ENURC project: Joint publication from TEPSA, the Latvian Institute of International Affairs and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

“DileENURCmmas of Europeanisation: Political Choices and Economic Transformations in the Eastern Partnership Countries”, Ed. by Aldis Austers, Ilvija Bruge, Andris Spruds.  . Riga: Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2016.

This book provides theoretical and practical insights of the Europeanisation transformations taking place in the Eastern Partnership countries and discusses how the economic ties between the EU and the partners affect these transformations. This collection of articles is authored by a group of international scholars and offers a first-hand account into the experiences of the six Eastern Partners. The subjects include adaptability and challenges of the EU’s external governance in a tense geopolitical environment, effectiveness of the Association Agreements and newly proposed Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, analysis of specific country situations and a comparison of the partners’ potential for consistent Europeanisation.

The publication is part of TEPSA’s project “Eastern Neighbours and Russia: close links with EU citizens – ENURC”.

ENURC conference: “The EU and its Eastern Partners: A Struggle for Stability, Security and Prosperity”, 26 November 2015

UI

UI ENURC

On 26 November 2015 The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) together with the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) hosted a conference about the European Union’s Eastern Partnership policy and the prospects for security, stability and prosperity in Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The first panel, entitled “New Challenges and Threats: How to Improve the EU’s Eastern Partnership Policy?” featured keynote speakers from the EEAS, La the Latvian Parliament and the Eastern Partnership Ambassador of Sweden, who all shared insights from their work within the EU and the national decision-making processes.  The second panel, entitled “More Effective Support for the EU’s Eastern Partners: How?” addressed the challenges that Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus have to master. The four invited experts from the respective ENP countries shared their insights into the difficult domestic political conditions, and how these countries relations with the EU are influenced by the external pressures from the Russian government. The Third panel, entitled “The Challenge of Communicating the Eastern Partnership “post-Crimea”” focused on one of the biggest challenges that the EU, the member states, and Eastern neighbours are facing: how to explain to EU citizens, and the citizens of the Eastern partners, what the Eastern partnership is, what the EU does, why and how the member states are engaged in the ”Eastern Partnership”, and what closer relations with the EU will mean for the citizens and for European security, stability and prosperity? The panelists discussed how the EU can make itself understood. It brought together experts closely familiar with the challenges of communicating the Eastern Partnership.

The conference was attended by 118 participants (12 speakers, 1 moderator and 105 people in the audience). Participants had very diverse national backgrounds: Sweden, Belgium, Hungary, Moldova, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Romania, Panama, Latvia, Cyprus, Russia, Finland, Japan, Bulgaria, Estonia and Serbia. Among these, 14 EU member states were represented.

The conference was followed by an Expert Roundtable on New Strategic Communication Challenges in Europe: How do we identify, understand and address disinformation? Against the background of growing concerns in Europe about the effects of Russian propaganda in the Eastern neighbourhood and even the EU, the roundtable discussion focused on the challenge of how to respond to disinformation and the abuses of the open information spaces. Participants explored ways and means of identifying and addressing disinformation that is spread by different actors through traditional and new “social” media channels and platforms. Both the conference and the roundtable discussion were moderated by Anke Schmidt-Felzmann, Researcher in UI’s Europe programme.

The full conference programme can be downloaded here. The report of the conference can be found here.

More information about the event can be found on UI’s website.

You can find below the podcasts of the panels:

Panel 1 

Panel 2

Panel 3

ENURC event: “The Economic influence of the EU and Russia on the Eastern Partnership States”, 22 October 2015

LIIA

The third event organised within the framework of the ENURC project is an event in Riga, Latvia on the economic influence of both the EU and Russia on the Eastern Partnership states. The event combined an expert meeting on 21 October 2015 and a public discussion with a wide audience on 22 October 2015. This combination ensured a very high level of expertise and state of the art among the speakers, which was of great interest to the general audience attending the public sessiliia1on.

 The expert meeting was an exchange of views on evaluating the economic presence of Russia and the EU in the Eastern Neighbourhood. The meeting had as aim to develop a concept for a book on Eastern Partnership focusing on the impact of the Deep and Comliia2prehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) or their prospect, in all six Eastern Partnership countries.

The public discussion focused on “Eastern Neighbourhood Economies between the EU and Russia”.
Here experts from the region in question and several EU member states presented and discussed this topic from their diverse (national) standpoints.

The exchanliia3ge of views among experts gathered 11 experts from Latvia, France, Sweden, Belgium and ENP countries Moldova, Armenia and Belarus. The public event gathered over 100 policy makers, diplomats, academics, students, civil society representatives and not-organised citizens. 81 signatures of participants were collected, hence the total number of 81 participants included in the reporting of the project.

There was a majority of the participants coming from Latvia itself, but they had the opportunity to interact with citizens from Italy, Sweden, Finland, Germany, all six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine), Norway, Canada, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Japan.

The full conference programme can be downloaded here.

More information about this event can be found on the LIIA website.

Past events at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) – Autumn 2015

Logo-Latvia

“Security in the Heart of Asia” Central Asia- NATO partnership: Challenges and Opportunities”
23 November 2015

111The discussion on contemporary security challenges in Central- Asia was opened with a keynote speeches by Lolita Čigāne, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament; Latvia and Igors Apokins, Ambassador- at- large; Latvia. The speakers were featured from the EU and Central- Asian states and consisted of Nargis Kassenova (KIMEP University: Kazakhstan), Nazokat Kasymova (Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies/ UN Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Office for Central- Asia; Uzbekistan), Neil John Melvin (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; Sweden), Józef Lang (Centre for Eastern Studies, Poland) and Māris Andžāns (Resarch Fellow in the Latvian Institute of International Affairs), and was moderated by Andris Sprūds (Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs).2222

The topics covered included the stability of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO forces, radicalization of the society and terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking, border management. The event was organised with the support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

More information and pictures can be found here.

