Academic journal article Romanian Journal of European Affairs

Strategic Thinking in the EU - Aspiration or Reality?

Academic journal article Romanian Journal of European Affairs

Strategic Thinking in the EU - Aspiration or Reality?

Article excerpt

Abstract**:

The aim of this paper is to show the most important points of view presented by high officials and representatives of the academic milieu from European countries on the occasion of the EPIN conference regarding the Strategic Thinking in the EU, held in Bucharest on September 30th, 2011. There were proposed to the audience several topics related to macro-regional strategies such as: Danube Strategy and Baltic Sea Strategy, the Europe 2020 Strategy and some key points on strategic thinking in EU foreign policy. The conference consisted of three sessions in which speakers stressed out the main topics of the day. The first session outlined the main aspects regarding the Baltic Sea Strategy and the Danube Strategy. The Europe 2020 Strategy was the central point of the second session of the conference, and in the last session, the speakers highlighted some important aspects on the strategic thinking in EU Foreign Policy. The series of speeches was completed by a Conclusions session in which the most important results of the debate were brought to the attention. Also, it left open for further discussion the need for the strategic thinking of the EU to become a reality.

Keywords: European Union, macro-regional strategy, Europe 2020, crisis, Euro-zone, EU foreign policy, cooperation.

At the end of September 201 1 the European Institute of Romania, together with CEPS -Brussels organized the conference "Strategic Thinking in the EU", under the aegis of the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN). Benefiting from the support of the Representation of the European Commission, the conference gathered high officials and representatives of the academic milieu from European countries. The conference proposed to the authence (public administration, diplomatic representatives, academia, NGOs, media) topics related to the macro-regional strategies: Danube Strategy and Baltic Sea Strategy, the evolution and results of the Europe 2020 Strategy and several key points on strategic thinking in EU foreign policy.

This event was one of the series of EPIN conferences focused on increasing the awareness of the national initiatives in the European context and of the cooperation actions in delivering prompt answers to hot topics and dilemmas present at EU institutional level. The European Policy Institutes Network gathers 32 think-tanks and research institutes from all over Europe, dealing with debates and analysis of contemporary European topics.

Quoting the speech of the President of the European Commission (addressing to the European Parliament on September 28th), Niculae ldu, the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Romania, reviewed some of the special topics on European agenda: the dilemmas on the future of the euro-zone, the perspectives of the Single Market, the situation in Greece, emphasizing the need for increased credibility for the euro and for the European project in general, the need for further changes in the Treaty, the increased role of the financial sector and the constant target of economic strengthening (growth and jobs). The Commission will present a proposal for a single, coherent framework to deepen economic coordination and integration. In its actions, EU should maintain fairness, inclusiveness and solidarity and in relation to EU actions in the world, it will be crucial for the EU to maintain its commitment (Eastern Partnership and relations to the Southern neighbours, etc.). In conclusion, it was stated that the present crisis will be a "test of willingness to act together". "Intergovernmental cooperation is not enough to get us out of this crisis". The need to enhance the role of EU institutions becomes thus crucial.

Macro-regional strategies, the Baltic Sea Strategy and the Danube Strategy, were the central point of the first session of the conference. The moderator, Agnes Nicolescu, Head of Studies and Analysis Unit with the European Institute of Romania, introduced the topic of the session by raising the issue of the existence of a possible rift between focused regional cooperation and the larger EU institutionalized policy framework. …

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