TEPSA EU-CONSENT Pre-Presidency Conference on the occasion of the launching of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union, 28-29 May 2009, Stockholm

The Swedish TEPSA EU-CONSENT Pre-Presidency Conference took place on 28 and 29 May 2009 at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) in Stockholm. The conference was organised by TEPSA’s Swedish Member Institute, the SIIA, and the Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies (SIEPS) and the Stockholm Forum for Security Studies (SFSS).

Entitled “Swedish Presidency 2009: Finding Solidarity in the Face of Crises” the conference brought together senior scholars and high-level practitioners from across Europe to discuss the key topics of the Swedish Presidency of the EU. It examined the prospects for improving European solidarity in the face of existing and emerging challenges.

The conference started on 28 May 2009 with introductory speeches by Jean Victor Louis, Acting Secretary General of TEPSA, Tomas Ries, Director of the SIIA and Anna Stellinger, Director of SIEPS. In the following key note speeches Cecilia Malmström, Swedish Minister for EU Affairs and Margot Wallström, Vice President of the European Commission, shared their reflections on the upcoming Swedish Presidency. They stressed the Swedish Presidency’s plans to overcome the economic downturn in Europe, to succeed in the negotiations on a Post-Kyoto climate agreement in Copenhagen and to manage the EU’s institutional challenges. Finally, as a long tradition in offering recommendations to future Presidencies, Petr Kratochvil from the Institute of International Relations, Prague, presented recommendations from TEPSA members to the Swedish EU Presidency.

In the afternoon 6 parallel workshops discussed the following subjects:

• ESDP at 10 Years: the EU and International Security

• The EU’s Neighbourhood and Eastern Partnership

• Climate Change and the Environment

• A New Era in Transatlantic Relations?

• The Baltic Sea Strategy: A Test Case for Solidarity

• Societal Security and the Stockholm Programme

The first conference day ended with a reception at the SIIA and a dinner at which Hanna Ojanen, Programme Director of the Finish Institute of International Affairs and TEPSA Board member, awarded the TEPSA Training Programme participants their certificates for successfully completing a training course on providing policy advice to policy makers, improving communication skills, and EU funding and project management.

The second day of the conference on 29 May 2009 started with two plenary panels. On the first panel entitled “EU Institutions in Flux: Elections, Appointments, and Lisbon”, chaired by Graham Avery, Honorary Director General, European Commission, academics from TEPSA’s member institutes (Jean Victor Louis, TEPSA, Jaap de Zwaan, Netherlands Institute for International Relations, Clingendael, Mark Rhinard, SIIA) and Neill Nugent, Manchester Metropolitan University discussed their views on current EU institutional issues with Hervé Jouanjean, Deputy Secretary General, European Commission. On the following panel on “Economic Crisis and European Solidarity”, chaired by Anna Michalski, SIEPS, Bo Lundgren, Director General of Swedish National Debt Office, discussed the economic crisis with Lars Heikensten, Swedish Member of European Court of Auditors, Iain Begg, London School of Economics and Krisztina Vida, Institute of World Economics, Budapest.

During the lunch break the TEPSA Training participants posted the key points of discussion from their role as rapporteur during the parallel workshops of the first day. In the Presidency Panel entitled “Managing the EU Presidency: Finding Success and Avoiding Failure” chaired by Rolf Gustavsson, Brussels Correspondent, Svenska Dagbladet Newspaper, the speakers Gilles Briatta, Advisor of EU Affairs to Prime Minister Fillon and Secretary-General of European Affairs, France and Milena Vicenová, Permanent Representative to the EU in Brussels, Czech Republic shared their Presidency experiences and advices with Gustaf Lind, State Secretary, Prime Minister´s Office, Sweden and Enrique Viguera Rubio, Ambassador and former Director-General for EU Coordination at the Foreign Ministry, Spain.

The conference ended with closing remarks from Wolfgang Wessels, TEPSA/University of Cologne, who emphasized the importance of scientists and research to give policy advice, the need for European leadership and the role Presidencies can play in the management of EU power struggles. Worried about the lack of politicization of the European elections he furthermore stressed the need for a framework in case the Lisbon Treaty fails.

After the Pre-Presidency Conference TEPSA’s General Assembly gathered representatives of TEPSA member institutes to discuss internal matters.