MMF Warsaw Forum 2014: Looking back and Ahead: 25 Years of Changes, Challenges, and Chances
On Friday, June 27 the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) organized Marshall Memorial Fellowship (MMF) Warsaw Forum 2014 “Looking back and Ahead: 25 Years of Changes, Challenges, and Chances”. The event featured welcoming remarks by Kevin Cottrell, director of Transatlantic Leadership Initiatives, GMF and by Marshall Memorial Fellow Magdalena Borysewicz. The uniqueness of MMF was underlined, which establishes a network between Europeans and Americans.
Introductory comments were made by Minister Jacek Michalowski, who started his remarks by outlining the importance of the day of June 4 for Poland. On June 4, 1989 the 1st semi free elections were held in Poland that changed the country. It was the day when Polish people believed that they could be free and that they could make difference. Poland tore down the propaganda led by communist regimes and the Iron Curtain fell down. Poland’s success became a catalyst for the breakdown of authoritarian regimes. Today, Poland is a member of NATO and EU, and Poland needs to continue its future obligations and catch up the Western European leading countries. It is suggested that Poland needs to build more competitive economy and improve its legal basis.
The first panel focused on energy security and included remarks by Dr. Dorothee Mühl, deputy director general of Energy Department of Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Daria Kulczycka, director of Energy and Climate Change Departement of Lewiatan and Paweł Smoleń, president of European Association for Coal and Lignite. The panel was moderated by Marshall Memorial Fellow Dr. Joanna Maćkowiak–Pandera. It was stated that Europe needs to build 3 strong pillars: environmental (climate security), economic (market prices) and supplying (safe importing). The panel discussed different questions regarding the energy sector and outlined the importance of the climate package, renewables, energy sufficiency and reforms in the energy market.
The second panel was devoted to the current situation in Ukraine and included discussion by Dr. Oleksandr Sushko, research director of Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Dr. Spasimir Domaradzki, Presidential Expert Program “Laboratory of Ideas”, Piotr Buras, head of European Council on Foreign Relations Warsaw Office and moderated by Marshall Memorial Fellow and Deputy Director of Polityka Insight Łukasz Lipiński. Ukraine has always been a crucial neighbor for Poland. On June 27, Ukraine signed an unprecedented Association Agreement with EU.
It was also noted that it’s much more important to preserve unity of the European position towards Russia rather than have a unilateral approach. There is support from EU and the U.S. but this support needs to be developed. Russia is afraid of successes of reforms in Ukraine. At present Russia feigns strength but it had three main failures: 1. Association Agreement was signed 2. Russia has won Crimea but lost Ukraine 3. Russia destroyed the idea of a Eurasian Union.
Panel three was moderated by GMF Warsaw Office Director Michał Baranowski and included remarks by Dr. Ian Lesser, senior director of Foreign and Security Policy of GMF, Minister Janusz Onyszkiewicz, chairman of the Executive Board of Euro-Atlantic Association and Adam Balcer, Presidential Expert Program “Laboratory of Ideas”. The panel covered the Euroatlantic relations and to which extent EU and the U.S. can look in all directions and issues happening in the world. The question is how active the U.S. is in its foreign policy. Currently, young Americans are more interested in a pivot to Asia. At the same time we can see the U.S. as a staying power in Europe. EU needs to develop its common foreign policy, especially taking into consideration that some nationalistic forces are raising in Europe and in the European Parliament. Now it’s necessary to keep the unity of Europe and the U.S. during the NATO Summit in Wales.