DATE12 May 2015
VENUERésidence Palace, Polak room

The Prospects of the European Union and the Central and Eastern European Region
in Light of the Challenges of the 21st century

Concept of the conference

The Antall József Knowledge Centre in cooperation with the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies launched the 3rd event of the Variations on Europe conference series with the aim to discuss those policy areas where the EU could pioneer in the future, and where improvements are in its best interest: foreign and security policy, energy policy, as well as sustainable development. The main purpose of the conference is to provide experts and policy-makers from European think tanks, international organisations and European institutions with the opportunity to analyse the effectiveness of current regulations, discuss the best strategies for the future, and present a European, a global and an East-Central European perspective on the above mentioned areas.

Panel I. Protecting European Fundamentals – The Limitations and Possibilities of the Common Foreign and Security Policy

The Common Foreign and Security Policy has undergone an institutional and legal reform since the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. Its main objective was to enhance the power of the EU through more unified actions taken internationally. Although the Lisbon Treaty established the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the decision-making process left the principle of unanimity untouched. Not only do the differing national interests of the Member States complicate the formation of a common position, but they also hinder the application of the Union’s foreign and security policy tools, especially when continuous enlargement is taken into account. These common tools would ensure the protection and enforcement of human dignity, freedom, democracy, rule of law, and human rights in the EU’s broader region, which is now partly formalised in the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Nevertheless, the recent growth of the armed conflicts in our region and the growing danger of terrorism within Europe questions the role and responsibility of the European Union in standing up for the protection of these values, as well as casts doubts on the realisation of the foreign and security policy objectives of the EU. The European Union is hardly regarded as a strong and effective global actor by the international public. The leverage of the EU is evaporating in a global context, where the national aspirations of China, India, or Russia would require a unified, independent, and reliable Europe to maintain its power and legitimacy in the eyes of its partners.

As such, the experts of this panel will discuss the questions of whether the EU could become a global actor without a transfer of sovereignty on the part of the Member States, as well as whether the EU has a prospect to adopt a common foreign and security policy on the supranational level. Further questions the panel wishes to answer include: can the Member States resolve the conflict of interests rooting from their different views of the common foreign and security policy? Does the European Union have meaningful tools to protect its fundamental values abroad? Does the European Union have the means to counter terrorism within its own boundaries?

Panel II. Sustainable Energy for Europe – The European Energy Union as the key to a Sustainable and Competitive Europe?

Protecting the Earth’s climate and ensuring a long-term supply of energy is an interconnected policy area, which nonetheless tends to produce opposing efforts these days. For a long time, The European Union has been a forerunner in producing legislation promoting sustainable development, the most recent evidence of which is the establishment of the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies. The goal of the framework is to establish a highly energy-efficient and low-carbon emission economy. Meeting the goals of this package might have a substantial effect on not just the economic development of Europe, but also its security policy as well.

This is especially true in the light of the numerous challenges in multiple areas that the EU has had to face in of recent years. The economic difficulties and the slow recovery process after the global financial crisis are not the only factors weakening the economic position of Europe globally but the unfavourable energy prices and the general concern regarding the security of energy supply also have an effect on it. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict provided a new impetus for debates about energy dependency, raised the demand for a more integrated energy market between Member States, and eventually led to the idea of the European Energy Union. Since EU policy stipulates that economic growth and increased competitiveness on a global level can only be achieved if an adequate level of energy supply is ensured for both present and future generations, the panel primarily aims to present the interconnectedness and the contradictions of energy security and sustainable growth, as well as the different interpretations of the EU’s 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.

Therefore, the speakers representing different views will discuss the strategies that could make the internal energy market integration achievable and sustainable, the major challenges Europe is to face during the process, as well as the question of whether the establishment of an energy union is a possible goal in a European Union that consists of states with fundamentally different economic and energy market attributes.

Conference Programme

9.00 Registration
10.00 – 10.20

Opening remarks

Katalin BIHARI

Deputy Director of the Antall József Knowledge Centre

Tomi HUHTANEN

Director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

10.20 – 10.45

Keynote speeches

Didier REYNDERS

Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium

Tibor NAVRACSICS

European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

10.45 – 12.15

I. Panel: “Protecting European Fundamentals – The Limitations and Possibilities of the Common Foreign and Security Policy”

Elmar BROK

Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament

Alfredo CONTE

Head of the Strategic Planning Division, European External Service

Jamie SHEA

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges for the NATO

Károly GRÚBER

Ambassador, General Director for CFSP, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Chair:

Róbert ONDREJCSÁK

Director of the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs

12.15 – 13.30 Lunch
13.30 – 15.30

II. Panel – “Sustainable Energy for Europe – The European Energy Union as the Key to a Sustainable and Competitive Europe?”

Janez POTOČNIK

Co-chair of the International Resource Panel, UNEP

Joachim BALKE

Member of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy

Bedřich MOLDAN

Deputy Director of Environment Centre at Charles University

David BUCHAN

Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Chair:

András BÁCSI-NAGY

Head of International Public Affairs, MOL Group

15.30 – 15.45 Closing Remark

Speakers

András Bácsi-Nagy — Head of International Public Affairs, MOL Group

Head of International Public Affairs at MOL Group Hungary since 2013. Mr Bácsi-Nagy served as Press and Information Counsellor (2002–2006), Head of Political Section (2008–2010) as well as Deputy Chief of Mission (2010–2013) at the Embassy of Hungary in Washington D.C. Prior to his delegacy to Washington D.C., Mr Bácsi-Nagy was Director at the Office of the Deputy State Secretary for Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary. In 2006 and in 2012 Mr Bácsi-Nagy was awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for Outstanding Achievement.

Joachim Balke — Member of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy

Member of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy. Before joining the European Commission in 2008 as an energy specialist (2008–2011 DG TAXUD Desk Officer energy taxation, 2011–2014 DG ENER Renewable energy unit), he worked for the German energy giant E.ON. Previously he was a Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament from 2001 to 2004 of the Vice-President of ITRE Committee.

Katalin Bihari — Deputy Director of the Antall József Knowledge Centre

Deputy Director of the Antall József Knowledge Centre. She served as Senior Counsellor, Diplomat at the Department of North America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2013–2015) and at the Department of Commercial Policy and World Economy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010–2013). Between 2004 and 2010 Mrs Bihari was Counsellor at the Department of Commercial Policy at the Ministry of National Economy, as well as at the Department of Multilateral Commercial Policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002–2004).

Elmar Brok — Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament

Member of the European Parliament for the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU). He has been in office since 1980 and is currently serving as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs. Mr Brok is also Member of the Conference of Committee Chairs and the Delegation for relations with India. During the intergovernmental conferences on the Lisbon Treaty as well as for the Treaty of Amsterdam, the Treaty of Nice and the EU Constitution, he was the European Parliament's Representative. He is Co-Chair of the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue and Chairman of the board of the European Endowment for Democracy (EDD).

David Buchan — Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

David Buchan has been a senior research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies since 2007, where he specialises in EU energy policy. Before that he had a long career in journalism with the Economist and Financial Times that included a postings in Washington DC, positions at the FT as chief of the Brussels and Paris bureau, as well London-based positions as energy editor, defence correspondent, diplomatic editor and editorial writer. In addition to three general books on the EU, he has written “Energy and Climate Change: Europe at the Crossroads” (2009,OUP) and the Rough Guide to the Energy Crisis (2010,Penguin) and is currently co-authoring a book on the EU’s energy union plans.

Alfredo Conte — Head of the Strategic Planning Division, European External Action Service

Head of Strategic Planning Division of the European External Service. He entered the Diplomatic Service at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and has been working as a diplomat ever since. Between 1996 and 2001 Mr Conte was Consul at the Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong. From 2001 to 2004 he served as First Secretary, then Counselor, at the Embassy of Italy in Berlin. Between 2004 and 2008 he went back to Italy and worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of the Minister. Here he worked for successive Foreign Ministers (Franco Frattini, Gianfranco Fini, Massimo D’Alema). Before transferring to the European External Action Service in 2011, he also worked at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, at the Policy Unit as Senior Advisor to the Director between 2008 and 2010.

Károly Grúber — Ambassador, General Director for CFSP, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

He is General Director for CFSP in the Ministry of Foreign Affaires and Trade of Hungary. He was Ambassador to the PSC, Head of the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Office of the Permanent Representation of Hungary between 2010 and 2015. Prior to being elected as PSC Representative, Mr Grúber served as Head of Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Department of Strategic Planning and Information) and he was Senior Adviser at the first European Department from 2006 to 2009. He also served as a Counsellor for Foreign and EU policy coordination at the Embassy of Hungary in London (2002–2006) and at the Secretary of State for the European Integration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2001–2002). He was Teaching and Research Assistant at Sussex European Institute and Researcher at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Tomi Huhtanen — Director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

Tomi Huhtanen started his carrier by working for the Finnish delegation of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament. From 1999 to 2007, he was a Political Adviser and subsequently a Senior Adviser for the EPP, mainly focusing on economic and social policy. During this period, he launched the European View policy journal, of which he became Editor-in-Chief. In 2007, Mr Huhtanen was put in charge of launching the political foundation of the European People’s Party, the Centre for European Studies (renamed the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in 2014); in the same year, he was nominated as the Centre's Director, a post he continues to hold today. Mr Huhtanen speaks Finnish, Swedish, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek and has basic knowledge of German.

