EUROPEAN INDUSTRY AND WELFARE
The European Union’s competitive advantage in value-added products and services translates to more than 20% of the EU’s total value-added each year. To strengthen and reinforce such competitiveness, the European Commission aims to ensure coherence between industrial, environmental, climate, and energy policies, to create a sustainable economic environment for growth, job creation, and innovation.
Yet, the European Union’s competitive advantage – along with its resilience –, is currently under threat. With extraordinary economic uncertainty resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the one hand, and the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on the other, prospects of deindustrialization and economic contraction are haunting Europe. Accompanied by pressures to innovate in climate-neutral technologies, the European economy finds itself in a critical momentum: prolonged inflation also has a direct impact on society, with the risk of rising poverty and an extended crisis in many branches of the economy. For this reason, our roundtable will also discuss the social challenges the EU’s welfare is facing - and not least, discover the prospects of a fiscal union in this context.
How can the EU maintain its role as a competitive global industrial power by adopting this twin green and digital transformation? Our roundtable’s objective is to discuss the current strategies adopted by the EU as well as the continued and emerging challenges it must overcome.
ENERGY: SECURITY AND TRANSITION
Energy security remains a critical yet controversial issue for the European Union. To address the present problem, the EYD Roundtable on Energy offers a platform for the discussion of the future of European energy. The debate will focus on the two major issues that necessitate a shift in the bloc’s energy policy: environmental and geopolitical concerns. The ongoing energy emergency has been driven jointly by endogenous factors, as well as by exogenous pressures, ranging from extreme weather conditions and strained supply chains marred by a deeply uncertain macroeconomic and geopolitical outlook.
Today, as it is widely agreed that Europe must end its dependence on Russian oil, the energy policy of Europe is focused on renewable and alternative energy resources provided by several international partnerships, energy production strategies, and national policies to save energy.
Regarding security, strategic autonomy of the energy infrastructure may only be experienced if there are guaranteed energy supplies. It is with this overarching goal in mind that, for instance, the possibility of importing liquified natural gas resurfaced in the European Commission.
Our roundtable is hence focused on investigating concrete policy interventions conducive to the achievement of the so-desired sustainable green transition, as well as to the strengthening of the European energy architecture.
The EU’s response to the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War has been a rare example of a relatively coordinated and coherent foreign and defense policy by its member states. In light of the conflict on the EU’s borders, the issue of defense has returned to the forefront of the attention of European leaders and civil society. European defense and security are currently highly fragmented, to say the least. Yet, ambitions of streamlining member states’ efforts have increased, which will likely have significant effects on Europe and the World. In this roundtable, we will thus ask ourselves: “What could a more coherent EU defense and foreign policy look like, and what are the consequences of it?”
To try to provide an answer, we will debate on three areas in particular.
Internal affairs: How does nationalism in member states relate to a common European response to security issues and further integration?
Geopolitics: How would a more coherent EU defense and foreign policy change the EU’s relationships with other actors?
Sanctions: How effective are sanctions as a foreign policy tool?
We would like debaters to discuss these issues by analysing the current situation, the politics of member states, relationships between them and with external actors. To do so, we hope to work interdisciplinarily and highly encourage participants from all backgrounds to join!
For many, European democracy is in a period of malaise. Turnout at EU general elections has been declining for several years: in fact, since the European Parliament vote in 1979, every ballot has registered a progressively lower number of voters than the previous one.
A Eurobarometer survey found that only 38% of citizens in the EU feel that they have a say in the decision-making processes – and this perception is influenced by factors such as age, education, and socio-economic status.
In times of upheaval, when making the citizens’ voices heard is of utmost urgency, this roundtable aims to put forward policy proposals to foster a more participative and accountable European democracy.
With this in mind, we invite debaters to focus on these main points:
1. Cultural change: how to promote political participation as an integral feature of citizenship?
2. Strategy: how can we develop a common strategy targeting citizens’ involvement?
3. 2022 was the European Year of Youth. Even though many initiatives were organised, the turnout was very limited. What channel is Europe lacking to communicate with the younger slice of the population?