Lennart Meri Conference set to discuss future of Europe and NATO ahead of the Warsaw summit

Entitled “Shaping the New Normal” the 10th Lennart Meri Conference will focus on the future of Europe and the West from 13th to 15th May when outstanding analysts and policy makers gather in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Entitled “Shaping the New Normal” the 10th Lennart Meri Conference will focus on the future of Europe and the West from 13th to 15th May when outstanding analysts and policy makers gather in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

The world is a different place from the one we envisioned ten years ago when LMC was first launched: international treaties are being blatantly violated; national borders are being changed by force; masses of people are on the move seeking refuge; national identities are being challenged, and extremist tendencies are flourishing. The United States as the key guarantor of transatlantic security is overstretched. Europe’s role as the source and home of universal values is eroding. The West has lost initiative.

On this bleak background of the current affairs key policy makers and analysts from around the world will among other topics address the current refugee crisis that is not only tearing apart the EU but also the national governments of the EU member states. Universal, liberal values, which have made up the cornerstone of Western democracies have suddenly got a price tag, which not all governments are willing to pay. How to fight the root causes of mass migration and secure the European borders? How to help border states to manage the migrants’ inflow and share the burden between the receiving countries? These are the questions that require both sense and sensibility and will be discussed by Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the EU Commission, Marina Kaljurand, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Ruprecht Polenz, President of the German Association for East European Studies.

While the Wales summit shifted NATO‘s focus back to territorial defense, now Warsaw must decide the practicalities. Frontline states want a substantial forward presence, providing reassurance, deterrence and military capability in the event of a Russian attack. Yet others believe this contravenes the spirit of NATO-Russia Founding Act. Peter Hultqvist, Minister of Defense of Sweden, Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General, Philipp Errera, Defense Policy Director at French Ministry of Defense and Witold Waszczykowski, Foreign Minister of Poland will head the discussion on what trade-offs will face NATO decision-makers as they try to reconcile these conflicting views.

The discussion on the future of Europe will be joined by Radosław Sikorski, Senior Fellow at Harvard University and former Foreign Minister of Poland, Andrey Kortunov, Director General of Russian International Affairs Council, Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies and Riina Kionka, Chief Foreign Policy Advisor of European Council President Donald Tusk.

The McCain Institute will bring a whole panel from the US to discuss the US Presidential elections with Ian Brzezinski and Daniel Vajdich, both Senior Fellows at Atlantic Council, Sally Painter, Co-Founder and COO of Blue Star Strategies and Leigh O’Neill, Policy Director at the Truman National Security Project to be moderated by Kurt Volker, Executive Director of the McCain Institute.

On 12th of May the LMC held a pre conference panel in the EU border city of Narva in cooperation with the Narva College of Tartu University. Since the Russian aggression in Crimea the question has been on the minds of researchers, journalists and policy makers alike: how would the Russian diaspora in the bordering EU countries respond to a possible aggression. The session in Narva seeks to find some answers to this question in a face-to-face with locals.

The public panels of Lennart Meri Conference be live streamed on the website.

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