Potential of the V4 countries to contribute to the Conference on the Future of Europe in questions of climate agenda and involvement of the Western Balkan countries
The Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) was set up by the three EU institutions for the European citizens to discuss the key challenges and future priorities for the EU. After the delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the CoFoE was officially launched on Europe Day, March 9, 2021 with a rather broad agenda. Its 9 topics fall within 4 main categories – European democracy; Social, economic and cultural issues; Climate change and the environment, and EU in the world.
The latter two categories were also subject of an international expert conference titled “The future of Europe: What role for Visegrad cooperation?”, which took place on June 15, 2021. This online conference dealt with the role of the Visegrad states within the CoFoE –
namely with the role in engaging the Western Balkan states into the conference, and with the international cooperation and sharing of good practices regarding the climate agenda. The online conference was the final outcome of the project „Connecting V4 and other
regional expert networks & researching potential for future EU coalitions” focused on building inter-regional connections across the EU by connecting V4 and other regional expert networks and thus researching the potential for future EU coalitions. It was organized by the
Association for International Affairs (AMO) in cooperation with the Res Publica Foundation / Visegrad Insight, the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy and the Slovak Foreign Policy Association with the support of the International Visegrad Fund.
The first panel, titled „EU in 2021: Potential for regional cooperation, or cacophony of interests?“, discussed questions like what should the cooperation in the post-covid EU look like, what are the key areas where this cooperation should happen and what role could be played by the Visegrad cooperation. The speakers focused mainly on the risk that the organisers of the events within the CoFoE could use this opportunity to push their own political agenda, on the role of the civil society within the CoFoE and on possibilities how could the Visegrad countries get involved in bringing the Western Balkan countries closer to the CoFoE debates. The discussion was held by Dániel Bartha (Equilibrium Institute), Corina Stratulat (European Policy Centre), Wojciech Przybylski (Res Publica Foundation), and Tomáš Strážay (Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association).
The second panel focused on the post-covid EU recovery, specifically on the ways how to solve the climate and covid crises together. The speakers from different EU regions – Ana-Maria Boromisa (Institute for Development and International Relations, Croatia), Mats
Engström (Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies), Tomáš Jungwirth (Association for International Affairs, the Czech Republic), Aleksandra Palkova (Latvian Institute of International Affairs) – debated about how can the different regions in the EU cooperate on
tackling both crises or which partners could the Visegrad countries find to collaborate on climate projects.
The outcomes of the conference will be also summarized in a policy paper published during July 2021.