Europe’s strategic choices: building prosperity and security

Natasha Israt Kabir

It was one of the most memorable journeys I ever had in my life to be the part of this conference where I was selected by the ‘Westerwelle Foundation’ Germany.
One of the crucial agenda was ‘Ensuring Europe’s Future Competitiveness’ which does pose the issues, like banking policy and other vice-versa as well as Franco-German relations and last but not the least, infrastructure development and so on. The question is whether Europe is updating its Policy or not.
One of the most important sessions started with ‘Defining Europe’s Global Role and Agenda” where it draws the pen picture of ‘Europe and its integration linked with Foreign Policy’ with an agendum of ‘no Interference’ in global issues and the emergence of BRICS where Political Economy is the greatest concern which does have interlinkages with Russia. The question is whether the ‘Iron Curtain’ is coming back or not. Now the question is whether the ‘Market Economy or Political Economy’ which one is more stronger nowadays. The role of NATO in Afghanistan and recent emergence of ISIL does pose a threat where has been Europe left so far in between soft and hard power. The drifting away policy of greater Western Europe Union and newer version to address the Ukraine Crisis and destabilization risks in other Eastern European Countries.
On day 2nd the most important agendas which were mostly discussed during the break out session based on ‘Security: What are the External Strategic Challenges for Europe in the Next Few Years’ and in other parts of the session it was widely based on ‘Prosperity: What are the Global risks and Opportunities For European Manufacturing” and “Energy: rethinking EU Leadership in Fighting Climate Change”. For me climate change was the crucial issue as Bangladesh is under the highest risk of vulnerability due to Climate Change as it is becoming clear that climate change pose a risk to the value of present investments. Now the question is what can be the role of EU across the globe to put a price on carbon to help redirect on the scale required the combat climate change as per the data of Carbon Track Initiative latest study estimated that the World’s largest 20 projects are putting $91 billion of investors money at risk. So the question is whether the investors will ask whether it is product for one companies to bet on even higher oil prices when they could be retrieving cash to shareholders and responsible not only for Europe but also towards those countries who are under climate change security threat. Energy based on solar power can bridge the gap in 1 (430 x 250)between MENA region where as mitigation is the term can be described as global agenda and adaptation is regional. The other important point like contingency in terms of policy and scientific errors must not be averted.
On 1st half the issues which were discussed during breakout sessions based on “Security: finding the right mix between soft and hard power, Prosperity: technology and innovation: does Europe have a bright future? Energy: what is the right energy mix for Europe? Regarding the soft power and hard power which I found most interesting that is “Intra Europe Territory based Security”, Asymmetric Strategy , whether Western Europe is not keen to use it’s power and not using it successfully that is the question.Self-Dettering,long term and short term visions and missions all are interrelated with each others. Where Joseph Nye stated but now power is a relational concept and it’s is divided in to two sides where ability to forecast is inadequate and the question is whether Putin is undermining it or not. ISIL is peer trapped, European state craft and welfare policy, comprehensive policies all are changing and here comes the question whether building security should come first or prosperity shall come first which can ensure security. Public Diplomacy, pushing in more soft power, fragility and conflict situation, better life, same playing level field,Neo-Liberalism, Excessive Expectation and role of Egypt and dealing with Iran as well as romanticizing the ideas of mixing soft and hard power.
The last break out session three were based on “Security: Addressing Transnational Threats: how can Europe best balance liberty and security? Prosperity: is the European social model compatible with globalization? And Energy: Can Europe have a unified energy policy? I got more focused on transnational threats where inherent conflict between liberty and security is prevailing along with less liberty and security, the focus must be on the agenda and to address the context of failed states, the referendum of Scotland has raised the issues not only across the Europe but also in Euro Asia and venture of investing money on National Defense, guaranteed privacy, Snowden Gate and obsessed with NSI, failure over WMD and Chemical Weapons.
Finally on the 3rd day the whole conference was wrapped up with all the summary of breakout sessions agendas and common agendas along with the meeting of Chatham House policy making and through sharing at the end whereas Russia and NATO and once again the role of U.S has been questioned and this time who is going to spend on the defense budget, the changing role of Turkey, emergence of Iran and other traditional and nontraditional security factors were discussed which has broaden my outlook and provided a chance to interact with the experts around the world, i.e., ISPK, Chatham House ,Ambassadors as well as think tank and policy makers where climate change and Bangladesh has become a synonym for everyone.
The authoress is Founder and President, Bangladesh Reform Initiatives for Development, Governance and Empowerment Foundation. She can be found at