February 25, 2011 // 9:00am — 10:30am
Recent political unrest in the Middle East has prompted a debate about whether Turkey, a transitioning democracy with Islamic roots, can serve as a model for political transformation in the Arab world. The panelists highlighted the distinctiveness of the "Turkish model" of governance and raised doubts about its potential to inform the political discourse in the revolting Middle East.
February 09, 2011 // 12:00pm — 2:00pm
Chief of staff at the Office of the Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the U.S. Department of State, Vincent J. O'brien, stated that "stakes for an energy secure future have never been higher than they are today." Cooperation is needed on securing new resources of natural gas, diversifying energy sources and creating a more integrated European energy market. Given that the U.S.–EU trade relationship is the largest in the world and that the economies are increasingly becoming interdependent, Europe's energy security is naturally in the best interest of the U.S. While the dynamics behind Europe's energy concerns are complex, pipeline politics seem to dominate discussions.
February 08, 2011 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
Erion Veliaj, a former civil society activist and coordinator of the Albanian opposition parties, discussed the demonstration held on January 21, 2011. The demonstration ended in violence, with four shot and killed by the Republican Guard. Prime Minister Sali Berisha characterized the event as an attempted coup d'état in an attempt to justify the violent response, and said that the demonstrators had been carrying weapons disguised as umbrellas. Veliaj argued at the meeting that these contentions were "ludicrous": according to Veliaj, this was just another in a number of peaceful demonstrations organized by the opposition to protest what they see were unfair elections in 2009. The Albanian government, Veliaj said, was trying to force the population to choose between stability and freedom.
February 02, 2011 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
Southeast Europe—a region still vulnerable from recent conflict, underdevelopment and reliance on foreign direct investment—has been uniquely effected by the global economic crisis. Citing his recent publication, Vassilis Monastiriotis explained that the region's underdevelopment had in part protected it from the financial crisis and that good policies have helped some countries to rebound more quickly.
January 25, 2011 // 10:30am — 12:00pm
The economic crisis in Hungary has evolved into a political crisis, as Viktor Orban's FIDESZ government has passed a number of laws and initiatives that severely thwart democracy. Orban's populism has led his government to restrict press freedoms, undermine the balance of powers and silence opponents in the arts and academia by cutting institutional budgets, while claiming austerity. According to Attila Mesterházy, leader of the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party, the FIDESZ government's reforms do not serve the national interest and have harmed Hungary's reputation abroad during this crucial period when it holds the rotating EU presidency.
January 20, 2011 // 3:00pm — 4:30pm
Wilson Center senior scholar and former director of Radio Free Europe, A. Ross Johnson discussed his latest book which examines the first twenty years of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
January 11, 2011 // 9:00am — 10:00am
"Open energy markets—which is the ability of oil and gas to flow to the purchaser—is really the core of our energy security," said David Goldwyn, the State Department's special envoy for international energy affairs. Making sure markets are open, fair, and transparent is one of five tenets of the administration's global energy security agenda that he discussed at a January 11 Director's Forum.
December 20, 2010 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
Following the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty last year, the European Union (EU) has initiated a series of decision-making and institutional reforms, including the creation of the External Action Service (EAS). Angelos Pangratis, Deputy Head of the European Commission Delegation in Washington, offered an informal progress report on how the EAS will be structured and the key areas of cooperation between the EU and the United States. He argued that the success of the EAS will be judged by its ability to produce concrete results in coordinating and implementing a comprehensive common foreign and security policy for the EU’s 27 members.
December 15, 2010 // 1:00pm — 2:00pm
Despite the nearly two decades that have passed since Yugoslavia's dissolution, its successor states continue to be grouped together as the "Western Balkans," "Former Yugoslav republics," or "Southeast Europe." However, this categorization belies the wide divergence between them in terms of their democratic progress.
December 13, 2010 // 3:00pm — 4:00pm
Ambassador Davor Božinovic, State Secretary for Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Croatia and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for South Eastern Europe; Martin Sletzinger, Senior Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center