11th International Symposium "Czech Foreign Policy"

The Institute of International Relations organized its already 11th International Symposium on "Czech Foreign Policy" with the topic "Fostering Multilateralism", offering many interesting speakers and intriguing debates. This year's conference was held on 23rd and 24th of September 2019.


Datum: 23.9. - 24.9.
Čas: 09:00
Místo: Czernin Palace, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Loretánské nám. 5, Prague 1
Spolupráce: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Repulic
Organizuje: Alica Kizeková

The Program is available in PDF here.

The conference report is available here.

The Program in PDF is available here.



09:15 - 09:45              Opening Remarks

Great Hall                   Ondřej Ditrych - Director of the Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia

                                   Aleš Chmelař - Deputy Foreign Minister for European Issues, Czechia

                                   Alica Kizeková - Program Chair of the International Symposium, Institute of 
                 International Relations, Prague

09:45 - 10:30              Keynote Speech: How Much Multilateralism Is Right, and How Do We Know? Lessons
Great Hall                    from Visegrad's Many Experiences

Rick Fawn - Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews in the UK.

Keynote Speaker of 11th International Symposium

10:30 - 10:45              Coffee Break

10:45 - 12:30              Session 1: The V4 in the EU: A Successful Interest Group, or an Odd Bunch of
Great Hall                    Trouble-makers?

Since 2015, the Visegrad Group has been in an awkward position within, and vis-a-vis the European Union. On one hand, political coordination within the group has increased. Likewise, its visibility with regard to other partners, as well as the general public within and beyond Central Europe has also risen. On the other hand, however, this is to a large extent due to its record of criticising or even blocking the mainstream positions on a range of agendas: migration and asylum, rule of law and climate change. The panel discussed the role of the "new" V4 within the EU, with particular focus on how coherent and successful the group has been.

• What are the key achievements and failures of the V4 within the EU since 2015?
• On what topics do V4 countries agree and where do they differ?
• What are the most important opportunities and risks connected to V4 cooperation, as seen from each of the member states?

Jakub Eberle -
Chair, Senior Reseacher, Institute of International Relations
Tomáš Strážay -
Director, the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Slovakia 
Sándor Gyula Nagy -
Deputy Director Research, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hungary
Pavlína Janebová -
Deputy Research Director, Association for International Affairs, Czechia
Tomasz Žornaczuk -
Research Fellow at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, Poland

10:45 - 12:30              Session 2: Multilaterialism and Asia: Measuring Rewards and Risks in the Era of 
Mirror Hall                    the Belt and Road Initiative (Roundtable)

A distinguished roundtable of Asia experts met to share their thoughts on multilateral cooperation through various frameworks and in relation to China's activities under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Their reflections  focused on local interactions in the Czech Republic and within the regional collaboration of 16 + 1 (17 + 1); there was also an examination of  EU-China relations, and the specific cases of Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The discussion uncovered ongoing changes and prospects for global governance in certain areas, such as energy or Arctic policies.The panelists tapped into their expertise and the latest findings and also attempted to answer the following questions:

• What are the rewards and risks of participating in the China-led multilateral cooperation and are there consequences for not embracing the vision of certain countries or organizations?
• Do regional collaborative frameworks require reforms and if so, how likely are the participatory states to find an agreeable consensus?
• What is the role for the selected country / multilateral framework in fostering multilateral cooperation, considering the broader context, in the area of ​​joint interests?

                                   Alica Kizeková - Chair, the Institute of International Relations, Czechia
                                   Alfred Gerstl -
Marie Sklodowska - Curie Individual Fellow, Department of Asian Studies,
Palacký University in Olomouc, Czechia 
                                   Bruno Hellendorff -
Joint Research Fellow, the Egmont Institute and European Policy Centre, 
                                   Rudolf Fürst -
Head of the Centre for EU-Asia Relations, Institute of  International Relations 
Prague, Czechia 
                                   Alan Chong -
Associate Professor and Acting Head, Centre for Multilaterialism Studies, NTU 
   RSIS, Singapore 
                                   Gaye Christoffersen -
Resident Professor of International Politics, Johns Hopkins University, 
SAIS, Nanjing Center, China  
                                   Pushpa Thambipillai - Associate Fellow, ISEAS-Yusuf Ishak Institute, Singapore

10:45 - 12:30              Session 3: The EU Policies of Central and Eastern European States
 Music Hall                  A Mezinárodni vztahy/ Czech Journal of International Relations Workshop

