target is presented; Jana Juzová: European Neighbourhoods – Vague Reassurances, Economy First; Zuzana Stuchlíková: Next Generation EU, Rule of Law and Conference on the Future of Europe; Vít Havelka: The EU and the UK fights over blame for Brexit fiasco
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Migration, European Union, Multilateralism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Danielle Piatkiewicz, Miroslava Pisklová
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: After already enduring a 4-year term under United States’ President Trump, the future of the transatlantic relationship is at a critical junction. The US faces an upcoming election where the next administration can either further deteriorate relations or seek to rebuild and strengthen them. No matter the outcome, the future path will be intrinsically tied to how the transatlantic partners cope with the political, economic and security fallout of the global pandemic. Will the US return to the fold of multilateralism and restore an equitable world order in cooperation with the EU, or does the EU stand alone and will have to rapidly grow into a more influential geopolitical player? Or will relations continue their downward trajectories current and spur an accelerated retreat towards isolationist policies, creating space for external challengers like China and Russia to reassert their global positions and challenge the established order? This analysis will examine the current and upcoming challenges on the transatlantic horizon in regard to post-COVID economic recovery. Each region has proposed policies to tackle the current and upcoming economic aftermath of the pandemic, but as Europe outlines strong policies, the Trump administration’s approach has had dire consequences. The Biden campaign’s approach, on the other hand, shows similarities to that of Europe, evoking hope for a more harmonized approach that has proven successful in the past. This analysis will examine the US and EU’s diverging approaches to global issues, challenges and external challengers, such as Russia and China. As demonstrated by the Trump administration, the US is retreating on many of its multilateral and international commitments – how will the Transatlantic relationship look like if there is a second Trump term as opposed to if Biden takes over? Is the relationship irreparably damaged or can it be repaired? Finally, this paper will examine the future of transatlantic security under the framework of NATO’s 2030 reflection process and appraise how the new security landscape will look like post-COVID, especially as external threats mount and impact the Central and Eastern European front.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Multilateralism, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Adrian Blazquez
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Adrian Blazquez's latest policy paper deals with the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). More precisely, he focuses on the aspects of unanimous and qualified majority voting, international security commitments, and common strategic culture of the EU. When analysing the influence of the European Union in world politics, some voices argue that the EU often fails to position itself as a relevant and credible player on the international system. This lack of effectiveness in foreign policy stems from two main factors: conflicting national interests and strategic assessments, and the unanimity rule required in Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) decisions. The first one is a mantra that reaches its maximum expression with the assumption that Southern countries are concerned about Africa and the Middle East while Eastern countries’ main focus is Russia. Unanimity is a principle that governs decision-making processes in CFSP. While foreign and security policy in the European Union remain an “area of intergovernmental bargaining” instead of one under the control of the supranational model, the forging of an EU strategic culture will be difficult to achieve. The state of play is more that of 27 differentiated strategic cultures with diverging approaches.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jana Juzová
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Wednesday’s Summit of EU and Western Balkans leaders was long-anticipated following the efforts aimed at reviving the EU enlargement process. The Summit was originally planned to be organized in Zagreb, under the Croatian EU presidency, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was held as a videoconference. Nevertheless, the fact that the Summit was realized despite the current global situation, even on the scheduled date, demonstrates that the Western Balkan region represents a priority for Croatia as well as the rest of the EU, and that the EU genuinely wants to revitalize the enlargement process. It was expected that the Summit in Zagreb would follow up on the positive developments in the past months, those being the positive decision of the European Council on opening the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, and the adoption of a new enlargement methodology (i.e. set of rules leading the accession process). However, the Summit’s agenda was naturally influenced by the current COVID-19 pandemic and the central topic was eventually the assistance provided by the EU to the Western Balkan countries and a larger plan for their economic recovery.
  • Topic: Reform, European Union, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Ih his latest brief, our Vít Havelka discusses the topic of limits of the COVID-19 EU response and the subsidiarity principle. The subsidiarity principle is an often-debated topic among Czech Eurosceptic politicians. They usually argue that the European Union does not need more responsibility as the EU Member States can sufficiently substitute a joint EU approach, or that the new competences might threaten the national sovereignty. Paradoxically, Eurosceptics often accuse the EU of incompetence once a problem emerges that the EU has next to no power to tackle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katerina Davidova, Vít Havelka, Jana Juzová, Christian Kvorning Lassen, Danielle Piatkiewicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the anniversary of the ninth European Parliament elections, which took place from 23 to 26 May 2019, experts of EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy prepared five analyses reflecting on the past year in the key areas: climate, multiannual financial framework, migration, geopolitics and European Union enlargement. The experts of EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy weigh in with analyses in their respective fields – climate, multi-annual financial framework, migration, geopolitics and EU enlargement – of the first year since the European elections. It is our hope that this review of the first year of unprecedented upheaval will be an opportunity to reflect both on the past year, but also the challenges of tomorrow.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Migration, European Union, Geopolitics, Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: On Friday, EU leaders met online to discuss the newest proposal by the European Commission on the future MFF and Next Generation EU recovery fund. As expected, the meeting was devoted to a mere assessment of Member States’ starting negotiation positions, meaning no significant progress has been made. The leaders only agreed to finalize the negotiations as soon as possible, targeting at mid-July during the German presidency. The introduction of Next Generation EU fund rewrote the dividing lines in the EU manifesting during the previous MFF negotiations. Some groupings, such as Frugal Four remain more or less intact, whereas the group of “Friends of Cohesion” disintegrated into several blocks, which makes the negotiations less lucid. Southern Europe supports the new Commission proposals; Czech Republic, Hungary and several Baltic State express reservations. Nevertheless, the good news is that no country vetoed the Commissions proposal and there is a good chance to reach an agreement. Whether this will happen before the summer break remains to be seen. The member states positions are now far away from each other, and the leaders will have to manifest good negotiation skills in order to conclude the negotiations within one month.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Economy, Recovery, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Christian Kvorning Lassen from EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy together with Jan Kovář from Institute of International Relations Prague wrote a commentary "Czechia: This Covid-19 environment is not conducive to external solidarity" for the EPIN Report publication, concerned with EU external solidarity at the time of Covid-19. EU member states have been discussing how to collectively deal with the socioeconomic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. As major debates continue to take place about internal solidarity, the question arises how the EU and its member states wish to support third countries, outside the EU, in tackling their health and economic emergencies. On the one and, the EU wishes to become a geopolitical power, which requires that the Union and its member states step up their role and support on the global scene. On the other hand, there are signs of ‘coronationalism’ with some national political parties questioning EU external aid at a time when member states themselves are struggling. Based on expert contributions from a representative cross-section of thirteen member states, this report delves into the question of whether and how external solidarity has been part of the political or public debates in Covid-struck Europe. It finds that, for now, neither ‘coronationalist’ nor geopolitical ambitions dominate the relatively little politicized debates about international cooperation and development aid.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Foreign Aid, European Union, Geopolitics, Economy, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe