6 - 8 JUNE 2016

Prague European Summit

EU in a Time of Crisis: Better Together?



Opening Plenary Session / Petr Kratochvíl, , Martin Michelot, Lubomír Zaorálek, Kristalina Georgieva, Péter Balázs, Max Hofmann

Words of welcome:

Radko Hokovský, Executive Director, European Values Think-Tank

Petr Kratochvíl, Director, Institute of International Relations Prague

Martin Michelot, Head of Research, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy

Key-Note Address: Why Is It Better to Be Together?

Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic 

Kristalina Georgieva, European Commission Vice-President for Budget and Human Resources

Follow-up discussion: 

Péter Balázs, Professor, Central European University, former EU Commissioner & Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary

Moderator: Max Hofmann, European Correspondent, Brussels Bureau Chief, Deutsche Welle 

Profiles: Petr Kratochvíl, , Martin Michelot, Lubomír Zaorálek, Kristalina Georgieva, Péter Balázs, Max Hofmann

City Talk: The Future of the Schengen Cooperation / Martin Michelot, Vassilis Ntousas

Vassilis Ntousas, International Relations Policy Advisor, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels
Kryzstof Bolesta, Director of Research, Polityka Insight, Warsaw

Moderator Martin Michelot, Head of Research, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Prague

Profiles: Martin Michelot, Vassilis Ntousas

Breakout Session A: The Future of the Schengen Cooperation / Christian Bluth, Beata Jaczewska, Kea-Sophie Stieber

"Is Schengen dead?" may well represent one of the most important questions of 2016. The unraveling of the refugee crisis, which highlighted the unpreparedness of our external border protection system and the lack of workable emergency solutions for our internal borders, forces European leaders to consider new options about Schengen cooperation, especially as fences are erected at some member states' borders. Since Schengen underpins what are Europe's main strengths, the free circulation of goods and people, there is a clear need to find a workable future in order to preserve the fundamentals of what creates prosperity, but also of what holds Europe together. Will Europe accept reverting back to the old system once the numerous exceptions have reached their expiration? Will Europe create a system based on short-term considerations due to the ongoing refugee crisis, or take its time to build a system that offers workable contingencies? What are the economic repercussions of any new plans for border protection?

Opening speaker: Christian Bluth, Project Manager, Bertelsmann Stiftung
Discussant 1: Kea-Sophie Stieber, Foundation's Head of the European Union desk, Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung
Discussant 2: -
Moderator: Beata Jaczewska, Executive Director, International Visegrad Fund

Profiles: Christian Bluth, Beata Jaczewska, Kea-Sophie Stieber

Breakout Session B: Fragmentation vs. Enhanced Cooperation / Steven Blockmans, Agata Gostynska - Jakubowska, Eric Maurice, Ana Palacio

Multi-speed Europe, where respective Member States of the EU are integrating at a different pace has been a commonplace since the Maastricht Treaty. With debates about Brexit, Grexit and persisting ambiguity about the future of the Eurozone as well as the Schengen Area talks about fragmentation of the European Union are more intense than ever before. On the other hand, proposal for further integration in specific policy fields and initiatives for an enhanced cooperation are also coming up. Some are saying that an “ever closer union” is de facto dead, yet others are still promoting the original federalist ideal. Is fragmentation a negative phenomenon per se for the future of the EU? Can we find a narrative which would allow continuation of differentiated integration, yet kept the EU together? Or has the Rubicon been already crossed concerning disintegration of the Union?