                                    Jan Daniel - Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia

As new EU initiatives are introduced in areas of spanning from defense to development, member states' approaches to them and their preferences are as variable as ever.
Where do the Central and Eastern European (CEE) states see themselves in the future of the EU, what kind of EU do they want, and how do they want to achieve it? The panel seeked to explore how the European policies of the CEE states are formed on the national level as well as in interaction with their sub-regional and regional partners

12:30 - 13:30               Buffet Lunch

13:00 - 14:00              Special Talk: The Value of Economic Diplomacy
Great Hall
                                   Alica Kizeková - Chair - Senior Research, the Institute of International Relations, 
                                   Prague, Czechia

                                   Martin Tlapa - Deputy Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

14:00 - 15:30              Session 1: Re-Making the World Trade Order
Great Hall

The world trade order is undergoing a rapid transformation. This transformation challenges those European (small and large) open economies which have been its long-term promoters as members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and/or the European Union (EU). However, the WTO-based order found itself in an institutional inertia by the mid-2000s. The minilateral free trade agreements such as the CETA and TTIP aimed at resolving this inertia. Negotiating them made the EU trade policy one of the main frontrunners in this asymmetric deepening of trade and investment relations. Since the mid-2010s, the liberal trade order has, however, been openly questioned by a range of protectionist challenges. Besides the unilateral threats of import tariffs, real bilateral trade wars, and Brexit contradictions, a long-awaited reform of the WTO is under discussion.

• What is the likely course of the world trade reordering? Can the negative trends be remedied or are they likely to be reinforced?
• What role is Europe (with or without the UK) likely to play in this broader remaking of the WTO-based order?
• Can the principle of multilateralism be saved? If so, can it coexist with alternative visions of regulated global trade?

Daniel Šitera - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia
Arne Melchior -
Senior Research Fellow, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Norway
Vilém Semerák -
Senior Lecturer, the Institute of Economic Studies, Charles University, Czechia
Juraj Sipko -
Director of the Institute of Economic Research, the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
Tereza Novotná -
Marie-Sklodowska Curie Fellow at Free University, Berlin, EUROPEUM, Czechia


14:00 - 15:30              Session 2: Opportunities for Change in EU-Western Balkans Relations
 Mirror Hall 

The matrix of relations between the EU and the Western Balkans is getting more and more complex and complicated. Some even argue that a full-fledged accession of all the Western Balkan countries to the EU is a fantasy that will remain unfulfilled. This panel aimed to take stock of the situation and focused on the current opportunities to move EU enlargement and integration forward.

The questions addressed in the panel were: 

• Should the EU devote more attention to the reconciliation process in the Western Balkans and what tools it has at its disposal?
• What instruments does the international community possess to stabilize the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina?
• Should we pursue the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue as a comprehensive settlement to be achieved to be achieved as soon as possible or as a long-term process of normalisation?
• What are the implications of the Prespa Agreement between Greece and North Macedonia for the process of EU enlargement?

Jakub Eberle - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia

Tomáš Dopita - Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia
James Ker-Lindsay -
Visiting Professor, the European Institute, London School of Economics
and Political Science, UK 
Ioannis Armakolas -
Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics of South East Europe,
the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oreintal Studies, Univeristy of Macedonia

Jana Juzová - Research Fellow, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, Czechia

14:00 - 15:30              Session 3: Africa and Europe in Global Architecture: Emerging Partnerships, or 
Music Hall                   Post-Colonial Business as Usual?

New markets and increased migration have raised the interest in Czechia's relations with Africa, yet it remains focused on bilateral trade and development cooperation. While the Czech financial contribution to the EU's aid for Africa exceeds its whole bilateral cooperation, and the political and economic framework is decided in Brussels, there is a lack of public and expert debate around the Czech positions on, and contributions to, policy-making in the EU and other international organisations. At a time of increasing geopolitical competition, population growth and the climate crisis in Africa, this panel aims at depicting the state of EU-Africa relations, assessing Africa's global standing and drawing new ideas for the future of Czech foreign policy towards Africa.

• How does Africa's position in global architecture change in the last decade?
• Where are the ongoing negotiations on the budget for the EU's future external policy instrument (NDICI) and the future framework for EU-Africa relations (post-Cotonou) heading?
• Is the African Union closing the gap between the countries north and south of the Sahara?

