29.09.2021

The conference "European Security: Possible Scenarios and Solutions (Russia-EU-NATO)»

The annual conference for participants in the nationwide junior essay competition "European Security: Possible Scenarios and Solutions (Russia-EU-NATO)», organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Moscow in cooperation with Volgograd Centre for International Humanitarian Cooperation and the Association of European Studies, took place in Moscow on 23 and 24 September.

Students and graduates from Russia, Ukraine and Afghanistan took part in the event this year. The main goals of the conference are to provide professional guidance for future experts in terms of international security as well as to promote international dialogue among experts from different generations and countries in the field of international relations.

The meeting started with welcome speech by Igor Chernov, Director of the Volgograd Centre for International Humanitarian Cooperation, and proceeded with presentation of all the participants with their theses.

While presenting the works, the participants not only demonstrated a profound understanding of international relations issues, but also demonstrated creativity in their choice of research topics. The essays of some contestants were devoted to the issues of EU resource autonomy, the role of strategic communications of public diplomacy in the line Russia-EU-NATO, the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the dialogue between Russia and NATO, the effectiveness of Russia-EU cultural and humanitarian cooperation and many other aspects in the framework of the European security issues.

At the end of the presentation Dmitry Danilov, co-chair of the expert council of the international essay competition, Professor of Moscow Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), shared his impressions of the 2021 essay expert assessment results and provided valuable recommendations for future experts to improve the quality of their researches.

In the afternoon, the official part of the conference was opened by Peer Teschendorf, Director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in the Russian Federation, Igor Chernov, Director of the Volgograd Centre for International Humanitarian Cooperation and Dmitry Danilov, Vice President of AES. The panel discussion raised questions related to the current risks and possible scenarios in terms of the trilateral relations as well as the analysis of the main reasons for the crisis in relations between Russia and the West and what lessons can be learnt from the current situation. Participants discussed how a first step towards restoring trust and transparency along the EU-Russia-NATO line could be taken, what compromises might be realistic and acceptable, and what are the prerequisites for international détente. In addition, the feasibility of European defence and the prospects for EU strategic autonomy were brought into question. One of the topics of discussion focused on the situation in Afghanistan in the context of opportunities for international cooperation involving Russia. The panel session started with speeches by Beate Grzeski, Deputy Ambassador, Minister Counselor of the German Embassy in Russia and Jay Dharmadhikari, Minister Counselor of the French Embassy in Russia. Afterwards, the German and French officials answered numerous questions posed by the participants.

The expert discussion was followed by Johanna Bouyé, First Secretary of the French Embassy in Russia, Dr Yulia Nikitina, Associate Professor, Department of World Politics, Institute for International Studies of MGIMO, Dr. Anne Braun, expert in the Political Department of the German Embassy in Russia, and Dr Andrey Zagorsky, Head of Department for Disarmament and Conflict Resolution Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor of MGIMO.

The invited experts unanimously emphasised the necessity to develop relations between Russia and the European countries on the basis pf mutual spheres of interest between, taking into account the current international situation. The embassy representatives accentuated the importance of multilateral negotiations and the restoring of the EU-Russia dialogue on the principles of mutual respect and transparency.

The Russian experts pointed out that despite the differences in attitudes and decision-making tools, Russia, the EU and NATO countries should break the deadlock and learn to negotiate with each other on various initiatives that is impossible without the political will of all parties involved.

The experts listened with great interest to the contestants' questions and shared their views on how to improve the European security system in light of the current crises.

On the second day of the conference, participants worked on a practical assignment in six working groups: everyone had the opportunity to try his or her hand at generating possible solutions to international détente and at finding realistic and acceptable compromises in Russian-Western relations.

The moderators were the winners of the previous years' essay competition, who already had professional experience. After a long preparation, the presentation of the projects was held and assessed by the expert Dr Andrey Zagorsky. The professor expressed his gratitude to everyone for their hard work and encouraged the participants to further examine international issues and ways to tackle contemporary challenges, which is impossible without posing more and more new questions.

The arrangement of such meetings facilitates dialogue and communication between experts, politicians and youth representatives from different countries to reach a common understanding and develop an effective response to emerging security threats.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation expresses the sincere gratitude to the partners and experts who took part in the conference and wishes the participants great success in their future professional activities!

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Russland

3. Twerskaja-Jamskaja 3
Gebäude 2

125047, Moskau

+7 (495) 995 20 10
info(at)fes-russia.org 

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