Opening speaker: Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain
Discussant 1: Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska, Research Fellow, Centre for European Reform
Discussant 2: Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow & Head of EU Foreign Policy, Centre for European Policy Studies
Moderator: Eric Maurice, Editor-in-Chief, EUobserver

Profiles: Steven Blockmans, Agata Gostynska - Jakubowska, Eric Maurice, Ana Palacio

Breakout Session C: Euroscepticism vs. Trust Building / Vít Beneš, Thanos Dokos, Hans Kundnani, Christian Lequesne

The European Union is in trouble: the so-called permissive consensus has long run out, and at the same time the EU elites as well as EU member states in intergovernmental formats continue to make decisions that affect the lives of its citizens without a clear possibility for the people to affect these decisions. While Euroscepticism is on rise, it is still a very fuzzy concept, encompassing different types of opposition to the EU. Euroscepticism can be roughly divided into three categories depending on whether it targets EU policies, EU politics or the EU as a polity. The first type is policy-oriented Euroscepticism, which disagrees with EU policies (such as the fiscal austerity or the TTIP). The second type of Euroscepticism can be labelled as anti-establishment Euroscepticism, as it contests mainstream politics and takes aim at the European political class. The last type of scepticism – anti-systemic Euroscepticism – rallies around phrases such as "national sovereignty" and "federalist superstate" while advocating radical solutions such as a state's exit from the EU or the dismantling of the European project as a whole. How serious a threat do different forms of Euroscepticism pose to the EU? How should we accommodate the legitimate policy-oriented opposition, and how should we cope with the anti-systemic Euroscepticism?

Opening speaker: Christian Lequesne, Professor, Sciences Po, Paris & Chief Editor, European Review of International Studies
Discussant 1: Thanos Dokos, Director-General, Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy
Discussant 2: Hans Kundnani, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Moderator: Vladimir Bilčík, Research Fellow, Slovak Foreign Policy Association

Profiles: Vít Beneš, Thanos Dokos, Hans Kundnani, Christian Lequesne

Night Owl Session A: The U.S. Presidential Elections 2016 and Their Impact on Transatlantic Relations / Michal Baranowski, Jeffrey Gedmin, Vassilis Ntousas, Dalibor Roháč

Every four years, Europe asks itself what role it will play in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, and the answer rarely fails to disappoint: there is either too little Europe (what about us?) or too much of it (especially coming from Donald Trump). After eight years of an Obama presidency that would have largely overlooked Europe - for good reasons - had the crisis in Ukraine not unraveled, the prospect of transatlantic relations is shaken up by Donald Trump's run and his questioning of the fundamentals of our relationship. His criticism of NATO freeloading, which woke up resentment that was simmering at the surface in Congress, and avowed disdain for free trade agreements represent strategic differences that may be hard to mend. Therefore, will a Europe that is turning increasingly populist, much like the U.S., favor a Hillary Clinton victory? Would she represent a more predictable road for Europe? Or does Europe need a wake-up call about its own ability to act on economic and strategic matters? And what can Europe learn from the populist wave that has taken over the U.S. during its primary campaigns?

Michal Baranowski, Director, German Marshall Fund of the United States, Warsaw
Dalibor Roháč, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
Jeffrey Gedmin, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Future Europe Initiative, Atlantic Council
Moderator: Vassilis Ntousas, International Relations Policy Advisor, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels

Profiles: Michal Baranowski, Jeffrey Gedmin, Vassilis Ntousas, Dalibor Roháč

Night Owl Session B: The Political Contagion of Brexit / , Emma Hogan, Vivien Pertusot

A referendum on whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union is being held on Thursday, 23 June. No matter how the in-or-out vote ends up, the whole Brexit debate has made secession from the European Union a realistic option. We can already hear voices calling for a similar referendum in other Member States, old and new alike. Just few days to the ballot, this session will explore how the Brexit debate influenced discourses on EU membership in various Member States and what development we can expect in the case of the leave or remain victory. What strategies are radical Eurosceptic parties likely to adopt and what should be the answer of pro-European mainstream leaders?

