EU-STRAT held its first public event on 8 June 2016 – a round table entitled ‘Looking Inside-Out: Strategies for Transforming the Neighbourhood‘. The round table featured Elena Belokurova (EU-Russia Civil Society Forum and EU-STRAT Advisory Board Member), Antoaneta Dimitrova (Leiden University, co-coordinator of EU-STRAT), Andrius Kubilius (former Prime Minister of Lithuania, Member of the Seimas, Member of the International Advisory Panel on Ukraine, EUSTRAT Advisory Board Member), Igor Munteanu (former Ambassador of Moldova to the US and Canada, Institute for Development and Social Initiatives, Moldova, EU-STRAT partner), and Emma Udwin (Deputy Head of Cabinet, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission) and was moderated by Tanja A. Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin, EU-STRAT coordinator). The event was hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Germany.
The discussion focused on several themes related to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, and EU’s foreign policy more generally. The panelists discussed the strategic and socio-political differences between the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the big-bang enlargement of the EU to the East occurred, and the current situation that the EU and the EaP countries face. The participants also analyzed the roles of values and interests as drivers of EU’s foreign policy and EU’s relationships with its neighborhood and the challenges of promoting democracy, peace, and prosperity in the region. Policy-makers, experts, and EU-STRAT project members agreed that there is a great need for further academic research shedding light on these questions, setting the scene for the exciting next three years of EU-STRAT.