RUSSIAN FOUNDATION FOR BASIC RESEARCH ERASMUS+ JEAN MONNET NETWORK PEACE, WAR AND THE WORLD IN EUROPEAN SECURITY CHALLENGES POWERS VORONEZH STATE UNIVERSITY ASSOCIATION OF EUROPEAN STUDIES Voronezh State University 1, Universitetskaya Square, Voronezh 16-17 October 2019
The international scientific conference “Regional strategies of international security: the EU, Middle East and Russia” took place in Voronezh State University on 16 – 17 October 2019.
The event was organized by the Voronezh State as coordinator of the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network “«Peace, War and the World in European Security Challenges – POWERS» with support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.
The conference provided a forum for discussion on the global security problems, its geopolitical, sociocultural and religious factors, investigation of categories of threats and risks, including potential ones, and peculiarities of their diverse visions in the three mentioned regions. The conference contributed to development of conceptual framework of the agenda, including the concept of «threat to peace and security», identification of points of stability and criteria of international security.
The conference assembled the scholars in the field of international relations, security, EU studies, diplomacy, international law, politics, history, theology and social and cultural studies, human rights, and migration.
The overall number of participants is counted as 150 attendees. They included not only experts and foremost scientists but also junior researchers, master students, lecturers from faculties and departments not directly included into security studies.
Over the course of the two-day event more than 50 researchers including 12 delegates of the POWERS Network member-universities from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, experts from Finland and Austria as well as 35 participants from the Institute of Europe of Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, Ural Federal University, Baltic Federal University, Kazan Federal University and other major Russian universities from 10 cities from Tomsk to Kaliningrad contributed to the debate on expert assessment of the current events and building of modern understanding of international security. The discussion developed in the framework of four specialized panels.
Alongside the main conference sessions, student event “International security: perspective of young international relations scholars” enriched the programme. It gave opportunity for young researchers and master students to discuss global challenges to international security and compare approaches to security strategies jointly with the prominent experts.
On October, 17 His Excellency Mr. Markus Ederer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation, paid an official visit to Voronezh. Mr. Markus Ederer addressed to the conference participants with a keynote speech having highlighted the importance of inclusion of academic community into discussions over international security challenges and promotion of a constructive dialogue in the academic world. It will have a profound impact since education and science is this very field that performs no discords and contradictions and has the most positive agenda. The EU plans to increase the budget of Erasmus+ programme that will provide new opportunities for educators, researchers and students. The Ambassador expressed a hope that promoting participation of students in the Erasmus+ actions would allow to cultivate a new generation capable of more understanding of interlocutors.
His speech provoked a number of questions and a spirited interventions regarding the current international situation, the EU – Russia relations and other urgent issues.
The plenary was followed by a significant occasion for the host University – a ceremony of signature of Agreement on the European Information Centre took place. By their signatures Ambassador Markus Ederer and Rector Dmitry Endovitsky launched European Information Centre at Voronezh State University.
The aim of the Centre functioning at the University is to promote European studies, research and teaching of European disciplines, to provide university students, professors, lecturers and other stakeholders with up-to-date information about the EU, and to assist in participation in the EU educational and research programmes. Voronezh University was recognized for its advancements and achievements in building of excellence in teaching, research and outreach activities in the field of European studies for many years.
The agenda structure can be seen in details.
