Emerging Paradigms in the Shifting Foreign and Domestic Environments. The Czech Centre-Right’s Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2022.
The European Union (EU) and its member states have recently faced a wide range of fundamental challenges. If the EU does not want to take a back seat in world affairs, it will have to strengthen its role as a global player. Other than renewing the full operations of the single market (and its long-expected completion), we need to focus on the EU’s global role. More than half of EU citizens want the EU to assume a strong role in the international arena, especially in providing security from external threats, the fight for democracy and human rights protection. This publication addresses the challenges related to the EU’s potential global power and assumes several points of view. The authors of this publication analyse some of the pressing problems of contemporary European society and politics. They also present specific recommendations to take advantage of the situation, to reduce the negative effects and maximise the rewards.
Dalibor Roháč assessed the geopolitics of the European Commission using the examples of the recent negotiations with China, Belarus and Russia. He demonstrated the weaknesses of the EU institutions and suggested that the EU member states strengthen their horizontal relations and links to third countries with similar interests. Michael Romancov addressed the situation in the Indo-Pacific and efforts to counter-balance China’s hegemonic activities in the region. Ladislav Cabada examined the current situation in the Visegrad 4 (V4) and argued that Europe was facing a fundamental need to include differing opinions into one democratic discussion instead of their ostracisation. Josef Mlejnek focused on Ukraine, especially its economic transformation and national identity in a country that after the 2014 Crimean invasion cut decades-long economic, social and cultural links to Russia. He proposed that the EU should help the local economy, which would reverse the negative trends caused by brain drain and the loss of labour force. It would also strengthen the Ukrainian culture, the language and encourage a healthy national self-confidence. Lucie Tungul discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean; she analysed the role of Turkey in escalating the conflict. The main goals should be, however, to end the decades-long dispute, which also had a strong influence on the future of the EU as a geopolitical actor. Jakub Charvát summarised the main features of the new Czech electoral law and criticised the persisting shortcomings, which need to be removed based on expert discussions that would consider the various scenarios. Denisa Charvátová focused on a common problem with most European countries, this being social media and populism. She argued that the mainstream parties should also use high-quality political marketing and use social networks for political communication to provide the voters with feelings of solidarity. Alena Zemplinerová highlighted the positive and negative economic trends facilitated by the pandemic. She drew attention to the need to protect competitiveness and intellectual property rights, labour force mobility (across fields and geographically). Equally important was the protection and promotion of market forces in the upcoming and inevitable economic restructuralisation. Markéta Fibigerová and Markéta Tuhá offered in the last chapter of this publication an alternative view on online education and digitalisation of secondary education. They argued that we should teach students to use technologies instead of restricting or banning their use.
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The European Green Deal and the Middle Class
Our societies have been witnessing the effects of climate change, which requires a swift reaction in terms of adaptation and mitigation. The European Union (EU) presented its main instrument to address these challenges, known as the European Green Deal, in 2019. One could discuss the various measures it proposes and their applicability, but another equally important factor is how to communicate this ambitious plan to the European public.
The Czech public does not seem to recognize that climate change will have a substantial impact on the country, their local communities and their own lives. In order to bring about a genuine change to an issue that will undoubtedly and significantly alter our lifestyles, we need to mobilise public support. This publication looks into the opportunities and challenges that the Green Deal might. The authors are academics, economists, environmentalists, journalists, lawyers, politicians and practitioners and together they present a comprehensive introduction to the Green Deal debate with a special emphasis on the Czech and European middle classes. Among them Bedřich Moldan, Luděk Niedermayer, Ivan Štefanec, Merlene Mortler, Ladislav Cabada, Soňa Jonášová, Luboš Palata, Rumiana Stoilova, Ondřej Vícha, Lucie Tungul, Arjen Siegmann, Kateřina Davidová, Tomáš Jungwirth and Aneta Zachová.
