Program

Visegrad Youth Forum 2017 Program

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Arrival of participants 

Pension Grand, Banská Bystrica

Pension Moyzes, Banská Bystrica

16:00 to 17:30 (Optional) Sightseeing for early arrivals
16:00 to 17:30 Dinner Session with Representatives of Partner Organizations

Beniczky café & wine bar, Banská Bystrica

Invitation only

19:30 to 21:30 The official welcoming reception 

Opening Speech 

Július Tomka, Governor, Rotary International District 2240, RC Banská Bystrica

Vladimír Hiadlovský, Rector, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

Branislav Kováčik, Dean, Faculty of Political Sciene and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

Lucia Kaščáková, President, Euro-Atlantic Center

Event location: The Town Hall, Banská Bystrica

21:30 to 23:59 Ice-breaking night

 Thursday, December 07, 2017

7:00 to 8:00 Breakfast

Restaurant Steak House, Banská Bystrica

Restaurant Barbakan, Banská Bystrica

8:45 to 9:00 Introduction

Jaroslav Ušiak, Vice Dean for International and Public Relations, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

Event location: Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Banská Bystrica

9:00 to 10:15 Panel Discussion: Defense cooperation: Mission (Im)Possible?

Nowadays, Europe faces regional threats at NATO’s eastern frontier in the Baltic region. Following Russian actions, which were deemed as provocations, the region responded by improving its security and strengthening its eastern border with the help of the Alliance. The current situation is of concern to V4 countries as well, thus creating an opportunity to develop cooperation between Central European states and the countries of the Baltic region. Furthermore, NATO members provide assistance to the region in its current crisis by striving to overcome challenges and strengthen mutual cooperation.

The situation serves as a prime example for NATO’s use of military diplomacy, an integral part of the Alliance’s agenda, which is vital for the coordination of its joint strategy and its troops, as it includes the exchange of military information, trade and exchange of military equipment, financial support, and the deployment of armed troops of its member states. The Visegrad Group also supports the reinforcement of the Baltic regions. V4 countries proved that they are ready to contribute to this effort and proved their willingness to work on achieving an enhanced and more productive cooperation with Baltic states in these areas.

Based on these facts, it is necessary to clarify the specifics of defense cooperation on the eastern border of NATO, as the topic will certainly gain even more importance in the near future. How do we achieve stable cooperation among NATO members? What is its purpose? Is it even achievable? How can we improve the uncertain future of defense cooperation between NATO members? Will the member states of the Alliance face challenges together, despite their different stances on certain issues?

Guests

Ferenc Kalmár, Deputy Head of Defence Policy Unit, Ministry of Defence of Hungary

Miroslav Mizera, Special Advisor to the Deputy Minister of Defence, Ministry of Defence of the Slovak Republic

Jakub Kufčák, Research Fellow, AMO Research Center and Member of the Supervisory Board of AMO

Moderator

Martin Mancoš, Vice President, Euro-Atlantic CenterRóbert Vancel

Event location: Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Banská Bystrica

10:15 to 10:30 Coffee Break
10:30 to 11:30 Workshop I.

Topic: “New Europe” – Could the TSI spell the end of the V4? (Part I.)

“New Europe” was a term coined by the administration of former US President George W. Bush.  This term was used to differentiate between – as well as to celebrate – the solidarity of new NATO members compared to the reluctance of the old allies to aid the US after its administration gave the decision to invade Iraq. Since then, European politics have considerably changed – their dimension shifting from smaller initiatives to larger, regional alliances, with the internal mechanisms of the EU undergoing substantial changes as well. Those who wish to weaken Europe’s global position and potential try to exploit this division of old versus new, and this is something all leaders on the “Old Continent” should be wary of.