Christophe Hillion, Senior Researcher, Swedish Institute for European Studies & Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Vivien Pertusot, Head of Brussels, French Institute of International Relations
Moderator: Emma Hogan, Europe correspondent, The Economist

Profiles: , Emma Hogan, Vivien Pertusot

Night Owl Session C: Russia: A Stumbling Block of the EU’s Future Unity? / Alexander Duleba, Mart Laanemae, Nicu Popescu, Brian Whitmore

The EU´s relations to Russia have long been the single most visible dividing issue in EU external affairs. The Russian-Ukrainian war has changed this in most unexpected ways: First, the EU member states have been capable of uniting in regard to this issue and imposing several waves of sanctions on Russia. Second, the once rather vague perception of the threat coming from Russia has been transformed into a very concrete military, political and even normative challenge to the established European order. If the EU wants to demonstrate its continuing inner cohesion as well as its renewed external vigour, there could hardly be a better litmus test for this than the relations to Russia. Is a long-term cold peace with Russia what awaits the EU in the years to come? Has the neighbourhood become a cordon sanitaire, a neutralized zone of occasional conflict between the EU and Russia? Are there ways through which the EU could contribute to a peaceful solution of the Ukrainian crisis? What is to be expected from the post-2018 Russia with its old/new president?

Alexander Duleba, Director, Slovak Foreign Policy Association
Mart Laanemäe, Undersecretary for Europe & Transatlantic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Nicu Popescu, Senior Analyst, The European Union Institute for Security Studies
Moderator: Brian Whitmore, Senior Russia Analyst, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Profiles: Alexander Duleba, Mart Laanemae, Nicu Popescu, Brian Whitmore

Discussion Breakfast at the German Embassy / Daniel Kaiser, Wolfgang Wessels

Bridging the gap – how to avoid (or overcome) new dividing lines between EU member states.

Venue: Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany (Vlašská 19, Prague 1)

Wolfgang Wessels, Professor & Jean-Monnet-Chair, University of Cologne
Daniel Kaiser, Journalist, Echo Magazine

Profiles: Daniel Kaiser, Wolfgang Wessels

Discussion Breakfast at the Spanish Embassy / Martin Ehl, Ana Palacio, Michael Žantovský

Does the EU Project Have a Future?

Venue: Spanish residence (Pevnostní 6, Prague, 6)

Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain
Michael Žantovský, Director, Václav Havel Library & President, Aspen Institute Prague
Moderator: Martin Ehl, Chief International Editor, Hospodářské noviny (Economic daily)

Profiles: Martin Ehl, Ana Palacio, Michael Žantovský

Business Panel: A More Competitive Europe: How to Enhance the Internal Market? / Kristian Hedberg, , Tania le Moigne, Tomáš Prouza,

The internal market, however imperfect and incomplete today, is essential for enhancing the competitiveness of the European based industries, services and other activities. What are the problems the businesses in the EU are still facing in this field? What measures have to be taken by the EU and national authorities to complete the internal single market, assure a correct and competitiveness friendly regulatory framework in order that goods, services, people and capital can finally more freely within the EU to the benefit of EU citizens and businesses. Is there a role the V4 countries and their representatives should/could play in this field?

Tomáš Prouza, State Secretary for European Affairs & Digital Agenda Coordinator, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic
Kristian Hedberg, Deputy Head of the Cabinet of the EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs
Tania le Moigne, Country Director, Google Czech Republic & Slovakia
Peter Stračár, General Director for Central and Eastern Europe, General Electric
Moderator: Ivan Hodač, Vice-President, Aspen Institute Prague

Profiles: Kristian Hedberg, , Tania le Moigne, Tomáš Prouza,

Workshop A - Identity: European Togetherness, Values and Nationalism / Wojciech Przybylski, Dalibor Roháč