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Alexander Beribes: The Conference on the Future of Europe: Impulses from the Visegrád States
How should Europe shape the 2020s and address the challenges of this decade? This question is at the heart of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), a process of reflection officially launched on 9 May 2021 whose purpose is to assess the political course of the EU. The perceptions and expectations of the CoFoE differ depending on the EU member state. This policy paper by Alexander Beribes addresses the V4 perspective on the CoFoE.
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Removing Barriers, Promoting Responsibility. The Czech Centre-Right’s Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2021.
The year 2020 will become one of defining moments for societies across the globe, including Europe and Czechia. The coronavirus crisis revealed the weaknesses of national economies, political and party systems, the education systems, healthcare systems, labour markets, generational conflicts and also the weaknesses of the European integration process and its fragility. While it has revealed these more or less hidden/visible weaknesses, it has not resolved any of the long-term issues; in many cases it actually reinforced them. We are consequently facing a situation involving a changing global paradigm.
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This publication addresses several important issues related to the current Czech and European experience. Ladislav Cabada analyses the long-term direction of Czech foreign policy and its main trends with a special emphasis on the post-2013 period. Pavel Havlíček discusses one traditional aspect of Czech foreign policy, the EU’s Eastern Partnership, and its outlook for the post-2020 era. Olaf Wientzek focuses on the EU and the impact of Covid-19 with respect to its relations with USA and China, that is, the wider international arena. Pavel Hroboň presents his proposal for reforms on the Czech level, addressing the full complexity of care provision, which would make the system more efficient while guaranteeing its accessibility. Media freedom, analysed by Viktória Jančošeková, is another area where the Covid-19 crisis has demonstrated substantial weaknesses; she endorses a stronger legislative framework ensuring media freedom and protection from political and economic influence. Jonáš Syrovátka discusses the so-called information disorder and the related threats to our security. Otto Eibl focuses on segmentation and election campaigns and Lucie Tungul analyses the integration of Muslim migrants. Eva Palacková addresses the impact of the Green Deal on the SMEs and labels them ‘pillars’ of sustainable recovery under the condition that they will have access to consultancy and financial resources. The last chapter by Jaromír Hurník, Zdeněk Tůma and David Vávra discusses the topic of adopting the euro; they present the essential arguments for and against joining the eurozone.
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The (Post)Covid Era: The Middle Class in Focus
The stability and prosperity of Western liberal democracies depend on the stability and prosperity of the middle class. Several economic crises in the past demonstrated that economic instability, jeopardizing the position of the middle class, can very quickly lead to political instability and the redrawing of the political landscapes. Since the financial crisis in 2008, we have witnessed an increase in populism, nationalist chauvinism, and isolationism. If not addressed, the Covid-19 crisis will amplify these tendencies and significantly disturb the established order. That might be a bad thing in terms of threatening the liberal world order, international trade, and cooperation, but it can also be a good thing — a counterreaction to these forces can push Western societies towards more responsible and sustainable economic activities, towards greater support for socially deprived areas, towards higher political representation, and towards more environmentally responsible policies and individual choices.
The publication examines the various aspects of these turbulent times and their impact on the Czech and European societies, with a special emphasis on the middle class. It was the (often) painful experience of the ‘quarantined’ middle class that exposed what it needs to flourish and not perish in the future. The authors uncover the threats and the opportunities related to the current situation, and provide recommendations for centre-right parties, who have most often represented the interests of the middle class, currently most endangered class by the effects of the pandemic. The centre-right parties (together with the centre-left) will be in danger, too, if they do not present straightforward programmatic goals for the future of the middle class and honest leadership skills capable of cooperation and solidarity. Otherwise, we face the danger of further destabilisation of the political scene and the dismantling of liberal democracy.