- ■ October, 16 Prof. Dmitry Endovitsky, the Rector of Voronezh State University, officially opened the conference. Mr. Alexey Nekrasov, the Head a.i. of the Voronezh Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, then took the floor to welcome participants to the event. Their speeches contributed to an inspiring opening. The keynote speaker, who started the plenary, was Prof. Alexey Gromyko, RAS corresponding member, Director of the Institute of Europe, RAS, Presindent of the Association of the European Studies. He examined the status of European countries in the context of geopolitical rivalry. Prof. Alexey Gromyko’s speech was followed by a presentation by Mr. Wolfgang Mühlberger, senior research fellow EU-MENA of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, which shed light on three questions: how the EU engages with the MENA region, where the European Foreign Policy is heading and semantic level of this complex relationship. He also mentioned of the so-called Russia’s return to the MENA. The audience then had the occasion to listen to the perspective of Prof. Mark Entin, Head of the Department of European Law at Moscow State Institute of International Relations – MGIMO, who spoke passionately about new challenges to European security and civilization. Among new challenges were emphasized shift in hierarchy of threats when cyber threats have become major issues; first manifestations of such new threat as combination of population ageing, society unpreparedness to a range of negative effects of 5th technological revolution and reduction of resource capacity of the European society in the context of new global balance of power. The first research session of the conference was devoted to overview of concepts of threats to European security and analysis of possibilities of common denominator. The session Chair was Dr. Alla Akulshina, Coordinator of the POWERS Network, Head of the Unit for International Projects and Programmes, Voronezh State University. In her report, she presented the Russian perspective on international security threats, based on results of survey having been conducted by the POWERS Network partnership since February 2019. The target group to be contacted for the questionnaire was defined as students, postgraduates, academics, researchers, professionals, representatives of civil society. The survey revealed that development and use of biological and chemical weapons and Islamic extremism are considered to be the top three threats to international security. Data provided by the Pew Research Center pointed out that common vision of citizens of 14 countries on threats to international security can be featured as global climate change, ISIS, and cyber-attacks. Dr. Alla Akulshina called attention to the conclusion that Russian youth (mostly students) do not count geopolitical factors among the top 10 threats and especially to the survey result showing opposed views on the role of national policy (Russian) in contribution to international security (67% vs 42%). She stressed insufficient role of academic community in dissemination of knowledge about international security and summon to inspire and stimulate to fulfil lack of events, discussions between experts from different countries and society. Head of the Department of Sociology and Political Sciences at VSU, Prof. Alexandra Glukhova, reflected on new risks which were caused by the globalization and to identity bases of contemporary political conflicts. The speaker gave viewpoints of well-known scientists concerning the main cleavage that determines a contemporary global conflict as a conflict between fundamentalism and cosmopolitan tolerance, between extreme nationalism and pluralism of civil society, and between liberal and fundamentally illiberal order. The author underlined that contemporary military-political confrontation between Russia and the West actualized the concepts of the “cold war” and “a world without peace”. Prof. Dmitry Danilov, Head of the Centre of European Security Studies of Institute of Europe, RAS, provided an outline of the new Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, adopted in 2016, as well as new conceptual principles of the CFSP. Particular attention was paid to how the Russian vector looks like in the updated strategy of the European Union in the current context. In his speech Dr. Alexander Vaschenko, Dean of the Faculty of History, Sociology and International Relations, highlighted that, the structure of the global system of international relations has become to be characterized by peculiar dualism coming out in parallel existence of two systems at once: the old one, made after the Second World War on the conferences in Yalta and Potsdam, and the newer alternative which reflected the interests of the globalized West (G7 + NATO). The duality of the contemporary international system serves as a cause of its crisis. The speaker claimed that largely it depended on the US manner of foreign policy activity. Being the main state actor of that alternative system of international relations, United States enhance the asymmetry and anarchy of the existing international environment and deepen the crisis the world regulation. During the second research session consideration was given to the regional approaches to international security examined from the viewpoint of the European Union, Russia and the Middle East. Prof. Muge Aknur and Prof. Gul Kurtoglu Eskisar professors of the Department of International relations from Dokuz Eylul University, presented perception of Turkish think-tanks on such aspects of security threats as rise of far-right parties in Europe and Syrian refugees and Syrian war. Problems of “spillover” of the regional armed conflicts were stressed in a speech delivered by Prof. Larisa Deriglazova, professor of Faculty of Historical and Political Sciences at Tomsk State University. She remarked that some military conflicts that were initially planned as limited operations, turned into full-scale protracted armed conflicts between states with no clear perspective for their successful end and embracing more participants. Great powers such USA and Russia took place in such conflicts, and they face the problem of conflict widening. These problems are actively discussed in connection to war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine. Such ‘spillover’ complicates security arrangements and development of effective military strategy to achieve victory, and blocks efforts to solve side-effects of wars: refuges and forced migrants; trans boarder terrorism; activation of separatist and religious local groups; trans boarder criminal activity. The other reports under the panel were devoted to PESCO in the context of European security system transformation and the impact of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on the development of a common EU position.