Bedřich Moldan — Deputy Director of Environment Centre at Charles University

Professor at the Charles University in Prague. He founded the Environment Center and was its Director from 1991 to 2014. He is also a Member of several scientific and public policy bodies. His experience includes research on indicators of sustainable development (published two monographs commissioned by SCOPE) and various aspects of science-policy interface. He started his public life as the first Minister of Environment of the Czech Republic in 1990. He served as the Senator of the Parliament of the Czech Republic (2004–2010). From 2003 he has been a Member of the Governmental Council for Sustainable Development and Chair of its Committee for Strategies. He held various international positions including Chairman of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (2001) and Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency (2000–2006).

Tibor Navracsics — European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

Tibor Navracsics is European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. He also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary in 2014. He was Member of the Parliament from 2010 to 2014. In 2014 he was Minister of Public Administration and Justice. Prior to being elected as Member of the Parliament he was Head of Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (2006–2010). Mr Navrasics was Senior lecturer and Associate professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences ELTE. He holds a law degree and a doctoral degree in Political Science.

Róbert Ondrejcsák — Director of the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs

Director of the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs. In 2010–2012 Dr. Ondrejcsák was State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic, where he led the process of Strategic Defence Review and preparation of the White Book on Defence. In 2007–2010 he was the Director of the Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA) and lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations at Matej Bel University. Previously Dr. Ondrejcsák was the Director of the Institute for Security and Defence Studies (research centre of the Slovak Ministry of Defence), he also served as a Counsellor and Deputy Chief of the Mission of the Slovak Embassy to Hungary, as well as Foreign and Security Policy advisor to Vice-Chairman of the Slovak Parliament, advisor of the NATO Department at the Slovak Ministry of Defence and analyst of the Slovak Centre for Strategic Studies.

Janez Potočnik — Co-chair of the International Resource Panel, UNEP

Co-chair of the International Resource Panel at UNEP. Mr Potočnik was European Commissioner for Environment between 2009 and 2014. Formerly, he was Slovenia’s Minister for European Affairs. Mr Potočnik was appointed Head of the Negotiating Team for Accession of Slovenia to the EU between 1998 and 2004. He joined the European Commission in 2004 and was responsible for science and research. After his second term ended as a Commissioner, in November 2014, he was appointed for a three-year term as a member and Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by United Nations Environment Programme. In the same month, he was also appointed as Chairman of The Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council. Mr Potočnik holds a Ph.D. in economics, he was a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Economic Research in Ljubljana and served as Director at the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development in Ljubljana.

Didier Reynders — Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of Belgium

Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, in charge of Beliris and Federal Cultural Institutions since 11 October 2014. Mr Reynders previously served as Minister of Finance (1999–2011) as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs (2011–2014) of Belgium. He was Chairman of the Eurogroup (January–December 2001) and President of the Ecofin (July–December 2001/ July–December 2010). Mr Reynders is Chairman of the Brussels MR Federation since 12 January 2013. Amongst others, Mr Reynders also is a lecturer at the Hautes Écoles Commerciales of Liege, staff member of the Public Law Department of the University of Liege and guest lecturer at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL).

Jamie Shea — Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges for the NATO

He is NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges since October 2011. He has been working at NATO since 1980, where his previous positions include Deputy Assistant Secretary General for External Relations, Public Diplomacy Division; Director of Information and Press; as well as Assistant to the Secretary General of NATO for Special Projects. Mr Shea also holds academic positions, amongst others as professor at the College of Europe, as visiting lecturer at the University of Sussex, associate professor of International Relations at the American University, Washington DC, where he is also Director of the Brussels Overseas Study Programme, and lectures at the Brussels School of International Studies at the University of Kent.

Practical Information

Résidence Palace, Polak room

Rue de la Loi 155 C

1040 Brussels

Belgium


Although the building itself is easily accessible, please note that the surrounding area of Résidence Palace is under construction.

The attendance of the event is free but you are required to submit a registration, which you can conveniently do in the form below.

Deadline of online registration: 10 May 2015.

Registration at the venue will open at 9.00 on 12 May 2015.

Registration will be located in the patio or inner court of the Résidence Palace.

Language of the conference is English.

The Brussels Transport Authority (STIB/MIVB) is the main public transport operator in Brussels. Its trams, buses and underground trains form a single network and you can easily transfer from one mode to another using the same ticket.

Bus
Buses 12 and 21 run from Brussels International Airport to Schuman
Bus 22 runs from the city centre to Schuman
Bus 79 runs from Crainhem to the Schuman

Underground
Lines 1 and 5 to Schuman (3-minute walk to Résidence Palace)

Registration

Please complete your registration using the form below. Should you have any problems filling out the form, you can also send your registration to the following e-mail address: gelencser.agnes@ajtk.hu