Current US President Donald Trump took part in an assembly of one of these regional alliances, the Three Seas Initiative (TSI) – a meeting of the EU leaders representing Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) – a references of the countries situated between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas. However, the TSI is just one of many political groupings in the CEE region with a primary focus on influencing EU policy. Other such groupings of more or less importance are the Visegrad Group (V4), Slavkov triangle, Danube Region, Weimar Triangle and Nordic-Baltic cooperation. The TSI is meant to complement connectivity between the East and West of Europe, with greater connectivity along the north-south axis, thanks in no small part to the EU’s financial contribution. The initiative is championed by Polish president Andrzej Duda, with many viewing the project as his biggest diplomatic triumph to date.

While the TSI is celebrated by Poland, other V4 members –  namely Slovakia and the Czech Republic – aren’t as fond of the entire project. For Slovakia, the V4 represents the most important regional format, with the TSI lacking any political dimension, as well as any kind of security component for Slovaks. Czech representatives have also voiced their reservations towards the TSI, namely because they view the project’s driving force, Poland, as well as Hungary, as countries emphasizing the East-West divide. An unnamed Czech diplomat even claimed that the entire idea of the TSI is unacceptable because of its 20th century neo-imperialistic origin. Could the differences between V4 countries, as well as Duda’s efforts to secure the success of the TSI endanger the Visegrad Group? Could the TSI ultimately spell the end of the V4? What does the future hold for Central Europe?

Event location: Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica 

Mentors

Michal Hermann, Program Coordinator, Euro-Atlantic Center

Jozef Michal Mintal,PhD. student, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

Vladimír Müller,PhD. student, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

Róbert Vancel,PhD. student, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

11:45 to 12:15 Lunch

Restaurant Národný dom, Banská Bystrica

13:30 to 14:15 Transport to the Training Centre Lešť
14:30 to 16:15 Excursion at the Training Centre Lešť
16:15 to 17:00 Workshop 2

Topic: “New Europe” – Could the TSI spell the end of the V4? (Part II.)

Event location: Training Centre Lešť

17:00 to 18:00 Transport to Koliba Stráže
17:00 to 18:00 Transport to Koliba Stráže
18:00 to 20:30 Cultural evening

Event location: Koliba Stráže

20:30 to 21:00 Transport to Banská Bystrica

 Friday, December 08, 2017

7:00 to 9:00 Breakfast

Restaurant Steak House, Banská Bystrica

Restaurant Barbakan, Banská Bystrica

10:00 to 11:50 Simulation: NATO and Russia negotiations

Model situation:

Russia believes that the NATO defensive drills carried out by military personnel, mainly from Great Britain and the US, on the Alliance’s eastern border between Poland and Lithuania, known as the Suwalki Gap, are unnecessary and are damaging the ties between NATO and Russia. The said area runs through low hills and forests and is approximately 104 kilometres long. It is a vital geographical point, because if seized by Russian military, it would cut off Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia from the rest of the Alliance. Russia has condemned this action taken by NATO and denies any future plans of invading the Baltic states. Therefore, the exercises, which also involve troops from Poland, Lithuania and Croatia, are a sign that the Alliance is prepared for any critical situations that might happen in the area of the Suwalki Gap. Poland urges its NATO allies to use a number of troops to help defend the Suwalki corridor, but Lithuania believes that it would take more to effectively secure the gap. Is the world facing a new enormous threat? Would NATO member countries respond instantly and effectively? Will they reach consensus with Russia on the issue?

Chairman

Ľubomír Mrváň, Program Coordinator, Euro-Atlantic Center

Event location: Center for Crisis Management, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica

11:50 to 12:15 Group Picture
12:15 to 13:15 Lunch

Restaurant Národný dom, Banská Bystrica

13:30 to 15:30 Simulation: NATO and Russia negotiations

Chairman

Ľubomír Mrváň, Program Coordinator, Euro-Atlantic Center

Event location: Center for Crisis Management, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Banská Bystrica

15:30 to 15:45 Coffee Break
15:45 Closing remarks and certificate ceremony 

Lucia Kaščáková, President, Euro-Atlantic Center

Event location: Center for Crisis Management, Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Banská Bystrica

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