Academic program

July 16th - July 23rd 2022

Lectures and workshops 2022

Disrupted cities: urban vulnerability and resilience in times of conflict, pandemics and climate change

Katarína Svitková

As the world is growing increasingly urban, 75% of the EU population already lives in cities. Urban areas serve as hubs of population, infrastructure and economy. They also concentrate different levels of governance and social dynamics, against the backdrop of local environmental realities. As a result, cities are sites of vulnerability – from political and social conflict to natural and environmental disruptions connected to pandemics or climate change. The lecture interrogates the binary concepts of vulnerability and resilience of cities. What are the key risks and threats for cities and their populations today? How are cities affected by globalization, digitalization, migration, political conflict and climate change? What are the key elements and functions that keep cities running in circumstances of disruption and adversity? Why are some cities more resilient than others? And in what ways is security in cities conditioned by the quality of their governance? 


A Europe fit for the digital age 

Marcel Kolaja

The pandemic in particular has increased the amount of time we spend on the Internet. However, as usual, the new era has brought not only benefits but also new threats to face. And the legislation setting rules in this area has not undergone fundamental change for more than two decades. It is therefore the new European Internet rules called Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services act that should help us meet today’s challenges. 

New Internet rules need to be human-centered in the first place. The online space should be returned back into the hands of people, as opposed to technology giants who are currently deciding what content we can see, what may or may not be published, and who use our personal data to their advantage. 

It is mainly the planned interoperability obligation for gatekeepers, which should ensure better conditions for users. If dominant platforms are required to provide other platforms with the ability to interconnect and ensure a seamless user experience, this will allow people to stay in touch with their friends without having to have 7 different applications from 7 different companies installed. It seems normal to us today to be able to send emails through different providers. Why should not we send messages from one chat platform to another?

Did Europe manage to secure human-centered rules with the ambitious Digital Services package? Is the legislation future-proof? Will it truly make our digital space safer and more open? And where did industry and government interests prevail over citizens’ digital rights? 

The EU in high politics without the EU High Representative

Aneta Zachová

The European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen announced at the beginning of her mandate in 2019 that the EU executive body would become a “geopolitical Commission”. Less than three years later, von der Leyen herself is spearheading the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine and filling the vacuum in EU leadership. As a top EU bureaucrat, von der Leyen surprisingly became the driving force of joint EU actions, seeking consensus among the EU’s member states. Meanwhile, the position of the EU’s High Representative is literally sinking and becoming invisible. Who is actually representing the EU abroad? What does the current situation tell us about the EU’s ambitions to become a global actor? Can we consider the war in Ukraine as a game-changer for the EU’s foreign policy? Should the EU reform its foreign policy in the light of the recently gained experience? 

War in Ukraine can serve as a window through which we can observe Europe as a global actor. The lecture will focus on the EU’s current position in the international arena and will assess its successes and failures. The lecture will also focus on the impact of the war in Ukraine on European diplomacy and performance at the international level. The lecture will outline several scenarios of where European foreign policy could go in the coming years. 

EU approach towards hybrid warfare in times of Russian aggression in Ukraine

Jan Daniel 

The brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine has radically changed the ways how Europeans think about their own security. Although the war has primarily led to concerns about military security and insufficient defense budgets, hybrid threats have not been forgotten. Gaining traction following the Russian occupation of Crimea and the start of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, the notion of hybrid threats has been used in the past years to describe covert hostile actions happening under the threshold of war. The European Union has developed a range of tools that are supposed to counter such hostile actions ranging from disinformation and other attempts to influence European public opinion to covert attacks on strategic infrastructure.

This lecture will discuss how the EU thinks about hybrid threats. It will outline the development of European policies aimed at countering these threats and key moments that influenced the formation of the EU approach. Furthermore, it will discuss some of the past controversies related to the notion of hybrid threats and point out how they can help us to understand what the EU is and is not able to do when responding to the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Stronger than ever? Examining transatlantic ties during times of war

Danielle Piatkiewicz

Over the last decade, the transatlantic relationship has faced many trials and tribulations, often questioning the strength and resilience of the alliance. From internal and external threats seeking to undermine the democratic values that bind the allies, the alliance has found resolve and purpose in light of the invasion in Ukraine. The conflict has galvanized the democratic community to ban together to counter Russia’s authoritarian onslaught. However, will this newfound purpose be enough especially with emerging security threats from Russia and China? This lecture will explore the recent and future developments in the transatlantic relationship, the future role of security alliance NATO, and how leadership on both sides of the Atlantic comes into play.

European Green Deal in the light of the war in Ukraine

KateĊ™ina Davidová

Since 2019, green transformation has been one of the most important topics on the European policy agenda. The EU has adopted its Climate Law, agreed to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Even despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU held its course and linked its post-pandemic recovery funding closely with the green objectives. Last year, the European Commission presented its largest climate and energy legislative package yet. The so-called “Fit for 55” package is meant to translate the European Green Deal from words to action and introduce the necessary legislative framework that can help decarbonise EU’s economy.

However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has dramatically changed the situation and presented the EU with a new set of challenges. There is an increased focus on energy security and energy independence. Can the European Green Deal survive this new challenge and actually become a tool for the EU to become more energy self-sufficient and help reduce the bloc’s dependency on fossil fuel import from undemocratic regimes? What are the short, medium and long term solutions to the energy crisis? Where do different Member States stand and can the EU manage to come out of this crisis stronger and more united, while still being on track with its decarbonisation targets?

All (gas) roads lead to Rome? – EU energy policies then and now

Michal Hrubý

Amongst the essential Russia’s export income sources are raw materials, oil, and gas. According to Bruegel’s calculation, between January and February of 2022, the EU paid Russia approximately €230m a day for the imported natural gas (NG). Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have witnessed a sharp increase in the price of imported NG, amounting to approximately €690m a day (according to data from March 2nd). This excludes oil and other raw materials and only accounts for the prices of NG, which are three times higher than the pre-war daily average. A study from the Czech NGO Facts on Climate Change articulates that the increase in electricity prices (last autumn) may be attributed to the rising NG prices.

In 2019, last pre-covid year, the EU’s energy mix was based on 40% of petroleum products and 20% of NG. Despite the EU’s experience of a similar short-term shock on the energy market as in 2009, the policies promoting energy diversification proved to be insufficient. Particularly, Germany and CEE states remained largely dependent on the Russian NG imports. This dependency has been perpetrated by the cost-benefit business nature, or the existing infrastructures and bilateral contracts. The question that continues to arise is how to decrease the EU and its member states’ dependency on Russian NG imports? Can the new joint European action of REPowerEU secure affordable energy and fuels from other origins?

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