On 16-17 October 2019 in Brussels, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, will take part in an annual high-level discussion, “State of Europe”, organised by the Friends of Europe think-tank on the European Union (EU) issues of current relevance. This year’s event will focus on the need for change in the EU for it to remain globally competitive and rebuild trust in the European project.
The participants will discuss the increasing importance of the EU foreign policy and security policy. With the spotlight on the EU’s ability to conclude a number of new and ambitious trade agreements and to assume the leading role in negotiations on the World Trade Organisation reform and on climate action, the discussions will identify elements that should be at the core of the EU foreign policy strategy in the coming years, and how the EU can influence the principles of international cooperation.
The participants in the discussion are expected to provide recommendations on how to align differing interests: for example, aligning the increase in the EU’s competitiveness in the global economy with social equality on the local level; the free movement of capital, goods and ideas with intellectual property; security with individual rights; free movement of persons, migration, political asylum with protection of traditions and cultural identity.
The participants of the forum will also analyse future challenges for the EU – how to close social, economic and political gaps that have undermined unity. Attention will also be devoted to climate change and the problem of social inequality. At the same time, a focus will be placed on how to strengthen innovation capacity as the EU’s comparative advantage.
Discussions are expected to draw upon the findings of a report “Vision for Europe” issued by the “Friends of Europe”. A vast circle of EU politicians, analysts and experts, including the Latvian Foreign Ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, were engaged in the production of the report and its recommendations, taking part in discussion sessions and seminars organised by the Friends of Europe.
Those contributing to the annual State of Europe discussion will include several European Commission Vice Presidents-designate – Věra Jourová, Margaritis Schinas and Maroš Šefčovič, and the European Commissioner-designate for Jobs, Nicolas Schmit. Also taking part are former President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite; the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajčák; Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Leila Zerrougui; former NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Sheffer; former Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, EU Member State politicians and decision-makers, journalists, representatives of NGOs, and businessmen.