PANEL A: The Future of the Eurozone
One of the crucial issues of further development of the EU is the future form of the Eurozone. These states which use the Euro should expect significant changes. In May 2017, the European Commission presented a new discussion document in order to outline its proposals for deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union. The EC’s aim was to open a debate on the topic of the future form of an economic cooperation and possibilities of strengthening the Eurozone. So what should we expect in the near future? One option seems to be a common regulation of financial markets and harmonization of budgets of all member countries. However, the success of this solution depends on the willingness of all Union´s members to deepen European integration. Otherwise, the option is to create a smaller, fiscally disciplined eurozone from the heart of the most bold countries. This “reduced Eurozone” concept would be therefore only applied to states wishing to further deepening of the political integration. This would probably lead the Union towards a smaller but clearly defined European federation.
Although the Czech economy has been doing very well lately, the Czech Republic still hesitates with its accession to the Monetary Union. In recent years, the long-term foreign exchange intervention of the Czech National Bank (CNB), which prevented the Czech Republic from participating in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and consequently fulfill the last convergence criteria, was the reason for not adopting the Euro. However, this artificial weakening of the Czech crown was completed in April 2017. The adoption of the common European currency is now a purely political decision.
What are the criteria on which the Eurozone will evolve? Do Germany and France have a key word in this decision, or will the wishes and needs of lesser-performing economies be taken into account? What is the content of the new discussion paper on the topic of deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union? Does it propose some specific plans and measures? Would it be a beneficial step for the Czech Republic to join the Eurozone?
PANEL B: Institutional Challenges for the European Union
The European Union is currently facing significant new phenomena. For the first time, one of the Member States has decided to leave the Union. For the first time, there is serious debate about the suspension of the rights of one of the Member States. For the first time, under the weight of immigration waves, the very basic structures of European cooperation shuddered. As a result, for the first time, the EU’s confidence in some Member States is declining and the importance of regional platforms (V4, Benelux, Three Seas Initiative) is growing.
How will the role of subregional platforms be developed within the EU? Can their significance in the future exceed the EU, whether the importance of these clusters will gradually decline? What role should the EU play in the domestic politics of the Member States? Should it seek to respect the values described in the Treaty of Lisbon, even at the cost that these steps can be perceived as interfering with the internal sovereignty of the state? And if so, what should these steps be? Who should deal with this, the European Commission or directly elected representatives of the Member States?
PANEL C: Security of EU countries and hybrid threats
The Center against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic defines hybrid threats as a phenomenon resulting from the convergence and interconnection of the various elements that together form a more complex and multidimensional threat.
Thus, the specific form of threats includes not only imaginary tanks but also non-military means such as diplomatic, information, economic, intelligence and threats to finance. An important aspect is also the destabilization of public order and the undermining of trust in the rule of law and democratic institutions. These issues are very complex, and European countries are not united in the further course of hybrid threats. The common approach complicates the specific interests of individual states.
What tools does Europe have to prevent these threats? Should there be a common European security policy and what should it look like? What is the security strategy of the countries along the eastern border of the EU and can serve as an inspiration for Europe?