On the anniversary of the declaration of the Helsinki Final Act, Kultura Liberalna, in partnership with Stiftung für deutsch-polnische Zusammenarbeit (Büro Warschau), Allianz Kulturstiftung and S. Fischer Stiftung, are organising an international conference entitled “Cracking borders, rising walls. European perspectives on the Ukrainian Crisis”, which will take place on the 8th of September 2015 in Warsaw.
It has now been a quarter of a century since we celebrated the wave of democratic transitions in 1989, but the general mood among Europeans today is decidedly pessimistic.
Euromaidan protests and the change of government in Kiev were meant to help “Europeanise” Ukraine, according to ideals of liberty and democratic values. Instead, they helped bring about the most serious European crisis since the end of the Cold War. Vladimir Putin did not hesitate to challenge the fundamental laws of international order: respect for territorial integrity, peaceful negotiations and the sanctity of human rights.
At the same time, Europe is facing further problems. Among southern member states of the EU, particularly Greece, people have lost their Euro-enthusiasm. In this atmosphere of crisis, populist parties have made worrying electoral gains in a number of Western European countries, while Hungary’s move towards illiberal democracy is alarming.
Until recently, the Helsinki Final Act helped bolster international security, as well as underlining the importance of human rights and common European values as a basis for political cooperation, not only between European Union member states.
Now, as this order is being threatened by both the Ukrainian crisis and the growth of illiberal sentiments in Europe, we need to review lessons learnt from the past and consider new challenges ahead.
The debate will take place on the 8th of September at 5.00 pm in the Polish Theatre in Warsaw (No.2 Karasia Street). The panelists taking part include:
Robert Cooper (Special Advisor for the European Commission)
Viola von Cramon (Alliance ’90/The Greens)
Adam Garfinkle (The American Interest)
Katya Gorchinskaya (Kyiv Post)
Ulrike Guérot (European Democracy Lab)
Ola Hnatiuk (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Yaroslav Hrytsak (Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv)
Josef Joffe (publisher-editor of Die Zeit, Hoover Institution, Harvard University)
Sylvie Kaufmann (Le Monde)
Roman Kuźniar (foreign policy advisor to President Bronisław Komorowski)
Jarosław Pietras (General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union)
Adam Daniel Rotfeld (University of Warsaw, Poland’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs)
Aleksander Smolar (President of the Stefan Batory Foundation, CNRS Paris)
Matt Steinglass (The Economist)
Asle Toje (Norwegian Nobel Institute).
The discussion will be hosted by Karolina Wigura (Head of the Political Department, Kultura Liberalna) and Jarosław Kuisz (Editor-in-chief, Kultura Liberalna).
The event is organised with honourable patronage from the Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
The conference is part of the lecture series “Debate on Europe”, which was initiated in 2006 by the Allianz Kulturstiftung. The series brings together important voices from the world of culture, politics, business and science in order to share their perspectives on current and pressing questions regarding the European integration process.