DASICON2018 We need to talk about Europe! The European Union's Challenges & Opportunities Ahead.


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Friday, 2nd March

9:00 – 10:00 Registration and breakfast
10:00 – 10:30 Opening remarks
Emil Brix Director of the Diplomatische Akademie Wien-Vienna School of International Affairs
Natalie Bereuter Head of DASICON2018
10:30 – 10:45 Keynote Speech
Werner Fasslabend President of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES)
10:45 – 12:15
Panel 1: The EU as a Global Actor?
Thomas Mayr-Harting Austrian diplomat and Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia, European External Action Service
Gerhard Mangott Professor of International Relations, University of Innsbruck
Johannes Leitner Head of the Competence Center for Black Sea Region Studies
Werner Fasslabend President of the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES)
Servatius van Thiel UNIDO, UNCITRAL, COPUOS - Minister Counsellor at the Delegation of the European Union to the International Organisations in Vienna
Moderation: Susanne Keppler Schlesinger Deputy Director of the Diplomatische Akademie Wien-Vienna School of International Affairs

The world faces major challenges, which require adequate responses by actors who are both able and willing to get engaged. With the US proclaiming "America First" and following politics of unpredictability, this could be an opportunity for the EU to strengthen its global position. Despite increasing military cooperation, the EU, as a political and economic community, is so far best known for using soft power to expand its influence. The EU has, however also been paralysed in the past due to disagreements among members, which has led to a lack of credibility.
The discussion should examine the requirements for being a global actor and whether the EU even falls within this category. The Union will hence be compared to actors such as China and Russia, who are also using military and coercive economic means to enforce their interests. The relations among these global actors and their relative bargaining positions will be further analysed, in order to determine the role of the EU in the world

12:15 – 13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 15:15
Panel 2: Beyond EU Borders: Accession, Association, Alienation
Mustafa Kemal Basa First Counsellor at the Turkish Embassy Vienna
Ulrike Lunacek Former Vice President, Rapporteur on Kosovo and Member of the European Parliament
Thomas Mühlmann Deputy Director and Head of Unit for Western Balkans at the Austrian Foreign Ministry
Cengiz Günay Vice Director of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs
Moderation: Christian Mandl Head of the European Policy Coordination Department at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber

Currently a club of 28 member states, the EU has consistently been expanding since its formation more than half a century ago. Several Balkan countries and their citizens are still seeking accession to the EU, however a current expansion seems unlikely in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the accession process with Turkey is de facto on halt for various reasons. It therefore has to be asked what the EU can offer to its Southern and Eastern neighbours when membership is off the table. The EU also aims to expand economic cooperation and transfer its values to North African countries and to the post-Soviet space but this is expected to come at a price.
The discussants should explore if there are alternatives to enlargement that still keep Eastern and Southern neighbours close. Furthermore, the debate should focus on how to maintain effective and mutually beneficial relations with neighbours outside of Europe despite diverging interests and norms.

15:15 – 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 – 17:15
Panel 3: Islamisation of Europe: Myth or Reality?
Bassam Tibi Professor emeritus of International Relations at the University of Göttingen
Peter Schipka Secretary General of the Austrian Bishops' Conference
Nermina Mumic Federal Chairperson at "Muslim Youth Austria"
David Selim Sayers Visiting Professor for Turkish Studies at the University of Vienna
Moderation: Corinna Milborn PULS4 News Director

In current public and political discussions, one topic is predominant. A European culture with specific values is mentioned constantly but often lacks a precise definition. Despite having been an integral part of Europe for centuries, Islam is now being perceived as endangering its culture and identity, leading to resentments towards foreigners or even sheer xenophobia. The motto "United in Diversity" appears to be an empty phrase in the face of recent developments.
This panel should address the question whether there is a coherent European culture (or identity), which stands for itself or whether this is rather the sum of all cultures united under the umbrella of the EU. Furthermore, the controversial topic of Islamisation should be examined by looking at current tendencies and the potential involvement of external actors allegedly fuelling tensions.

17:15 – 17:30 Closing Remarks
17:30 –            Reception

Saturday, 3rd of March

9:30 – 10:15 Registration and breakfast
10:15 – 10:30 Opening remarks
Othmar Karas Member of the European Parliament
10:30 – 12:00
Panel 4: The European Narrative: EU & the Media
Anton Pelinka Professor at the Central European University
Rubina Möhring Executive President of Reporters Without Borders Austria
Eugen Freund Member of the European Parliament
Josef Lusser Deputy Director Department of Law and International Relations at the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF)
Moderation: Katrin Auel Head of the Research Group ‘European Governance and Public Finance’ at the Institute for Advanced Studies

The term "Fake News" has become common practices. It is even used by some of the most powerful people in the world, and is mainly referring to unsatisfying media coverage. This seems unprecedented in democracies where the media has previously been regarded as the fourth branch of government. With the emergence of social media over the last decade, accessing and even publishing information has become easier than ever. This is exploited by certain actors who seek to deliberately spread inaccurate information. Regarding the EU, media reporting in the various member states has also influenced the perception and portrayal of the EU in many ways.
The discussion should touch upon the role of the established media in the political discourse and how the EU is being construed by different national media outlets. The so-called "migration crisis" should act as an example of how media has shaped public perception and if lessons were learned from this situation regarding coverage.

12:00 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 14:00 A young perspective on the European Union in the year 2077 Presentation by Students of the Diplomatic Academy
14:00 – 15:30
Panel 5: Brexit as an Opportunity for Reforms?
Gregor Schusterschitz Austrian Ambassador to Luxembourg and Austrian delegate at the Brexit negotiations
Paul Schmidt Secretary General of the Austrian Society for European Politics (ÖGfE)
Melanie Sully Head of Go Governance
Jacopo Barbati Vice President of the Young European Federalists
Moderation: Elisabeth Springler Professor at the University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna

The Brexit referendum in the UK sent shockwaves across Europe and was also interpreted by some to be the end of the EU as we know it. With emerging nationalisms in several member states and declining trust in governments, this vote has served as a model for other Eurosceptic parties and movements. It will thus be on the political agenda for years to come. While the exit negotiations are stagnating, the outcome for both sides remains unclear.
This panel will discuss the root causes of the Brexit decision and Eurosceptic movements in general. This raises the question whether this indicates that there is a need for a thorough transformation of the EU, and thus whether Brexit can have positive repercussions by providing impetus for reforms. The panellists should explore different ways forward for the EU and contemplate various options for a well-functioning, long-term relationship between the EU and the UK.

15:30 – 16:00 Conclusion and Conference Findings