Academic program

July 24th - July 31st 2021

Lectures and workshops 2019

Brussels bubble 2019 - what the future holds for the EU?

Jakub Dürr

This year, the European Union is awaiting a number of important changes, which can strongly influence its future course. In May 2019, the citizens of the European Union will elect new members of the European Parliament and in November 2019, the European Commission will have a new composition as well. We can thus analyze and evaluate not only the personnel changes in the highest positions in the EU, but also the continuity between the past and the upcoming five years´ period. Simultaneously to the new formation of the two aforementioned institutions, the EU´s task will be to conclude the debate concerning the next EU Strategic Agenda and the common priorities that are awaiting us in a mid-term period. These will also be presented during the lecture.

How to understand Central Europe and its perspectives?

Magdaléna Vášáryová

Key word for the lecture will be „Responsibility“ - our democratic, ethical and societal. Our private responsibility as citizens within democracies to live our life in accordance with European values. The responsibility of Central European states as stakeholders in the European Union and its future, and finally the responsibility of the EU as global player to safeguard the values, norms and the rule-based international order that is increasingly under pressure. If we fail at those levels, we risk revisiting the horrors of the 20th century.

The European dream is a strong yet fragile dream, and it is under pressure both from within and without. Hungary and Poland has increasingly turned to authoritarianism, Austrias government, though recently fallen, has edged ever close to a past best left forgotten, and in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, progressive forces are engaged in a Sisyphean struggle against regressive movements. Is Central Europe truly regressing mentally, culturally, politically and as a civilization to our past? Can the young generation change this trajectory?

The EU foreign policy: How does the EU face various geopolitical challenges?

Aleš Chmelař

Today´s world is not the same, it´s being changed very quickly and unpredictably. International order seems to be in peril. What is at stake? Multilateral cooperation is in decline, international trade is challenged, disloyal support of global companies is the reality. The interdependence and economic connectivity of individual states contradict challenges the current international system is facing - instability and increasing imbalances in the distribution of power.

And where does Europe stand in all of this? Europe suffers from this situation and its consequences more than other “powers”. But what can be done? EU has made some progress in defense policy. However, it has not yet agreed on a common EU foreign policy; and we tend to react clumsily on developments around us.  Strengthening the strategic autonomy of the EU might be the right response.  But is it really possible to achieve it? More similar questions are on the table, concerning the soft power and the hard power: How is the soft power conceived? How to strengthen it and find a balance between both of them? These questions give us a lot of space for though.

From ‘migration crisis’ to a crisis of democracy: The Visegrad 4 perspective

Christian Kvorning Lassen

Since the ‘migration crisis’ of 2015, migration has been the fulcrum of resurgent nationalistic populism and Euroscepticism across Europe, particularly within the Visegrad 4 countries. The politicization of the crisis has not only incapacitated the EU in terms of developing essential, sustainable policies such as the Dublin IV regulation and the Common European Asylum System necessary to tackle migration, but also enabled governments, particularly within Central and Eastern Europe, to undermine the rule of law and the integrity of the EU in an unprecedented turn towards authoritarianism. 

What do these developments spell for the future of the EU and liberal democracies in general? How will countries reconcile the paradox of maintaining extensive welfare states without migration offsetting their demographic deficits? Amidst misinformation and politicization, what are the actual impacts of migration, both negative and positive?

Workshop: Migration and media: How do media form public narratives about migration? 

Adéla Jurečková & Anna Pacovská

Participants will learn about what image of migrants media in Czech republic and other Central and Eastern European countries create and what are the editorial processes lying behind it. Using real media examples and exercises, we will give the students first-hand experience of being in the skin of a journalist and taking editorial decisions about migration-related topics. We will also share insights about the role of media in creating public picture of migration in the participants´ countries. The workshop will enhance their knowledge about the topic and skills such as critical thinking, text analysis and journalistic work.

Competitiveness and Social Justice in the EU of the future: The tortuous journey towards socio-economic harmonization 

Stefano Cavagnetto

Increasing level of competitiveness in a globalised environment and the classic tension in modern societies between individual liberties and collective good are the challenges that the EU and its welfare, after Juncker’s scenarios, are going to face in the future. In particular, the many socio-economic differences among the different member states, their different competitive advantages, are posing a constant struggle for the on-going harmonization process of the Union; the whole process has been also made more arduous by the constantly populist waves invading member states and their institutions, by challenging some of the basic principles that aimed the Union since the beginning and its idea of social justice and solidarity. In this talk the idea of cooperative competitiveness and social justice will be conceptually explored and discussed in order to illustrate the possible challenges that the EU might face as a result of conflicting interests, but also how new forms of entrepreneurships may enhance competitive advantage and more harmonised societies where the tension could be effectively reduced.

The EU trading bloc and the Juncker scenarios: A discussion on the future of EU competitiveness

Lucie Rivera

In this talk the economic stance, weight and strategic potential of the EU trading block will be discussed in detail. Thus the competitive advantage of the trading bloc, as the competitive advantage of some regions, by using relevant conceptual tools will be explored in detail and related to the future socio-political development of the Union. In particular, depending on the different scenarios as depicted by Jean-Claude Juncker as “Carrying On”, “Nothing But The Single Market”, “Those Who Want More Do More”, “Doing Less More Efficiently”, and “Doing Much More Together” from a strategic point of view the potential for economic development of the Union will be considered. Special attention will be devoted to the consequences and the strategic potential of Central Europe as an active region involved in continuing the long journey started with the Manifesto of Ventotene, more than seventy years ago, and how regional forms of co-opetitions can enhance the competitive advantage of the trading bloc.

Workshop: Building the EU you want

Lucie Rivera & Stefano Cavagnetto

Based on the previous lectures of Ms. Rivera and Mr. Cavagnetto, the workshop will be focusing on reimagining the EU after the scenarios depicted by Juncker. The activities will be aiming at creating new perspectives in which a better harmony among the member states, social justice and economic development and wealth can coexist, and offer to the new future generations an European identity based on the mutual respect of differences but by acknowledging the common goals of prosperity and freedom. 

Debating workshop: Introduction to debating and argumentation

Tereza Vicková

The students will learn the theory and practice of debating according to the Oxford-style rules. First, they will explore the basic concepts of proper argumentation as well as what is considered to be argumentation fallacies. After the indtructory part, they will be divided into small groups and will get the chance to try their newly gained skills in practice. Afterwards, they will share their views on what went well and what could have been done better in order to learn the most from the workshop. This activity will enhance students’ key transferable skills such as critical thinking, analysis of facts and formulation of arguments and public speaking.


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