ENURC event: “Eastern Neighbourhood Economies between the EU and Russia”
22 October 2015

The public discussion was aimed at providing an expert assessment, and discussing with the society how the EU and Russia affect the economic situation in the Eastern Partnership states and assessing the social and political implications of this influence. The goal was to identify the available legal and strategic tools that could be applied by the2 EU in order to more substantially impact policies of the Eastern Neighbourhood states.

The discussion was set in two panels. One of them focused on the European Union and its aims and influence in the Eastern Neighbourhood, however the other touched upon economic aspirations and external influences from the perspective of the Eastern Neighbourhood states.

Experts from the EU and the Eastern Partnership states were featured:  Andris Sprūds (Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs), Juris Poikāns, Latvian Ambassador-at-Large for Eastern Partnership, David Cadier (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK), Guillaume Van der Loo (Centre for European Policy Studies, Ghent European Law Institute, Belgium), Aldis Austers (LIIA, Latvia), Gunilla Herolf (Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences), Cornel1 Ciurea (Institute for Development and Social Initiatives “Viitorul”, Moldova), Stepan Grigoryan (Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation, Armenia), andAndrei Yeliseyeu (Belarussian Institute for Strategic Studies).

The event was part of the TEPSA project “Eastern Neighbours and Russia: Close links with EU citizens – ENURC and was organised with the support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, and The Black Sea Trust, a project of the GMF.

“Preventing Nuclear War in Northern Europe”
20 October 2015

In the roundtable discussion, organised in a close cooperation with the Institute for National Defence and Security Policy Studies at the Swedish Defence University and the Stimson Center (USA), participants discussed two nuclear war scenarios in the Baltic region and their prevention possibilities. The discussion also focused on the option to establish a Baltic Nuclear Weapons Free zone and its realistic viability.

The event featured experts from the United States, Latvia and the Northern Europe: Lars Hedström (Executive Director, Institute for National Defence and Security Policy Studies), Ulrika Kumlien (Research Assistant, Institute for National Defence and Security Policy Studies), Barry Blechman (Co-founder, Stimson Center), Ira Lechner (Founder, Project High Hopes), Jānis Kažociņš (State Secretary’s Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia), Veiko Spolītis (Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia and others).

The roundtable was moderated by Andris Sprūds (Director of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs).

ENURC project seminar: “From a ‘Strategic Partnership’ to a Strategic Problem? Whither EU-Russian Relations”, 4 December 2015

FIIA

FIIA1The re-assessment of the overall EU-Russia relationship was the subject of the debate in the final conference of the ENURC project, held in Helsinki on 4 December 2015. The conference started with an opening statement of Prof. Wolfgang Wessels, the Chairperson of TEPSA, who also presented the findings of the pan-European study on citizens’ perceptions on Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia. Dr. Teija Tiilikanen, director of FIIA, opened the conference, underlining the importance of exchanging views within the EU on its relations with its Eastern partners.

The three panels of the conference covered EU-Russia security relations; economic relations and energy relations. In his conclusion on the results of the event, Dr Arkady Moshes stated that, the EU-Russian strategic partnership does not exist anymore, even though this may not be officially acknowledged. The EU-Russian conflict has become the new normal.

In addition to the seminar, the final conference included a dinner debate on 3 December for the speakers hosted by the Director of FIIA. This pre-conference event also aimed to provide an opportunity for the speakers to exchange ideas related to their conference presentation, and it proved to be extremely fruitful for the planning and coordination of the public interventions in the conference.

FIIA2The event attracted 114 participants. Around half of the participants came from Finland (65), but also nationals from 30 other countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, Russia, Morocco, Serbia, Ukraine, South Africa, Egypt, New-Zealand, Indonesia, Palestine, Malaysia, United States, China, Mexico and Belarus. Counting only EU member states, 17 countries were participating to the event.

The full conference programme can be downloaded here.

You can find the report and the podcasts of the conference on the FIIA website.

Eastern Neighbours and Russia: Close links with EU citizens (ENURC)

The ENURC project focused on developing EU citizens’ understanding of the topic of the Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia. The project aimed at encouraging citizens’ interest and involvement in this policy which has an impact on their daily lives. Following the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the growing tensions between the EU and Russia, security of the EU citizens and peace at the edge of the EU is becoming ever more relevant. The EU’s response to Russia showcases the diversity of interests among the EU member states since some member states are dependent on Russia for their energy supply and fear security implications of a more assertive Russia.

This project offered five main activities in five different member states for whose citizens the relation with Eastern Neighbours and Russia is key –  Romania, Germany, Latvia, Sweden and Finland. TEPSA’ s partners in this project were the Romanian Centre for European Policies (CRPE), Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP), Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA), The Swedish Institute of International Affairs  (UI) and The Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA). The activities attracted an audience of in total 791 participants coming from the following EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany,  Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The activities approached the topic from different angles: economics, geopolitics, development and enlargement, in order to illustrate the diversity of interests and perceptions on this topic. Besides the five project activities, the project also entailed an EU wide study on the public perceptions on EU’s Eastern Neighbours and Russia. The questionnaire focused on the following four questions related to the Eastern Neighbours and Russia: 1) What are dominant views in your country on future relations with Russia? 2) How do the events in Ukraine affect the views in your country on EU relations with Eastern Partnership countries? 3) How was the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga on 21-22 May 2015 assessed in your country? 4) Does the EU need its own army in order to face up to Russia and other threats according to assessments in your country?