A shared political identity – a “national we” (Roger Scruton) or “a sense of moral like-mindedness” (Frank Knight) – is commonly seen as a necessary feature of a democratically governed society. Yet, as shown by the experience of multiethnic and multilingual democracies, and by the emergence of a political nationhood in the United States, such identity is fluid. Not even Europe’s political nations are immutable structures and have been shaped by myriad historical accidents, wars, and political reforms. Does Europe need a common political identity? What are the benefits from joint political decision-making, as opposed to ad hoc cooperation between sovereign nation states? Does a shared political identity exist in Europe? If so, what are its elements? A chicken & egg question: What comes first, joint political institutions (such as the EU) or a shared political identity? The Eurozone and refugee crisis seem to have fostered nationalism and xenophobic populism across Europe. How well has the existing form of European integration served us in building a shared political identity on the European continent? How have individual political leaders? What needs to change in order for the common European decision-making not lead to populist backlashes such as the ones that now threatening to undo the European project altogether?

Moderator: Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-chief Eurozine & chairman Res Publica

Rapporteur: Dalibor Roháč, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute 

Profiles: Wojciech Przybylski, Dalibor Roháč

Workshop B - Security: Can Anyone Face the Current Threats Alone? And Can We Face Them Together? / Steven Blockmans, Elisabeth Braw

Has the EU's response to combatting terrorism been sufficient in the wake of the Paris and Brussels bombings? Should the EU create its own Central Intelligence Agency? What is the difference between the EU's mutual assistance clause of Article 42.7 TEU and NATO's Article 5? Germany is planning towards the creation of a 'European Defence Union'. Is this feasible and, if so, what would be its contours and mandate? Would the V4 countries buy into the plans? Can the EU provide a sense of security to its citizens?

Moderator: Elisabeth Braw, Correspondent, Christian Science Monitor, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Rapporteur: Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow & Head of EU Foreign Policy, Centre for European Policy Studies

Profiles: Steven Blockmans, Elisabeth Braw

Workshop C - Prosperity: How to Translate Economic Growth into Social Cohesion? / Richard Cockett, Ernst Stetter

The freedom of movement and the right to equal treatment within the European Union - what does the British “Emergency Break” and the upcoming Mobility Package mean about it? The interpretations of rights - is the Basic Income idea an emancipatory idea that all citizens would benefit from? The translation of social justice into practice - how to argue and act for triangle of: progressive taxation system, increase of the taxes on the top 1% and fighting tax avoidance? The promise of a prosperous future for all - how does the recent migration and refugee crisis impact the European dream? How to make Youth Guarantee work on the European, national and local levels? The horizon of social standards - how can the EU fight against growing precariousness within the labour market, while pursuing strategies of change towards Digital, Care and Green Economy?

Moderator: Richard Cockett, Business Editor of The Economist
Rapporteur: Ernst Stetter, Secretary-General of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels

Profiles: Richard Cockett, Ernst Stetter

PES Oxford Debate A: Greece Should Stay in the Eurozone / Frances Coppola, Sony Kapoor, Simon Nixon, Dimitri Sotiropoulos, Tim Worstall

While the potential Greek exit from the Eurozone no longer seems to be an acute possibility, we believe it is useful to revive the arguments in the related debate. The debate about a possible Grexit from the euro touched upon the economic, but also the normative and legal foundations of the economic and monetary union. In addition to the Greek case, we would like to discuss a more general set of questions. From the point of view of individual member states, under which conditions would a state's exit from the Eurozone be justifiable? From the point of view of the Eurozone as a whole, what is more threatening, a default within the Eurozone or a(n) (forced) exit from the Eurozone?