Ondřej Horký-Hluchán - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International
Relations Prague, Czechia 
Tereza Němečková - Deputy Head, Department of International Business, Metropolitan 
University Prague, Czechia
Niels Keijzer -
Researcher, German Development Institute, Germany
Tighisti Amare - Assistant Head, the Africa Programme at Chatham House, the Royal  
Institute of International Affairs, UK
Imane Hmiddou - École de Gouvernance et d'Économie de Rabat, Morocco

15:30 - 15:45              Coffee Break

15:45 - 17:15              Global Perspectives on Multilateralism
Great Hall                   

Fostering and maintaining a world order based on multilateral decision-making and diplomacy is not only in the interests of small states, which thereby receive a voice in global affairs, but should also be a crucial interest of powerful states, which gain legitimacy for their actions and the compliance of smaller states through it if they respect and follow rules set up by multilateral institutions. Multilateralism also decreases the costs of actions for all actors by pooling resources - a crucial aspect especially as the world faces environmental and security challenges that require large-scale investments and inter-state coordination.

Nonetheless, the current state of international organizations and multilateral norms has its critics among powerful states, ranging from China and Russia to India and the United States. However, discussions on the reform of existing frameworks also include smaller players, such as the Czech Republic, Singapore or Australia, while the European Union is considered to be a status quo power with respect to the current design of multilateralism.

• Is the current period a crossroads that will determine the future format of multilateralism by the implementation of necessary reforms?
• Or will reform efforts fail, resulting in the emergence of increased regionalism and multipolarity, with each region and field following different environmental, trade, security and judicial norms?
• Who will have the upper hand in reforming multilateral organizations?

Jan Hornát - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia
Alan Chong -
Associate Professor and Acting Head, Centre for Multilateralism Studies, NTU
RSIS Singapore
John Cloud -
Professor, the National Security Department, the U.S. Naval War College, USA
Mats Braun -
Associate Professor and Head of Department of International Relations and
European Studies, Metropolitan University of Prague, Czechia
Joseph Siracusa -
Professor of Human Security and International Diplomacy, School of
Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Australia

15:45 - 17:45              Book Launch: The Politics of Recognition and Engagement;
Mirror Hall                   EU Member State Relations with Kosovo

This was an exclusive presentation of a new well-researched and conceptually innovative edited volume on EU member state relations with Kosovo. While there is a tendency to think of EU states in terms of two distinct groups - those that have recognised Kosovo and those that have not - the picture is more complex. Taking into account also the quality and scope of their engagement with Kosovo, there are four broad categories of member states that can be distinguished: the strong and weak recognisers and the soft and hard non-recognisers.

The editors and chapter authors have introduced the origins and development of the research project, the conceptual ideas in the book, broad insights from the chapters, and briefly also the chapters about the Czech Republic, Greece and the UK.

Tomáš Dopita - Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia
Ioannis Armakolas -
Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics of South East Europe,
the Department of Balkan, Slavic and Oreintal Studies, Univeristy of Macedonia
James Ker-Lindsay -
Visiting Professor, the European Institute, London School of
Economics and Political Science, UK 

You can buy the book here.

From 18:30                The V4 and the UK: Potential for Stronger Co-operation
                                    in the Western Balkans 

                                    Evening talk at the British Embassy Prague

                                    By Invitation Only


9:15 - 10:45                Security and multilateralism: How to meet new challenges effectively
Great Hall

Recent years have witnessed several individualistic, self-interested actions in international politics that have shaped the current security environment to a large extent. Yet they were more than once met with a multilateral response. The annexation of Crimea led to Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and the refocusing NATO on deterrence again. Brexit similarly contributed to a more profound security and defense integration within the EU as illustrated, for example, by PESCO. Can we expect a corresponding response in the case of the INF treaty or the Chinese engagement all over the world? Even more importantly, we might need to pay more attention to redefining multilateralism itself. Smaller states often have very few options besides multilateral cooperation, but the new challenges and threats, especially affecting the security of all major players might require a different approach altogether. New challenges could thus lead to new forms of multilateralism and new exclusive bargains that would only be between the great powers exclusively.

• Are we going back in time to a period when self-interested power politics prevailed over multilateral cooperation?
• Do great powers respect each other and to what extent is great power leadership still a necessary condition of multilateralism?
• Is multilateralism just the wishful thinking of less powerful states, or an indispensable approach to many new security challenges?

Matúš Halás - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia
Jan Jireš -
Defence Counsellor, Permanent Delegation of the Czech Republic to NATO
in Brussels

John Cloud -
Professor, the National Security Department, the U.S. Naval War College, USA
Werner Fasslabend -
President, Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy, Austria
Magdalena Jakubowska -
Vice-President and Director of Operations, Res Publica, Poland


10:45 - 11:00              Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:30              Session 1: Multilateralism as Viewed by Politicians 
Great Hall                    Debate

                                    Alica Kizeková - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague,  

                                    Karel Schwarzenberg - TOP 09
                                    Alexandr Vondra - ODS  
                                    Jan Lipavský -
                                    Jan Hamáček -
   Václav Hampl - KDÚ-ČSL

11:00 - 12:30              Session 2: New Technology as an Enabler of Global Governance in Space
Mirror Hall

Technological advances are allowing humanity to launch new mega-constellations of thousands of satellites, send rockets to Earth's orbit and beyond, explore valuable resources in space, and probe the deepest parts of the universe. Yet, these technologies are not exclusively owned by the growing list of space-faring nations, they also belong to non-state actors. Secondly, they bring about new challenges, from increasingly crowded and messy orbit paths around the Earth, to unclarity about the legality of space resource utilization to ethical questions about human expansion and exploration.

