On the 5th of May, Project for Democratic Union (PDU) organises a panel debate with the title “The Putin challenge to Europe” in Brussels. In the panel debate, three experts on European affairs and history will shed light on what lies ahead for EU’s relations to its Eastern neighbourhood. The panel’s contributions will be followed by a debate.

While the US and Europe reflect upon the necessity to adopt further punitive measures against Russia, Putin’s threat to Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty appears to become harder to counter. At a point in time when all eyes are set on perhaps the most important political development in the post-Cold War world, one may question as to what lies ahead for Ukraine and its neighbours.

Many questions arise. Are we confronted with a bigger picture portraying Russia at the center of an ever more challenging foreign policy strategy? Is any design for a new Russian “imperialism” slowly but firmly being drawn and how ambitious may it seem? Is President Vladimir Putin attempting to restore a pro-Russian block by means of a zero-sum game and what kind of developments can be expected from Russia's interactions with, for example, Caucasus, Moldova, and the Baltic States? The international community has by now witnessed the insecurity surrounding a crisis-hit EU as for a decisive reaction to recent events. It is therefore time to analyse the state of play of EU’s foreign and neighbourhood policy and investigate its relations with Russia.

Speakers

Brendan Simms - Professor in the History of International Relations at the University of Cambridge and president of Project of Democratic Union.

Stefani Weiss - Political scientist and expert on European Law and Director of the “Europas Zukunft” programme at the Brussels Office of the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Daniel Fiott– Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for European Studies (IES) in Brussels with the European Foreign and Security Policy research cluster.

Details of the panel debate:

Time: 3pm-5pm, Monday, May 5th 2014

Venue: Conference room of the Bertelsmann Stiftung – Brussels office, Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155 (7th floor).

Project for Democratic Union

PDU is a political think-tank which makes the case for a full political union of the Eurozone. They believe in a boldly democratic, unified Europe with a strong civil society and public sphere. The activities range from running on- and offline campaigns to organizing academic projects and enlisting contributors of all nationalities and professional backgrounds. Managed by a group of dedicated supporters, the PDU is currently based in Munich and London but has recently set up representations in Brussels, Lisbon and Budapest.

The PDU supports the democratic transformation and territorial integrity of Central and Eastern European states, with a perspective of successfully integrating them with the rest of the continent through the European Union and NATO.