Speaker FOR 1: Dimitri Sotiropoulos, Associate professor of political science, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Athens

Speaker FOR 2: Sony Kapoor, Managing Director at Re-Define

Speaker AGAINST 1: Frances Coppola, freelance journalist

Speaker AGAINST 2: Tim Worstall, Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, freelance journalist

Moderator: Simon Nixon, Chief European Commentator, The Wall Street Journal 

Profiles: Frances Coppola, Sony Kapoor, Simon Nixon, Dimitri Sotiropoulos, Tim Worstall

PES Oxford Debate B: EU Member States Should Transfer Their Sovereignty to the European Army / Henry Foy, Martin Michelot, Anton Shekhovtsov

With European security having taken a front seat in discussions due to the pressures of the refugee crisis, the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, and a resurgent Russia, the idea of a European Army has resurfaced and created debates among experts and officials. This proposal, put forward by German Minister of Defense von der Leyen and supported by the President of the European Commission, has been welcomed coldly in European capitals. Historical reluctance to let go of an important component of national sovereignty is at play, while also thinking that such a proposal may constitute a way for Germany to escape taking on a greater national role in European security affairs. There are also concerns that the role of NATO, which remains primordial for countries in Central and Eastern Europe, may be diminished in the process, and the nature of security guarantees changed. However, the necessity of more efficient spending, and of a more united European approach – underpinned by strong regional grouping that already exist – constitute strong enough arguments to consider. If one of the stumbling blocks to the construction of European defense, the United Kingdom, is removed, may we witness a new dynamism to this debate?

Speaker FOR 1: Anton Shekhovtsov, Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, Austria

Speaker FOR 2: J. Peter Burgess, Professor at École Normale Supérieure, Series Editor at Routledge New Security Studies collection (tbc) 

Speaker AGAINST : Martin Michelot, Head of Research, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Prague

Moderator: Henry Foy, Central Europe Correspondent at the Financial Times 

Profiles: Henry Foy, Martin Michelot, Anton Shekhovtsov

PES Oxford Debate C: TTIP is Contrary to EU Interests / Nicholas Hodac, , Marcin Korolec, Eric Maurice, Gabriel Siles-Brugge

This panel will discuss whether the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known as the TTIP agreement between the EU and the US is in the best interest of the EU. Among the benefits of such trade deal is the abolishment of the remaining tariff barriers in the bilateral trade, more importantly, curtail of the non-tariff barriers (unnecessary procedures, certifications requirements, access to the public procurement etc.), thus contributing to the economy growth and jobs creation in the EU, finally forming the world biggest trading block capable to set and further promote common standards in the global economic system. The shortcomings of such trade and investment agreement can be the risk of food quality requirements degradation in the EU resulting from a compromise where American rather loose and European stricter regulations need to converge. Furthermore, the contentious mechanism of the private dispute settlement between investors and state (ISDS) is, according to its opponents, to limit the sovereign power of the state to enforce its regulations by allowing the investors to sue the state easily for harming their interests and eventually hamper the capacity of the state to freely manage its own economy. 

Speaker FOR 1: Gabriel Siles-Brügge, Lecturer in Politics at University of Manchester

Speaker FOR 2: Ralf Michaels, Professor at Duke University School of Law (tbc)

Speaker AGAINST 1: Marcin Korolec, Polish civil servant & lawyer, former Minister of Environment of the Republic of Poland

Speaker AGAINST 2: Nicholas Hodac, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM

Moderator: Ivan Hodač, Vice-President, Aspen Institute Prague 

Profiles: Nicholas Hodac, , Marcin Korolec, Eric Maurice, Gabriel Siles-Brugge

Reception & Annual “Vision for Europe” Award / Petr Kratochvíl, Lubomír Zaorálek

Vision for Europe is the annually bestowed award for distinguished personalities who have, in the course of their lives, devoted substantial energies to the establishment and development of European ideals such as strengthening peaceful cooperation among European nations, developing a fair institutional arrangement of European integration, making European integration more accessible to European publics, and overcoming prejudices and misconceptions related to the integration process. The awarding ceremony is part of the annual Prague European Summit, and it is accompanied by the European Vision speech, which is delivered by the awardee. 