- ■ October, 17 The third session was structured around migration issues in the context of European security. It was chaired by Prof. Paolo Bargiacchi, Full professor of Public International Law, Faculty of Economics and Law, Kore University of Enna, who explored the significance of migration management in his report. He stated that contemporary threats and push-factors have blurred the once clear-cut difference between asylum-seekers, in search for temporary protection, and migrants, in search for a life-long better future. Temporary status associated with legal regimes of international protection is no longer fit for irregular flows in a globalized world because behind each asylum-seeker there is a potential citizen of the country that protects him. The concept of regional disembarkation platforms, currently being explored by the EU Institutions, suggests that isolationism will be the likely answer of European policies for the coming years. Prof. Carmen Marquez Carrasco, Head of the Department of International Law and International Relations, University of Seville, spoke about the security-migration nexus in the EU Global Strategy. She regarded the way migration is approached in EU policy documents and political rhetoric within the Union as contradictory. There is recognition of protection needs of the migrants and asylum-seekers but at the same time uncontrolled migration is viewed as a ‘threat’ and there is a strong urge to effectively manage the irregular migration flows into Europe. Prof. Carrasco highlighted the urgency to find a balance between legitimate right of the EU Member States to control access to their territories and to combat terrorism, illegal migration and trafficking in human beings, and the international standards of protection for refugees. Prof. Olga Potemkina from the Institute of Europe, RAS, continued discussion on the issues of this dilemma facing the European Union. It is reflected on the discussion on establishment of a temporary mechanism for disembarkation and relocation of migrants rescued at sea by NGO vessels. The speaker concluded that the reason for the discussion is the long-standing differences between the EU countries regarding interpretation and applicability of the maritime law and human rights obligations, on the one hand, and the inability/unwillingness to cooperate and find a compromise solution. The burning topic of migration policy was extended by Dr. Vadim Voinikov from the Baltic Federal University who spoke on the problem of implementing the EU policy in the field of legal immigration through the lenses of judicial practice. Prof. Igor Uznarodov emphasized problems in the sphere of formation of the European identity and preservation of the cultural basis of society is associated with security and the main threat is seen in migration processes. The migration issues were followed by panel focused on identity policy as a security policy tool. Particular attention was paid to place of Islam and Christianity in identity politics, as well as to experiences of major wars of XX century and their impact on international identity. Prof. Martin Tamcke, Georg-August University of Goettingen, exemplified how "literary reality" can convey "actual reality" – communicate emotional and traumatic experiences – and in doing so contribute to a reflexive discourse that stands against the terror of fear. He was followed by Prof. Roman Lunkin from the Institute of Europe, RAS, who analyzed the role of the religious associations in their work with migrants from different countries on the example of the activities of the set of Christian churches in Russia and European Union. He pointed out that the cultural and religious missions became the next period of the integration of the migrants into society. He also claimed that the Muslim and Christian are similar in their forms of civil activity and in the critics of the liberalism and values of the European Union. Prof. Liubov Fadeeva and Dr. Dmitry Plotnikov, Perm State National University, dwelled the audience attention on the remembrance on the two World Wars in identity policy and promotion of international security strategy. Identity policy is exploited to construct a strategy of international security when historical narrative which claimed joint effort of the allies defeated fascism as enormous evil is getting changed purposefully and Holocaust is losing its meaningful implications of remembrance on the War. It goes against the principles of multilateralism. At the close of the session Prof. Elena Morozova, Kuban State University, highlighted importance of intercultural communication and international events, such as World Youth Festivals, for constructing national and political identity. The research result of the conference is the Vision Paper Regional strategies of international security: the EU, Middle East and Russia — http://powers-network.vsu.ru/UserFiles/files/publications/POWERS_Vision_Paper_2019.pdf. After the closure of the conference a coordinating meeting restricted by the POWERS Network partnership was held to discuss core questions of the project activities.
Official page of the event — http://inco.vsu.ru/ru/conference2019
Dr. Alla Akulshina Coordinator of the Jean Monnet Network POWERS Head of the Department of International Projects and Programmes at VSU Member of Board of the Association of European Studies akulshina @ vsu.ru Tel.: +7-473-220-75-26; +7-473-220-70-37