Strategic Streams 2019

Conference Strategic Streams 2019: Elections for the European Parliament and the Future of Europe

The International Conference Strategic Streams 2019 – Elections for the European Parliament and the Future of Europe, organized by the Forum for Strategic Studies (FORST) and chaired by FORST President Dr. Neven Cvetićanin, was held in Belgrade on Friday, June 14, 2019.

The Conference discussed the elections for the European Parliament, which took place from 23 to 26 May 2019, and which were assessed in analytical and diplomatic circles as key and crucial for the future of the European Union. For a long time, some elections for the European Parliament did not attract so much attention, which is a consequence of the fact that they took place in specific geopolitical circumstances marked by conflicts of interest between global geopolitical powers (USA, China, Russia) and various global ideological narratives (liberal vs. populist), which all together reflected on the processes in Europe and the European Union.

The conference was organized a few weeks after the end of the EU elections, when their results were already known, in order to consider the possibilities for various European political groups to form a majority for the election of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and other European institutions. The aim of the Conference was to consider these possibilities, as well as to offer predictions of what possible different post-election scenarios in the formation of European institutions mean for the future of the European Union and Europe as a whole.

The conference was attended by important names in European politics, such as Hannes Svoboda (Austria), former president of the Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats and Democrats in the European Parliament, and Tilman Kuban (Germany), president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) youth section, who is a rising star in German and European politics. The Conference was also attended by the Head of the Serbian Negotiating Team for EU Negotiations (Dr. Tanja Miscevic), representatives of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Dr. Dusko Lopandic, Head of Analytics and Strategic Planing), representatives of the diplomatic corps, guests from the region’s foreign ministries, eminent scientists and analysts from the European Union and region, and distinguished academic researchers of international relations and global strategic trends.

In a series of interesting panels, presentations, analyzes and predictions, the conference tried to find an answer to the question of future trends within the European Union after the elections and future tendencies in relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans, as well as the future of Serbia’s EU accession process.

The conclusions of the conference and the most important parts of the presentation of the conference guests can be very useful to the Republic of Serbia in shaping future public policies in the field of foreign policy, European integration, security and strategic direction of the Republic of Serbia in the coming years.

These conclusions and the most important parts of the guest presentation are given below as an overview of the most important moments of the guest presentation within the three panels of the conference. They express the views of guests and exhibitors useful for further analysis of developments within the EU and relations between the EU and Serbia and not necessarily the views of conference organizers.

The European Union and the Balkans after the European elections

“It is extremely important that the next president of the European Commission and the next EU Commissioner for Enlargement have the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans on their agenda, and we will know whether that will be the case after the election of new European bodies in the second half of the year.”

Prof. Dr. Tanja Mišević, Head of the Negotiating Team for Negotiations on the Accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union

“The space of the political mainstream center in the EU is narrowing, and with it the space for further enlargements as well. It is possible that we have commissioners of different orientations and different ideological orientations in the next European Commission, and it is likely that the next European Commission will be ideologically more heterogeneous than the previous ones, which may have consequences for the continuation of the enlargement process.”

Hannes Swoboda, former Member of the European Parliament and former President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament

“The reality after the elections for the European Parliament is that the populists have achieved success in 4 of the 7 largest European countries. The most current topic regarding enlargement, through which further developments in this regard will be seen, is the opening of negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania. The public in the Balkans should be objectively informed, not only about the advantages of EU membership, but also about the possible disadvantages of that membership. ”

Janja Klasinc, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia

“There is no longer a logic of automatic enlargement in the European Union and the European Union currently has no vision of enlargement. For the European Union, relations with “elephants” such as the new administration in the United States, Russia and China are currently primary.”

Dr. Dusko Lopandic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia

“A few years ago, the world liberal system began to change and a global change of values that are becoming less liberal is underway. The European Union is no longer as attractive to non-member countries as it once was, but it can still be a significant incentive to carry out the necessary reforms and regulate society. ”

Dr. Ognjen Pribičević, Forum for Strategic Studies of the Institute of Social Sciences

The European Union and the Balkans in the years ahead

“The European Union is in a kind of economic competition with the United States and China. EU negotiations with non-member countries are less negotiations, and more a process of accepting EU standards for those countries. The good news is that there is a European Commission macro regional strategy for the Balkans. ”

Johannes Jung, Commissioner for European Integration and the Rule of Law at the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Justice and European Integration

“The European Union is alive and well. It is the most suitable solution for the countries of the Western Balkans. ”

Tine Kračun, director of the Institute for Strategic Solutions in Ljubljana

“There is currently a leadership crisis in the European Union, and we will probably soon have a new generation of EU leaders who will be on the middle ground between liberalism and populism.”

Dr. Neven Cvetićanin, President of the Forum for Strategic Studies

“The biggest problem of the European Union at the moment and in the long run is border control and the problem of migrants”

Slobodan Zečević, Institute for European Studies

“The so-called Spitzen candidate (the official candidate of the largest European political groups) will probably not be the new president of the European Commission. The European Union is increasingly becoming a small economic regional power, which needs a geopolitical vision to cooperate with global players. The European Union needs a geopolitical vision ”

Srdjan Majstorovic, President of the Management Board of the Center for European Policies

Facing the EU with problems; economic inequalities, migrants, leadership crisis, relations with geopolitical superpowers (USA, China, Russia)

“We need a smaller and smarter European Commission, with a maximum of 14-15 members and a portfolio. We need to make Europe bigger in big things and smaller in small. The debate on the next president of the European Commission is actually a debate on the next powerful politician after Angela Merkel in the EU. ”

Tilman Kuban, Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) – President of the CDU Youth Union

“Strengthening the European Union is not only a question of the economy, but also a question of infrastructure, because the West and the East of Europe are poorly connected in terms of infrastructure and traffic. The European Union needs to establish quality relations with geopolitical powers such as the United States, China or Russia, and for that it needs leadership and vision. ”

prof. Dr. Boštjan Udovič, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana

“Democratic deficit is one of the biggest problems of the European Union”

Prof. Dr. Gordana Gasmi, Institute of Comparative Law

“Now we have a balance of great powers in the Balkans that collided there, but in a non-conflicting way. There is no synergy effect between Russia and China in the Balkans, but they often have opposing economic interests there. The question is what our contributions to the European Union can be, not just in a matter of accepting migrants. We have a smiling role to be the guardians of the EU’s borders towards migrants.”

Dr. Milan Igrutinović, Institute for European Studies