• What type of governance will such technological advances, the increasing power of non-state actors, and a growing number of space-faring countries bring?
• Will advanced space technology provide a new means for great power competition or unlock new forms of global governance in the spatially unconstrained domain?

Petr Boháček - Chair, Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University, Czechia
Pete Worden -
Chairman, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, USA
Joan Johnson-Freese -
Professor, National Security Affairs, Naval War College, Newport, USA
Nikola Schmidt -
Researcher and Lecturer, the Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University, Czechia

11:00 - 12:30              Session 3: Rebuilding Syria: Actors, Politics, Approaches
Music Hall

The debates on possible strategies for rebuilding Syria have been going on for some time, yet several recent events on both domestic and international levels have given a renewed urgency to the agenda. As the Syrian regime forcibly reinstated its control over major parts of the country, the political transition, and the condition required by the EU for its engagement in reconstruction financing there, seems unlikely in the short term. The Russian efforts to the broader range of actors mostly fell on deaf ears and other actors signaled their readiness to financially support the reconstruction, the actual investments have been in most cases rather limited. At the same time, the humanitarian and economic situation in the country, as well as some neighbouring countries that host Syrian refugees, remains dire and in need of external support.

The panel will primarily focus on the following questions:
• What are the most pressing needs inside the country? What form of assistance would be needed now?
• What is the state of the discussion on the rebuilding of Syria on the international stage? Could we observe any changes in the position of key players?
• What would be the most productive form of engagement for smaller European states, such as the Czech Republic?

Jan Daniel - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia  
Muriel Asseburg -
Senior Fellow in SWP, German Institute for International and Security
Affairs, Germany
Petr Hladík -
Director of Department of Middle East and North Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
Petr Kostohryz - 
Member of the board, People in Need, Czechia
Lenka Filípková -
 Humanitarian Practitioner with field experience from Turkey, Syria  
and Palestine, Czechia 

11:00 - 12:30             Session 4: Open Digital Science in the Study of International Politics?
Orient Hall

The study of international politics has been politically influential, but its knowledge-structure has been fragmented along national lines. Also, most of the underlying data are not published and cannot be re-used, build on, or corrected. Hence, it is nearly impossible to even think about the reproduction, falsification, or functional interconnection of the otherwise valuable research. The study of international politics thus comes across with inherently undermined scientific status. It is well-known that state secret services, global corporations, and electoral advisors engage in extensive scientific data gathering, storage, and analysis to serve their goals and needs. Perhaps the time is ripe for the study of international politics to do likewise.

This workshop reflected on the possibilities of advanced digital data management in the study of international politics. We will discuss the following questions:

• Where does the study of international politics stand in comparison with other scientific fields and the study of humanities?
• How to make the research data in our field more findable, accessible, and interoperable for ourselves as well as for the audiences we hope to inform, i.e. policy and decision makers, students, or the media?
• Are there any methods, utilities, or applications that seem to be useful for the purposes of digital study of international politics?
• What are the funding opportunities?

Tomáš Dopita - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia

12:30 – 12:45             Closing Remarks
Great Hall

12:45 – 14:00              Buffet Lunch

From 15:30                The Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe: Searching for Effective
                                    Mechanisms in Resolving Long-term Conflicts

                                    Debate - The Slovak Institute in PragueNám. Republiky 1037/3

                                    Public Transport Information: To get to the Slovak Institute, please take tram number 22  
from Pohořelec stop to Malostranská stop and then change for tram number 15
to Náměstí Republiky Stop.

Speakers:                    Matús Halás - Chair, Senior Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia 
                                    Peter Weiss -
Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Prague  
                                    Marek Varga - Head of Political–Military Dimension and Conflicts Unit, Department of 

Political and Security Affairs, Directorate General for the Slovak OSCE Chairmanship 
                                    Ivo Šrámek - Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, 

OSCE and other International Organizations in Vienna
                                    Míla O'Sullivan -
Researcher, Institute of International Relations Prague, Czechia







You can check out the 10th International Symposium panels and recordings here.