Discover our agenda

Wednesday 07 October

  • OFFICIAL WELCOME

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP

    The world is at a turning point. While the COVID-19 crisis has created multiple challenges for our societies, economies and systems, it has also shown that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things if they are led by solidarity and compassion. To achieve a sustainable recovery in the post COVID-19 world, the relationship between citizens and governments has to be built on people’s trust in their institutions. People need to know that they are protected and are not lied to. What is more they have to know that their leaders are the guardians of the values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights. How can Slovakia contribute to building responsible leadership worldwide beyond COVID-19 times?

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January, the highest level of alarm under international law.The virus has tested our health systems and societies to their core, highlighting the weaknesses and ability of the countries to handle a large-scale public health crisis. The pandemic has grown to constitute the largest global public health crisis in a century with formidable health, social and economic challenges across the world. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stressed that “The global coronavirus outbreak is the sort of disaster whose effects will last far into the future”. What are the lessons learnt from the pandemic so far? What can be done better in the future to contain large scale effects of global pandemic? How can we rebuild trust in multilateral institutions and encourage more profound international cooperation to handle health emergencies? How can we re-wire and improve our global health institutions?

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • FROM FORESIGHT TO RESILIENCE. NAVIGATING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC

    Co-operation is key to crisis management – or so we hear from stakeholders, member states, and EU institutions. How do interinstitutional relations work in times of crisis management? Will the pandemic, or the subsequent economic downturn, change the internal structures and working methods of the EU – and if so, how? What is the forecast for the coming year and what does it mean for this Commission’s term from the perspective of the intra-EU relations? How does citizen participation fit into all of this? What will be the role of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and what is the current timeline of this long-awaited exercise?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • While COVID-19 has caused delays in 5G implementation, the crisis also underscored the importance of its swift and effective deployment. Business leaders and scientists from the G20 member states have voiced the urgent need to improve digital infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting that 5G is key to future economic recovery. How can policymakers overcome procedural roadblocks and resistant stakeholders and allow 5G to play a significant role in the post-pandemic recovery?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • DE-FRAGMENTING THE WORLD - ENVISIONING A MORE COOPERATIVE FUTURE

    COVID19 could have been a trigger to bring the world closer together to combat an invisible but deadly common threat. Instead, it has accelerated and deepened divisions that had been taking shape for decades. We risk sliding into diverging and separate realities. For many, at least two different systems of values – democracy vs. authoritarianism – are crystallizing. How can we bring the world together to face common challenges? Are there still areas where we can work together? How can we mould global cooperative institutions to address security concerns? How can we overcome ideological divisions and find common solutions to the current and future health crises and address climate change? Can we prevent the world from setting up different and incompatible norms in how we develop and use emerging technologies? How can we revamp international institutions to be fit for the future?

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • ALWAYS ADAPTING: NATO'S 2030 AGENDA AND FUTURE ALLIED SECURITY

    The international security landscape is changing faster than ever.  As great power competition shapes the 21st century, as disruptive technologies develop at breath-taking speeds, and as climate change threatens the whole world, the transatlantic community needs NATO more than ever.  In the face of unpredictable challenges, NATO’s 2030 agenda will strengthen the Alliance to face future threats.

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • A COMPASS OF STABILITY - NATO'S AGELESS UTILITY

    The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of NATO’s forward-looking security strategy and also highlighted the significance of geopolitics in Alliance cooperation. For over 70 years, NATO has maintained political solidarity and proven its ability to adapt to new security challenges. Against the backdrop of this pandemic, NATO principles will be tested like never before. As adversaries attempt to undermine the Alliance, through kinetic and non-kinetic means, NATO decision-makers will have to reconsider how they assess emerging security challenges and plan for an array of contingency scenarios using all the resources at NATO’s disposal. How is NATO repurposing its defence planning and logistical capabilities to address the second wave of COVID-19? What is the best strategy to maximize the effectiveness of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre? What is the appetite within the North Atlantic Council for NATO to engage in climate security? Will the Four-30s initiative be delivered in time or an in a modified form amidst shortened manpower and dwindling budgets?   What options are available to strengthen the centrality of the transatlantic bond?

