Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), Poland
Center for Euroatlantic Integration and Democracy (CEID), Hungary
Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia
The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.
The election of Emmanuel Macron to the French presidency has created renewed expectations about the vitality of decision-making at the EU level, especially with the promise of a reinforced Franco-German engine that would assume the leadership of certain key policy areas. In this context, and given also the effects of the looming BREXIT on power dynamics and coalition-building within the EU, the V4 needs to find the ways to recalibrate its relationship with France in order to properly defend its interests. The potential of a multi-speed, or two speed Europe, on economic, social, or security issues, fundamentally changes the way the V4 functions and will be a challenge to its unity and interests. There is therefore a demonstrated need to address these challenges in a prospective manner.
The project intends to highlights policy issues on which cooperation between France and the V4 could be mutually beneficial, and build support at the civil society and most especially at the official level for these issues. It will also help to inform the agenda of the two upcoming V4 presidencies that span the duration of the project. The new political reality in France with new actors and a reinforced desire to ensure the future of European integration, coupled with the ongoing effects of the BREXIT process, makes addressing this topic not only important but also urgent. Think tanks have the ability to identify long-term trends that will serve common interests the best, and directly feed into the policy discussions of the region, thanks to focused recommendations on specific issues.
The objective of the project will be to support policy-makers in charting a course for the engagement of V4 countries with the new French government, especially concerning EU policies where common priorities can be found. These priorities are mainly the development of CSDP, the digital agenda, energy security, justice and home affairs, and social Europe. The project will also look at other issues where positions may be opposed, such as migration, in order to create a mapping of the future of relations.
The project will consist in five days of meetings spanning over the course of February 2018 to March 2019: one exploratory meeting and four workshops. Each of the four workshops, which will last a half-day, will be accompanied by a public event (tentatively held the same day) in order to make the findings of the project’s work widely available.
The deliverables are planned as follows:
Phase 1: Budapest, February 12–13, 2018
a. Exploratory meeting
This exploratory (private) meeting will allow for project coordinators from partner institutions and select officials, working on the V4 and in the EU departments, from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs or relevant offices (EU State secretaries for example) to provide the first crucial step of the project: deciding specifically which sets of issues to focus on for the research, mapping country and sectorial interests in each country. The aims and methods of the working group will also be explored and decided upon in order to set a proper working method for the duration of the project, especially the methodology and deadlines for the papers and policy report.
b. Public event
A public event will follow the exploratory meeting, with the aim to flesh out what priorities a larger audience identifies as being key for the V4-France relationship.
Phase 2: Prague, 19-21 June 2018 (Prague European Summit – main event and sidelines)
a. Workshop and presentation/discussion of the first four policy papers (theme TBD)
The first workshop will serve for the presentation of and feedback on the first delivered policy papers. Experts, officials, will be able to provide critical feedback on the issues addressed in the research. It will be held on the sidelines of the Prague European Summit as a side event, bringing together wider perspectives from a group of European experts. This wide group of experts from various European countries will provide valuable feedback from an external perspective.
b. Public event
The organizers of the Prague European Summit (EUROPEUM) will arrange for a public presentation of the project and its deliverables, as either a plenary panel, night-owl/breakout session, and/or a city talk.
Phase 3: Warsaw, September/October 2018 (date TBD)
a. Workshop and presentation/discussion of the second series of four policy papers (theme TBD)
The second workshop will be based on the model of the first, and will introduce the second theme of the publications. Experts and officials will be able to provide critical feedback on the issues addressed in the research.
b. Public event
The public event will be an opportunity for authors to share key insights with a larger audience and to share larger perspectives about the future of the V4-France relationship.
Phase 4: Bratislava, December 2018 (date TBD)
a. Workshop and presentation/discussion of the third series of four policy papers (theme TBD)
The third workshop will serve to engage with the Slovak Presidency of the V4 in order to gain insights as the final report is being drafted.
b. Public event
A public event engaging the same officials will also serve as an opportunity for the presidency to present priorities to a larger audience.
Phase 5: Paris, March/April 2019 (date TBD)
a. Workshop and presentation/discussion of the fourth and final series of four policy papers (theme: national perspectives)
The final workshop will be organized in cooperation with a partner institute in Paris, alongside the French MFA, and will compose of a private roundtable with officials in order to present the findings to a diverse number of French officials.
b. Public event and presentation of the final report
The public event will bring the conclusions of the group's work to a large audience, with the goal to provide a better understanding of the priorities and interests of the V4, and of the way cooperation between France and the V4 can be fostered in the future. The final report will include the last four policy papers based on national themes, revised versions of the previous policy papers, accompanied by a set of recommendations on how to chart the future of the relationship between V4 and France, identifying issues of mutual interest and possible tension points.
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