Europe is facing crises: climate, war, pandemic. We need solidarity and value-based solutions.
The main objectives of the “Politics and Values” conference:
Raising most crucial issues
Advocating most important solutions
Promoting socially-aware, strong pro-EU voices
Creating value added experience for experts, decision makers and community
Join us at the Protecting Values in Global Politics event to explore the consequences of ignoring ethical dimensions in international engagement. Discover the importance of valuing human rights and how advocating for them can lead to effective policy outcomes. Let’s work together to revive global politics’ interest in protecting human rights and ecology-centred principles.
Discussion on Ukraine’s recovery is an opportunity to imagine a brighter future for 42 million people, who are, by far, the country’s biggest asset, and to set Ukraine on a path to that future.
DISCUSSION PANELS DESCRIPTIONS
UKRAINE & EU: THE ROAD AHEAD
European Green Deal, the flagship, overarching European project programming EU policies for the upcoming decades, seems to be the best framework for the process of Ukraine’s integration with the EU. Firstly, it promises to provide both financial and institutional support Ukraine needs. Secondly it might provide incentives for reforms ensuring that post-war Ukraine will not reproduce the structural drawbacks – steaming from oligarchic concentration of wealth and power – which the Ukrainian citizens were actively rejecting through successive peaceful revolutions.
But is the European Green Deal and other correlated EU policies in its present form (programmed before the Russian aggression) up to that challenge? Is the social pillar of the European Green Deal protecting lower income citizens strong enough? Does not Europe itself need a de-oligarchisation which would mitigate and rebalance concentration of wealth and power between social groups, regions and countries? How should European policies themselves be reformed to integrate Ukraine so it becomes a part of a stable and sustainable EU?
PROTECTING VALUES IN GLOBAL POLITICS
Politics has often shunned values and long term consequences of this are coming back to bite us. Legacy of war in Iraq has contributed to scepticism of the ethical dimension of international engagement by Western countries. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept has been rejected in much of the Global South. There is danger in dismissing all non-realpolitik motives in international relations. Constructing long-lasting political negotiated solutions becomes more difficult without a common basis of valuing the same principles, chief among them the adherence to human rights. Construction of a better world order without values-based convictions of parties at the negtiating table is near-impossible. On the other hand, there is a challenge for champions of ethics – the civil society and human rights organisations and religious figures – to translate their advocacy into language of solutions and policy outcomes. Without strategised, efficient outcomes human rights advocacy for example may become just a side exercise to the main scene of social change, large scale processes and political-economic transformations. The convictions in values-led politics must be upheld by the public, by the opinion leaders and ultimately by policymakers and political leaders.
Ignoring values comes at a cost already. Climate crisis shows how zero-sum thinking is absolutely counterproductive and leads to lose-lose outcomes. Covid pandemic has shown us how devastatingly disruptive the loss of trust in public service orientation of institutions was. Hard adversarial conflicts have high stakes including many human lives. Russian aggression on Ukraine has reminded Europe that peace is not assured when human lives are not valued. Can global politics revive its interest in human rights and protection of human and ecology-centred principles?
EU & TRANSATLANTIC RESPONSE TO GLOBAL RISKS
Climate crisis, energy crisis, pandemic, war. The shorter the time-span of the policy solution or response, the better (and closer to values-driven approach) they initially fared. The longer the needed discipline and self-containment, the less mature, more impatient and ineffective the policy became. First wave of Covid-19 in the first half of 2020 as well as first stages of a response to Russian aggression on Ukraine have been promising. Strict health measures in Covid and international solidarity in condemnation of aggression and support for Ukraine have all shown in the short term, spontaneous coordination can be successful and have systemic effects. However, we have a problem in dealing with persistent long-term challenges. The climate crisis, the long covid and the war in Ukraine have shown that clearly.
This does not mean there have not been “wins” that we can build on. The European Union with its member states has coordinated closely with allies a range of sanctions on Russia and support measures for Ukraine that had not decisive but substantially positive effect
THE PANDEMIC & CHALLENGES OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Covid remains a global problem. We don’t yet know the scale of deaths in China after the economic opening, but the first Western studies report 2-5 million victims in the first two months. Research on long covid published in Nature says there are 400 million long covid victims globally. The same article points to political paralysis in the face of the scale of the problem. In order to emerge from political paralysis, we need openness to bad information and to face the reality of hard numbers showing the costs of poorly coordinated health policies.
SOCIAL AND DEMOCRATIC RECOVERY OF UKRAINE
If Ukraine is to be resilient towards present and future aggressions – it has to build back better. It is not only a matter of values: protecting the most vulnerable citizens and rewarding justly the essential workers producing social resilience on the Ukrainian Home Front. It is also a matter of pragmatism. If the demands of Ukrainian society for safeguarding a decent standard of living are not met a post-war Ukraine might face both a demographic breakdown (with millions of Ukrainian women not coming back to the country which does not provide social services) and a political backlash against economic shock therapy (with millions of Ukrainian citizens disaffected citizens traumatised by the war). A backlash of which Russia would be eager to take advantage to destabilise Ukraine and its neighbours.
In this panel we want to provide a platform to Ukrainian experts and European partners to discuss policies which could build a more social, democratic – and thus more stable – Ukraine.
EU CLIMATE & INDUSTRIAL POLICY: AVOIDING THE BACKLASH
The recent movements on the German political scene as well as the mood ahead of the EU Parliament elections stirred a fear of an anti-climate backlash fueled by citizens’ fear of declining living standards and led by the political forces advocating to put their respective countries first.
As such it poses a danger not only to EU’s cohesion and to the interests of less powerful countries of the EU (in a weaker position in confrontation with unmediated national egoisms of the more powerful countries), but also to EU’s competitiveness.
This is because both the EU’s strategic allies and rivals are investing heavily to become leaders in green technologies and position themselves on the top of the transforming value chains. In the face of Inflation Reduction Act Europe seems to have no choice but to come up with its own full blown industrial strategy, if it is to avoid losing best minds and investments leading the green transition to its partner across the Atlantic – the only alternative being further loosening of the rules of public aid which already privileges the EU countries with biggest fiscal and financial capacities, weakens the common market and deepens structural imbalances between the European North, East and South.
A genuine European Green Industrial Strategy safeguarded by new EU’s own resources could help Europe to achieve both aims at once: reducing the threat of the backlash by providing goodpaying, stable jobs seeding from EU’s money and increase EU’s competitiveness vis a vis green industrial strategies of the US, China and other rising superpowers.
How can this be done and how would the institutional infrastructure of the EU need to change to deliver it? And what kind of mechanisms of safeguarding political representation of lower income citizens, their communities and institutions (through unions, local governments and other forms of industrial and political democracy) we need to make the green transition process genuinely popular?
EU CLIMATE INTERNATIONAL POLICY
In the times of growing geopolitical rivalry, external shocks, and calls for friendshoring understanding of EU climate policy as an international policy becomes a question of both values & realism.
Firstly, if the European Green Deal is to be meaningful for reducing emissions of CO2 and thus mitigating harmful effects of climate breakdown (which are already hitting the Global South the hardest), they have to be a part of a wider International Green Deal. Secondly, Europe needs resources and materials from the Global South to implement the transition. Thirdly, if European climate policies are to be an effective element of strengthening Europe’s soft power internationally they need to offer a real (sustainable) deal to the countries of the Global South in terms of trade that would be fairer and more attractive than offers of the competing undemocratic geopolitical power block.
HYBRID SECURITY: AIR, WATER & EARTH AS ELEMENTS OF RESILIENCE