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • While the worst of the global COVID-19 pandemic seems to be over, its long-term implications for our societies’ stability and safety will reverberate much longer. Regardless of the actual situation on the ground, effective communication of policy narratives to domestic and foreign audiences will be crucial in any future conflicts or crises. The ability to see patterns and connections between seemingly isolated incidents, that are actually elements of broader hybrid threats strategies, will be of equal importance. The COVID-19 crisis might be turned into an impetus for reforming EU and NATO’s strategic communication efforts and threat perception mechanisms, integrating them much more with their core activities. How should democratic societies react to a rapidly shifting threat horizon and the increasingly difficult task of assigning attribution to attackers? What should be done to boost EU and NATO capacities to detect and deter hybrid threats? How should strategic communication be mainstreamed into a wider range of modern foreign and security policy measures?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • EU IN THE DIGITAL AGE: A POST-PANDEMIC RETHINK

    Fostering digital transformation has been a critical priority for the new European Commission. For better or worse, the COVID-19 crisis led to an acceleration of digital solutions across all sectors. The pandemic has also revealed that the EU’s data protection and privacy rules might, in fact, be working against its efforts to tackle the virus, calling into question its broader digital strategy. If Europe is going to lead the next decade, it will require massive investment in education, upskilling initiatives, and AI, in addition to redefining its data protection rules. The question is not whether Europe can rise to the challenge, but whether the political will exists to do so.

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • THE GREAT RECONCILIATION - ECONOMIC RESCUE AND THE CLIMATE IMPERATIVE

    As leaders prepare massive stimulus packages to stabilize their battered economies, consensus over a green, resilient, and inclusive recovery is becoming mainstream rhetoric. Indeed, several projects can deliver the dual objective of economic recovery with jobs and green growth, but several struggling fossil-intensive industries employ millions and cannot change overnight. Investment across the energy sector will fall, and the International Energy Agency expects global growth in new renewable energy capacity to slow for the first time in two decades. Somehow, the immediate economic rescue will need to be balanced with the Paris Agreement’s longer-term objectives and sustainable development goals, including the bedrocks of a clean economy and societal transitions. What is the UN doing to maintain a sense of climate urgency during this critical recovery period in the latter half of 2020? How will COVID-19 affect long-term climate policies that remain under development or have been wholly upended? What are the expectations for COP 26 in 2021? How will the guidelines and principles of green recovery be shared to identify sustainable investments?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • ASK THE EUROPEAN CHIEF PROSECUTOR!

    With Laura Codruța Kövesi elected as the European Chief Prosecutor in 2019, the newly established Office of the European Public Prosecutor will be operational at the end of 2020. The main aim is to go beyond the current system where even if fraud or misconduct of public money is detected, it might not trigger further impeachment. To date, 22 member states decided to join the initiative.

    • What is the vision of the Chief Prosecutor and what will be the main challenges facing the EPPO in the post-COVID-19 EU?
    • What role will the EPPO play in tackling national and cross-border corruption that often impedes further development in EU countries?
    • How can the office contribute to increasing enforcement of the rule of law across the EU, especially in conjunction with the EU Recovery Package?

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • U.S. ELECTIONS COUNTDOWN. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR EUROPE?

    "The 2020 presidential elections are taking place during a time of extreme partisan tension and political unrest in the United States, in part fueled by President Trump’s polarizing policies for addressing the ongoing pandemic, racial inequality, and an empty Supreme Court seat. The foreign policy realm will also bring unique challenges for the next US president, who will have to make strategic decisions that will likely reshape the transatlantic relationship, for better or worse. Some predict that Biden’s strategy will focus on repairing and revitalizing the US’s relationship with EU partners even though as Vice President, he supported Obama’s agenda for turning Eastward. On the other hand, President Trump has made his distaste for multilateralism abundantly clear by withdrawing from key international agreements and organizations. However, it is possible that Trump’s antagonistic policies toward the EU will abate once he has secured a second term, especially if his criticism of European leadership is primarily motivated by a desire to mobilize domestic support. Regardless of the outcome, the upcoming US elections will have a profound effect on Europe. From security to trade, from human rights to multilateralism or climate change, the United States and Europe will eventually need to find a way of renewing their relationship after November.
    What has each candidate proposed for his foreign policy agenda in Europe? If elected, would Trump maintain the status quo and continue to alienate EU partners? What can be learned about Biden’s potential strategy for Europe from his tenure as Vice President? Which EU members will be most affected by a reorientation of US policy in Europe? How will the US-CEE relationship look like after November elections?"

    Habsburg
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast

Thursday 08 October

  • TURKEY’S ROLE IN REGIONAL AND GLOBAL SECURITY

    In recent memory, it is hard to identify a time that was filled with as many global challenges as of today. Climate crisis, mass migration, the return of great power competition, the resurgence of the geopolitical contest, Covid-19 pandemic defy all actors as well as the rules-based international order. In this complex world of multiple crises, Turkey, a NATO and G20 member as well as an EU candidate, identified its foreign policy as enterprising and humanitarian and emerged as a pivotal anchor in a volatile neighbourhood. Where does Turkey see NATO’s role evolving against the backdrop of the NATO 2030 agenda? How can Turkey and EU member states pursue an honest dialogue to overcome differences and return to a robust membership course? How can the full potential of Turkish-EU cooperation be unleashed? 