18:30 Official Opening: Lubomír Zaorálek, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic 

Laudatio: Petr Kratochvíl, Director, Institute of International Relations Prague

Profiles: Petr Kratochvíl, Lubomír Zaorálek

City Talk: The Future of Europe: Fragmentation? / Agata Gostynska - Jakubowska, Vivien Pertusot

Agata Gostyńska-Jakubowska, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform

Vivien Pertusot, Head of Brussels for the French Institute of International Relations

Moderator: Jan Kovář, Chief Analyst of the European Values Think-tank, Research Fellow, Institute of International Relations Prague 

Profiles: Agata Gostynska - Jakubowska, Vivien Pertusot

Final Plenary Session: Better Together? / Steven Blockmans, Richard Cockett, Dalibor Roháč, Ernst Stetter

Rapporteur A: Dalibor Roháč, Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Rapporteur B: Steven Blockmans, Senior Research Fellow & Head of EU Foreign Policy, Centre for European Policy Studies

Rapporteur C: Ernst Stetter, Secretary-General of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels

Moderator: Richard Cockett, Business Editor of The Economist 

Profiles: Steven Blockmans, Richard Cockett, Dalibor Roháč, Ernst Stetter

The European Union in a Time of Crisis: Better Together?

Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

Beata Szydło, Prime Minister of Poland

Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary

Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia

Moderator: Matthew Kaminski, Executive Editor of POLITICO's European Edition

Closing Remarks: Organizers 


Speakers List

International Programme Board

The International Programme Board is the key advisory body of the Prague European Summit. It meets on a regular basis, at least once a year. The International Programme Board is comprised of leading international thinkers who care about the future of European integration. The Board is essential in shaping the substantive part of the Prague European Summit, and its tasks include the formulation of programme priorities for the upcoming Summit in June 2021 as well as innovative suggestions regarding the Summit´s structure, its side-events and its output.



About PES:
The Prague European Summit is conceived as a platform for a regular high-level strategic debate on the future of the European Union. Its goal is to look for common answers to the key challenges that Europe is facing in the economic, social, foreign-policy and institutional fields.

As an initiative of the consortium of three prominent Czech think-tanks (the Institute of International Relations, European Values and EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy) carried out under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic, it will offer space for an informal dialogue among political representatives, high-ranking state officials, representatives of interest groups, businessmen, academicians and journalists.

By hosting this regular summit on the future of European integration in Prague, the organizers want to contribute to recasting the image of the Czech Republic as a member country which self-confidently yet constructively joins the strategic discussions on the course of the EU. The ambition of the Prague European Summit is to become analogous to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Munich Security Conference or GLOBSEC in Bratislava, and its main focus is on the strategic issues of European integration – a topic that has not been covered by any existing forum yet.

About conference
The conference is organized in the framework of the Prague European Summit, a new platform for strategic dialogue about common responses to new challenges the European Union needs to deal with in different areas. Following this year pilot conference, the first annual summit shall take place in June 2016.

The topic of the first year reflects the current state of the integration process. On one hand the economic crisis has been overcome, and in reaction to it the economic governance in the Eurozone and in the EU as a whole has been fundamentally transformed. On the other hand in the fields of foreign and security policy the EU faces the fundamental challenge of the destabilization of its neighbourhood, including the aggressive policy of Russia towards Ukraine and the aspirations of the so-called Islamic State in the southern and south-eastern neighbourhood. These changes in the strategic environment call, now much more than any time before, for effective work on the part of the EU institutions, which will, at the same time, need sufficient democratic legitimacy. The aim of this year’s conference is therefore to re-think both the inner institutional setting of the EU and the impact its decision-making mechanisms will have on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU.


European Values

EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy

Institute of International Relations


Over the years, the Prague European Summit has appeared in major Czech and foreign media outlets, such as Politico, EUobserver, Czech Television, Czech News Agency, Hospodářské noviny or iDNES.cz. See the attached PDF.


The logo of the Prague European Summit in the EPS format


Policy papers

By Vít Beneš, Daniela Lenčéš Chalániová, Jakub Eberle



The Prague European Summit was established under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic and the City of Prague.


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