The following authors contributed to our publication: Alexandra Alvarová, Ladislav Cabada, Horst Heitz, Jakub Charvát, Martin Kastler, Lubor Lacina, Bedřich Moldan, Elmar Nass, Filip Nerad, Danuše Nerudová, Luděk Niedermayer, Jiří Pehe, Tomáš Petráček, Jaroslav Poláček, Tomáš Prouza, Michael Romancov, Rumiana Stoilova, Zdeněk Tůma, Lucie Tungul, Eva Zamrazilová, Alena Zemplinerová and Michael Žantovský.
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Middle Class at a Crossroads
The middle class and its connection with various different social phenomena and their impact on our society is a very complex topic that requires an interdisciplinary approach when attempting to capture the individual aspects and influences. This book aims to define the concept of the Czech middle class. It also intends to analyse and evaluate its economic, social and political aspects in the local as well as wider European contexts. The class structure of the Czech society was determined based on data obtained in a questionnaire survey followed by a sociological, economic and political analysis of selected phenomena associated with the current Czech middle class. The findings were subsequently placed into the context of the development of the middle class in the European Union.
For free downloading of the full-text click here: Middle Class at a Crossroads
Economics, Politics and Europe. The Czech Centre-Right’s Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2020.
The publication addresses several aspects of social responsibility from the Czech and European centre-right perspectives. Identification and analysis of the major local, regional, national and global trends are the starting points for understanding the individual and general aspects of social responsibility which demonstrates to the citizens, the corporations and the government how to contribute to a healthy economy and stable society. The nine chapters address the proposals for reforming the pension and the education systems, analyze the Czech party system changes, assess the post-2020 MFF strategies and the innovation capabilities of the Central European SMEs, and focus on specific foreign policy aspects such as Brexit, migration, and the US-Russia relations.
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Presenting Middle Class survey
TOPAZ, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies present the results of a in-depth survey mapping the segmentation of the Czech middle class.
For free downloading of the survey summary click here: Middle Class Survey – Results
Handling Environment in Czechia: Sustainable Development as Our Common Future
This publication addresses a range of issues, which relate to the environmental aspects of sustainable development in Czechia within the broader European framework. Despite many positive changes, the country needs to step up its efforts, especially in areas such as energy, agriculture and transportation. Foreword by prof. Bedřich Moldan.
For free downloading of the full-text click here: Handling Environment in Czechia: Sustainable Development as Our Common Future
The Czech Centre-Right Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2019
TOPAZ, the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung present a publication, which investigates some of the challenges our societies face today. The proposed recommendations do not focus on the national and European levels only, but involve local specifics, and appeal to the need to educate active and responsible citizens who could effectively participate in public affairs in and out of their most immediate environments.
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The Czech Centre-Right Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2018
The Czech Centre-Right Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2018 publication proposes solutions to some of the main challenges which the Czech Republic and the EU are facing.
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Unity in Adversity. Immigration, Minorities and Religion in Europe.
Despite the EU’s official motto ‘United in Diversity’, the bloc is experiencing a profound crisis in which diversity is threatening to dispel unity. Instead of harmony, diversity increasingly spells conflict. A variety of factors are behind this strife, including terrorism, the uncertain position of religion in public life, the unclear situation of minority groups (including autochthonous minorities and the Roma), radical Islamism, insufficient integration of immigrants and a loss of personal status and identity due to globalisation. Lucie Tungul, president of TOPAZ Academic Council, contributed to the Martens Centre publication with a chapter titled ‘Explaining Immigration to the European Public.’ Ed. by Vít Novotný, WMCES.
For free downloading of the full-text click here: Unity in Adversity
The Czech Centre-Right Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2017
A joint publication of TOPAZ, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung presents nine topics, which should lead to an open debate on some controversial but pressing issues we face today. Those include migration, analysis of Czech EU membership and foreign policy, SMEs innovation, environmental policy, regional and local policy, the role of the media, and the state of the Czech civic education.
For free downloading of the full-text click here: The Czech Centre-Right Solutions to the Political Challenges of 2017