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • VISEGRAD COOPERATION, A PLEDGE FOR NEXT DECADE

    9th June 2020 marked the 20th anniversary of the International Visegrad Fund, set up to promote regional cooperation in Central Europe and between the V4 and other countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of positive neighbourhood and cross-border relations, with Slovakia, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Austria working together by choice as much as by necessity. Can this close cooperation maintain its momentum and strengthen Visegrad cooperation in long-term? In what ways can the V4 countries cooperate to ensure that the post-pandemic recovery period benefits the region in monetary as well as structural areas? And what needs to be done to firmly embed the V4 perspective into policymaking on the EU level, on European and global matters?

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • THE COMING CONVERGENCE: TECHNOLOGICAL CONNECTIVITY AND SECURITY ADVANTAGES

    Emerging technological innovations within today’s most cutting-edge research and development programs are changing the landscape of warfare. New avenues to wage war, in-theatre and online, through quantum computing and an arsenal of super-weapons are altering the distribution of military power and the subsequent ordering of international relations. Consequently, the impact of this convergence on soldiers, strategies, policies, procurement, industry, as well as operations cannot be understated. As operational domains and their accompanying challenges continue to evolve, building standardized rules of engagement and credible de-escalation mechanisms will be imperative for avoiding mutually assured destruction and ensuring a stable security architecture. How should international governance structures approach the regulation and oversight of new technologies per the existing international Laws of Armed Conflict? What role will supercomputers like IBM’s Summit play in developing vaccines during a pandemic or AI-targeted algorithms during a conflict? What risks to stability are posed by the monopolization of certain super-technologies like nanotechnology? What will update de-escalation mechanisms to ensure strategic stability in the event of a tit for tat escalation?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • A Stronger Europe in the World – one of the top priorities of the Von der Leyen Commission. How will this agenda play out after the COVID-19 crisis? The Commission’s manifesto also pledged to promote “responsible global leadership” – a duty that seems to be widely ignored by other influencers of the rules-based international order, including the US and China. Has the time come for Europe to become a truly global leader? For some time now, the EU has worked to expand its influence beyond European borders. Despite the EU’s lofty goals and continued efforts, it is often criticized for being slow, ineffective, and compromised with regard to its international actions. Will this change as the EU faces the largest crisis since its creation? What are the building blocks of the European way of leadership? What will be the legacy of the German Council presidency, and how might this contribute to the EU’s growing international role? Will the EU live up to the expectations of global onlookers and address the far-reaching risks that have been created and exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic?

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • FINDING A TREATMENT FOR OUR AILING GLOBAL ECONOMY

    After a decade of arduous economic recovery, the global economy has been brought to its knees by the COVID-19 pandemic, disrupting global value chains and paralyzing trade. There were plenty of warning signs prior to the pandemic. In the domestic arena, corporate and sovereign debt levels soared while manufacturing stagnated. On the international level, protectionism, trade wars, unresolved WTO disputes, and a worldwide inward turn to nationalism posed serious risks and demonstrated the potential for reversing decades of progress. The pandemic did not merely shutter businesses, paralyze supply chains, and stall trade. It also exacerbated pre-existing weaknesses, setting the stage for one of the worst economic collapses in modern history. While policymakers have responded swiftly, including taking radical measures to help prevent the total crumbling of the global economy, their efforts can only be sustained for so long and also give rise to a host of new challenges. What can be done to re-energize the global economy, including managing skyrocketing debt levels? What lessons does the pandemic offer for future preparedness and resilience of the global economy, and how does it inform the design of international supply chains? In times when turning inwards and the notion of strategic sovereignty have gained prominence as risk-mitigating strategies, how can free trade become a part of the solution again?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • A CONVERSATION WITH H.E STEVO PENDAROVSKI, PRESIDENT OF NORTH MACEDONIA

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • Our personal data is being mined for economic gain by private companies, which raises questions about who owns it and what they can do with it. Simultaneously, data is increasingly being viewed as a resource for states seeking an economic and strategic advantage over their rivals. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently asserted that it is time for Europe to wrestle control of European data from their US and Asian counterparts. German Minister, Peter Altmaier, is spearheading GAIA-X as a way to counterbalance what he views as strategic and economic advantages derived from Chinese and US companies owning the most considerable portion of cloud services in the world. As data enters the great power competition domain, how can we balance a state’s legitimate economic and security concerns without sacrificing the free flow of cross-border data channels? What impact will the new scramble for data have on existing trade and geo-economic conflicts? Should Europe’s ambitions go beyond data sovereignty towards AI sovereignty*?

