Academic programJuly 8th - July 15th 2023
Lectures and workshops 2021
European economic recovery - equipped with new tools towards new beginnings?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought along an unprecedented economic downfall. In an attempt to provide new stimulus for the economy, European Union introduced the Next Generation EU plan, providing the member states with extra €750 billion on top of the €1 074.3 billion from the Multiannual Financial Framework. Key part of the recovery plan is the Recovery and Resilience Facility, a tool which aims to mitigate the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for future challenges, with a great emphasis on the green and digital transitions. However, connecting the damage control with forward looking approaches proves difficult for member states across the EU – especially in a situation when the pandemic is still ongoing, the time framework is unprecedentedly tight and the program calls for forward-looking innovative solutions.
This session will begin by an introductory lecture to the topic, which will be followed by a workshop familiarizing the students with basic principles of the new programs aiming to support the EU economic recovery and provide an impulse for investments to green and digital measures. This highly interactive lecture will allow participants to step into the shoes of policy makers and suggest the most efficient schemes for model situations.
New US administration - chance to reset the transatlantic agenda and revitalize EU-US relations?
About halfway into his first year, the Biden Administration has had to balance a range of domestic issues including combatting the ongoing pandemic, rebuilding the economy and healing a divided nation while maintaining his campaign and early promises in the White House to put America back at the global table. So far, he has sought to rebuild and repair relations with partners around the world and most notably, to restrengthen the EU-US relations. The last four years under the previous administration have been a stress test for this relationship as Trump took unilateral approaches towards many global issues, often departing from the multilateral system and leaving the EU to fend for itself.
With new American leadership in place, the EU and the US now have an opportunity to recommit to various multilateral efforts and realign on foreign policy items including post-pandemic and economic recovery, climate change, security, digital and trade relations, and to deal jointly with geopolitical challengers such as Russia and China. As the US and the EU seek to develop a new transatlantic agenda for global cooperation based on common values, interests and global influence, the EU has an opportunity to become a more balanced and equal player in addressing these global challenges than before. This session will explore the ongoing and future foreign policies of the Biden administration, discuss how these will further impact the future EU-US relationship and how the EU can be a more proactive player as the new transatlantic agenda continues to develop.
The quest for European strategic autonomy
Lecturer: Tereza Novotná
In reaction to recent geopolitical changes ranging from the rise of China and growing rivalry with the United States through a stagnating multilateral system up to global challenges such as climate change and the COVID 19 pandemic, “strategic autonomy” has become one of the buzzwords among European policy-makers and practitioners. However, the concept of the European strategic autonomy is not new: it has been used in the area of EU defense and security since at least the late 1990s. With the impact of the COVID 19 outbreak on the global supply chains, the idea of the EU being “strategically autonomous” has become reflected in a number of other, non-defense related sectors. To some extent, we can nowadays argue that it is no longer a question of “whether” the EU needs a strategic autonomy, but “how” it can be achieved through mixing various EU policies and its instruments.
Firstly, the lecture will therefore look at the roots and history of “strategic autonomy” and will discuss how we can define the term, which policy areas are included and which tools can be used. Secondly, the session will look at what is the relationship between a “strategically autonomous” EU with the United States and NATO. Lastly, the lecture will explore how strategic autonomy fits within the current transformations at the global level. In particular, we will examine how the EU can strengthen its strategic autonomy should the competition between the US and China escalate and how the EU can cooperate with other partners across Asia and the globe which are in a similar difficult position of being forced to choose sides between the two superpowers. The instructor will combine a lecture with interactive elements to encourage students to actively participate.
Climate action and green recovery from the V4 perspective
In 2019, the EU has agreed to reach climate neutrality by 2050. In 2020, the mid-term target of emission-reduction by 2030 has been updated from 40% to at least 55% compared to 1990 levels. Now we must move from plans to action, while also taking into account the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the Commission will unveil its biggest climate and energy legislative package yet. Deep reforms are needed in order to get the EU on track to reaching its climate goals. Every country will need to step up its game, yet there are still vast differences among Member States when it comes to delivering the green transformation and dedication to the principles of sustainable recovery.
Some of the CEE countries fear that decarbonisation will pose uneven burdens on their societies and economies. Some recovery plans are supporting business-as-usual rather than making full use of the opportunity for profound change. At the same time, there are unprecedented financial resources available for countries and regions hardest hit by the transition to help them get on track, including from the Just Transition Fund and the Resilience and Recovery Fund. How does the future of climate action look like from the V4 perspective? What are the biggest obstacles to decarbonising their economies and will the money be enough to overcome them? What is needed to make the green transition fair, inclusive and above all successful?
Workshop: Sustainable future of Europe - How to get there and what role could you play in it?
The EU strives for reaching climate neutrality by 2050. How does it look like to live in a climate neutral world? When we plan a change, we are trained to see the obstacles first. This time we are going to allow ourselves to look at the carbon-free world from a different angle. From the angle where another world is possible.
In order to create a sustainable, resilient and just future, we must first have a vision of this future. This participatory workshop is going to boost your imagination with several creative activities. Once we have a common vision of a climate neutral future, in the second part of the workshop we are going to work together in order to find policy solutions that will lead us to carbon-free solutions in different sectors. At the end of the workshop, participants are going to reflect on the impact of different solutions and choose their ways in which they can embrace building a better future for all.
Visegrad 4 – does this format of cooperation still make sense?
During the past 30 years, V4 cooperation amongst the countries of Central Europe has built a new vision for the European integration to transform the regional political-economic and social development landscape. The V4 cooperation has developed successfully based on ever – growing friendship and good neighbourly relations between member nations, shared values and interests, respect for human rights, fundamental freedom and the rule of law.
Visegrad Group has become recognizable in Europe and globally as a reliable partner and symbol of successful political and economic transformation, an important pillar of the historical project of Europe´s reunification, as well as an example of effective regional cooperation within the European Union, contributing to its further development and to the continent´s economic competitiveness.
The recent Czech presidency and the ongoing Polish presidency in V4 had to deal with grappling the COVID-19 crisis. Pandemic has put everyone to test especially to develop collective response to the medical, social and economic not only at global scale but also at the regional level and V4 is not an exception. V4 countries are building the capacities and trying to fight the pandemic together to bring socio-economic prosperity in the region back on the track. The aim of this initiative is to improve the exchange of information between the V4 countries in the field of health system management, border traffic, air transport, or internal regulations and restrictions implemented in connection with the pandemic. This is a great example of the flexibility of cooperation within the V4 and its adaptation to new challenges.
Disinformation threat after 2020 (a special lecture with 4 experts within the field)
Dominik Presl, Jonáš Syrovátka, Petr Vlasák & Bohumil Kartous
Disinformation. We all think we know them and shake our heads at how others can be so naive and uninformed. But the truth is that disinformation is currently believed by up to 30% of the Czech population, which is a huge danger for a democratic society.
The topic of disinformation, which is spread by so-called “alternative news” portals, has become the most talked about social topic in the Czech Republic in recent months, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. These portals also serve as information hubs that are quoted from, either on social networks or in chain emails. The level of information toxicity is escalating precisely because of these secondary media outlets. So, even though disinformation websites are mostly a minority, information from them is now spreading so effectively that it is creating a large moat in society that is dividing people and making them uncomfortable. The result is a divided society that is easier to manipulate.
This lecture offers four different perspectives of experts operating in the Czech context, combined with one idea - how to fight disinformation and strengthen self-confidence and media education of the society.
Protection of the rule of law and strenghtening the EU values
Workshop: Introduction to debating and argumentation
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 indtroductory 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.