During the period of 27 – 30 October 2016 European commissioners, dozens of ministers and EU officials, hundreds of analysts and scholars gathered in Bratislava to reflect upon the current European problems and find the solutions at GLOBSEC Tatra Summit 2016. Among the speakers were the Finance Minister of Germany Wolfgang Schäuble, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Budget Kristalina Georgieva, economist Arthur Laffer, the President of Google Europe Matt Brittin and many others.
1) European solutions for current challenges – Financial crisis, migration crisis, crisis of trust of EU citizens towards the common project were debated topics as key European stakeholders discussed how to overcome them, restore ties between EU member states and thus strengthening the future of European project.
2) Migration crisis – In its early stages, migration crisis has divided the European countries in their attitudes towards accepting migrants. Some countries built fences while other were very welcoming. Now it seems that all European countries converge in disillusionment with the policy of open borders, yet they are divided over burden-sharing and future of Schengen and asylum policy as such. Thus topics such as securing EU borders, desirability of a quota system, the future of Schengen system and asylum policy were debated.
3) Economic and Monetary Union – Creating Economic and Monetary Union is one of the most ambitious goals of the European integration process. Recently, a dividing line between ‘in’ and ‘out’ Eurozone countries is getting clearly visible. Top EMU stakeholders exchanged their views on the future of the EMU and how to find a common route to its stability.
4) Energy Union – While the implementation of the Energy Union project has already begun, most anticipated results are yet to come. Energy security has been the crucial and most provoking aspect of European energy policy for years, reaching a stalemate of dependence and uncertainty. A platform was thus provided in order to discuss the issues of diversification, foreign policy goals versus energy security and large transit infrastructure projects.
5) Transatlantic relations – The U.S. presidential elections might shape future Transatlantic relations for the years to come. What will be the future of Transatlantic security cooperation, TTIP or coping with the migration flows?
6) Digital Single Market – One of the key efforts in order to boost economic competitiveness of the EU in the 21st century is creating the Digital Single Market. Topics such as removing obstacles in cross-border e-commerce, geo-blocking, compatibility of VAT frameworks, cybersecurity and data protection were covered
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“European Neighbourhood Policy Review One Year After – Challenges To The East”
The European Institute of Romania was represented at this forum by Mihai Sebe, expert within the Studies Unit who took part as a discussant to the EU’s Eastern Partnership expert workshop entitled “European Neighbourhood Policy Review One Year After – Challenges To The East”, in the side-lines of the GLOBSEC Tatra Summit 2016.
The expert round-table discussed in more detail what has been achieved in the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) within the framework of the review process. The panel took stock of what has already been implemented, what are the deficiencies and opportunities, that should be introduced into the EaP to make it more realistic, clearer and more accessible yet at the same time capable of addressing the challenges EaP countries face today.
The aim of the panel was to initiate discussions about the ENP Review in conditions of EaP in areas as highlighted at the EU-EaP Riga Summit (May 2015) prior the next EU-EaP Summit that is supposed to take place in 2017 under the Estonian Presidency in the Council of the EU. It aimed at stronger engagement of the civil society and experts into formulating recommendations for the EaP invigoration within the ENP Review and at the same time increasing the sense of ownership by the EaP countries.
The panel also addressed strengthening of ties between EU and EaP countries, where on one side, the EU seems to be softening its approach (human rights issues) and providing the financial support, on the other is facing many times the issue of tax erosions when it comes to goods & services transported from the East to the West mostly through illicit channels.
For more details please visit www.tatrasummit.org
* The full article was first published in the European Institute of Romania Newsletter, no. 82, November 2016.
**This article is based on publicly available information on the website of the Forum and respects the Chatham House Rule: “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”