    * AI sovereignty = access to the most advanced AI-enabling technologies and data on a global level, applied according to European rules and values, without being dependent on foreign actors

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • Opening the EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia while many European countries remained in lockdown exhibited positive messaging on two fronts: it appeased the effected countries and demonstrated to the world that the EU did not pause completely, even during unprecedented times of adversity. The crisis underlined the region’s vulnerability to influence from other global powers and exposed the fragility of regional political systems. For Ukraine, which has been resisting military aggression from the Russian Federation (including the occupation of Crimea) while simultaneously enduring difficult a domestic transformation, the threat of the novel coronavirus has proven extremely challenging. Could this crisis be used by the Ukrainian national government to regain citizens’ trust, or will it further deepen political polarization? How can the EU contribute to strengthening the region’s resilience, and what regional measures are necessary in order to meet the EU halfway?

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION OF BELARUS

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • The role and strength of cities in the 21st century not only relates to economic opportunity and prosperity but, increasingly, these issues are an expression of democratic values. The attitudes and voting preferences of those living in modern cities prove the trend. According GLOBSEC research, people in the capitals of Czechia, Hungary, and Slovakia prefer liberal democracy to autocracy more than in other regions. In December 2019, the V4 Mayors, all elected as advocates for progressive politics and liberal democracy principles, formed a progressive value-based Pact of Free Cities. Among other goals, this alliance argues for more direct funding for cities to increase efficiency and progress in climate action and innovation, policy areas that often remain stuck amid debates within national governments. What are the goals and objectives of the Free Cities Pact, and how will they be accomplished? Can they pave the way for more robust national policies? Will the ‘value gap’ between urban and rural areas continue to persist? How can mayors capitalize on support from citizens for climate action and environmental protection?

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • THE POST-PANDEMIC GLOBAL (DIS)ORDER - ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF POWER PLAYERS

    At present there appear to be at least two competing global systems that threaten to split the world in two: the rules-based liberal order and the state-led capitalist model put forth by China. This split revealed itself in the lack of a coordinated global response to COVID-19. Rather than harness the power of international cooperation, nation-states have used the crisis to further their geopolitical ambitions causing a further divide among global powers. The distribution of global power and the way it is projected has long changed. Will the U.S. power continue to decline? How does China manifest its global ambition and how will it change the world? Can the EU develop a power centre that is distinct from both the U.S. and China? What role can other countries play?  What responsibilities come with global power?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • ALL HANDS ON DECK: MAXIMIZING SECURITY COOPERATION BETWEEN NATO AND EU

    No matter the will or resources of a single national government, managing challenges of today’s international landscape is a task best served through allies and partnerships. A combination of traditional and non-traditional security threats is forcing nations to reconsider existing military doctrine and emergency protocols to overcome these threats to ensure future security and prosperity. From offsetting the damages of climate change to capturing the potential of revolutionary technology and creating new arms control regimes to ensuring superior resiliency in the face of health challenges, multinational inputs and multilateral frameworks is the solution to safeguard democratic societies and preserve global stability.  How can NATO and the EU work together better to maximize their respective competitive advantages? What steps need to be taken inside the Berlaymont to establish a credible military Schengen zone?  What role or in what platform can Washington play in bridging the technological gap between North American and Europe? What is the appetite of leaders to create a transatlantic climate security task force to build early-warning systems and emergency response mechanisms?

    Maria Theresia
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and actions taken to protect citizens have intensified the growing trend of “my country first,” multilateralism second. While border closures and restrictive security measures have quickly become the priority over joint solutions and coordinated action, governments enjoy increased trust from citizens. In democracies with vulnerable institutions or in those that displayed illiberal tendencies prior to the crisis, such power intensification can be an easy accelerator on the path towards further estrangement from the very founding principles of liberal democracy – notably the rule of law and equal protection of rights and freedoms. At the same time, the trend of de-liberalisation should be recognised as voters keep repeatedly choosing the conservative, nationalist, or populist leaders. Is this trend a natural expression of a need for change or a threat to democracy as we know it? How should international institutions react to such developments in their member states? Will this have any effect on transatlantic cooperation? What impact will social media have on democracy?

    Habsburg
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    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast
  • CLOSING REMARKS

    Maria Theresia
    -


    Grand Hotel River Park
    Live broadcast