THE EU IN A CHANGING GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT: WHAT NEXT FOR EU’S NEIGHBOURS

International round table discussion with think-tank representatives in the framework of EU’s Global Foreign Policy Strategy Review and the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy

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The review of the European Security Strategy of 2003 has started a long-awaited process that has been called for by practitioners and analysts alike. Since 2003 EU’s strategic environment has changed dramatically. The challenges we face vary both geographically and in their nature, be them climate change, cyber security, scarcity of natural resources, hybrid wars, ethnic and religious conflicts or migration. With the launch of EU’s Global Foreign Policy Review, an even bigger challenge is still standing – to guide the process accordingly and avoid its derailment in the sense of an ever-widening scope, i.e. attempting to address all issues and as a result fail to focus on those of immediate and pressing significance. Indeed, in 2015 we face a Europe that is “more connected, more contested and more complex”, but the reality remains that Europe needs to take care of its neighbourhood first and foremost, not only for the sake of its own security but also for the sake of paying its dues to the transatlantic partnership. Following this rationale, the Western Balkans, Turkey and the Eastern Neighbourhoods should be in the core of the review. In order to contribute to the process, ECFR and Sofia Platform jointly hosted think tanks from the neighbouring regions, in order to feed into the review processes of the Global Foreign Policy Strategy and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).

The discussion was framed in four panels dedicated to the Black Sea region, EU’s Global Strategy Review, the Western Balkans and energy in the Wider Europe region.

Panel 1: Unrewarding Crossroads: The Black Sea Region amidst the EU and Russia

Panel 2: The European Foreign Policy and the Bulgarian Perspective

Panel 3: The EU’s Unfinished Business: What Next for the Western Balkans and Turkey?

Panel 4: Beyond the Pipeline Knot: The Future of the Energy Sector in the Wider Europe Region