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The Vaclav Havel dialogues have led to the reflection on the state of society

The traditional event commemorating the political legacy of Vaclav Havel and his reflections about Europe was held in Brussels on 27th November in the representative building of the Prague House, Delegation of Prague to the EU. This year event was focused on “Strengthening Democracy in the EU Neighbourhood: Integration as an Effective Leverage?” The event was organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium, Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union, Czech Centre Brussels, Delegation of Prague to the EU together with the Library of Vaclav Havel.

The event was hosted by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium Jaroslav Kurfürst and by the Ambassador of Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic in the European Union by Jakub Dürr. Among the other important figures who hosted this special event were Member of the European Parliament Pavel Svoboda together with the European commissioner Věra Jourová.

The opening speech was given by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Belgium by Jaroslav Kurfürst who noted "As we can see in Ukraine, the EU neighbourhood is under the geopolitical pressure of Russia and the information a psychological operations can be easily spotted in all the countries of the region with the goal to discredit liberal democracy and the EU and NATO. My hope is that this year´s edition of European Dialogues of Václav Havel will focus on practical policies and steps of the EU and member states in order to keep the vision of Europe whole and free and the liberal democracy attractive both in Europe and its neighbourhood."

The whole discussion was led by the director of Vaclav Havel Library by Miachael Žantovský. In his opening speech he stressed the major challenges of the European Union such as the migration crises, financial crises or the problems behind the Great Britain exit from the European Union. The dialogues were divided into two panels whose main aim was to highlight the major thoughts of Vaclav Havel. The first dialogue focused on the shifting and weakening powers of the EU. Speakers mainly emphasised the benefits which the EU represents including the questions of stability, security and prosperity. The second panel dealt with the major issues surrounding the Western Balkans.   

The first panel began with the introductory speech given by the European commissioner Věra Jourová who expressed the positives and negatives of the attractiveness of the EU. She pointed out the brain drain as the downside of the attractiveness. The second speaker Petras Auštrevičius stated that the exit of young people abroad within the Schenghen area and to exchange the experiences is completely natural and beneficial. Among the speakers was also well known David J. Krammer from Florida International University who justified reciprocal relations within the EU and the US. Last but not least, Eric Mourice as a representative of the think-tank Foundation Robert Schuman focused on the threats of social media.

The main topic of the second panel was the partnership of the EU with Western Balkans. The introductory speech was performed by the editor-in-chief Radio Free Europe, Nenad Pejic. The Director of European Endowment For Democracy Jerzy Pomianowski together with the director of humanitarian organisation Human In Need, Šimon Pánek devoted their speech to the role of Russian in Western Balkans.  

Authors of the article: David Broul, Barbora Hodková, interns of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Brussels


Evropské dialogy Václava Havla