CIRSD Course on International Relations Launched in Belgrade
The Advanced Course on International Relations entitled “Geopolitics in the Emerging Multipolar Era,” organized by the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development, began earlier today in Belgrade.
The intensive seven-day course encompasses a number of topics, all of which are devoted to contemporary geopolitical trends emphasizing the study of political, economic, social, and environmental aspects of multipolarity and the renewed interest in geopolitical positions.
The first day of the course was largely devoted to enhancing knowledge about the existing geopolitical and economic climate in Europe. Today’s session was comprised of four distinguished lecturers who thoroughly examined diverse aspects of the European crisis and key challenges laying ahead.
Portugal’s former Foreign and Defense Minister Luis Amado delivered a lecture revolving around challenges faced by Mediterranean states. Throughout the lecture, Amado pointed to the role that the unification of Germany has played in shaping the institutional framework of the EU, initial weaknesses in creating the monetary union, as well as geopolitical tensions between Germany and France. He said that today’s policymakers throughout the Mediterranean face difficulties in reconciling the expectations of their respective voters on the one hand, and financial markets on the other. He also said that the internal European crisis is further becoming complicated by instability on its eastern and southern peripheries, thus underlying the necessity for a new “neighborhood policy.”
Former German ambassador to Serbia Wolfram Maas, who has recently completed his term as ambassador to Belarus, spoke about the role of Germany in today’s Europe and the prospects of the EU’s development. He underlined the importance of complying with objective criteria when it comes to both monetary union functionality and accepting new members. Ambassador Maas elaborated on the evolution of the EU's enlargement policy and explored its outlooks for its future. He introduced the audience to the concept of the EU neighborhood policy, focusing on its main challenges on the Union's eastern and southern borders. Amongst other assertions, the ambassador voiced his support for the idea to federalize Europe. The lecture was followed by intensive question and answer session and interactive discussion on Russia-EU relations, the Ukraine Crisis, and ways to solve monetary union crisis.
Former European Commissioner and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Finance of Cyprus Markos Kyprianou explained the genesis of the public debt crisis in Greece. He analyzed the current state of play in the latest round of negotiations, covering arguments of all involved parties. He said that the Greek government bears responsibility for the bad result of the negotiations, leading to deterioration of terms for a new aid package deal with international financial institutions. Kyprianou stressed that the existing deal with Greece is certainly not sustainable and is, therefore, unlikely to provide a longterm public debt crisis solution.
Professor Branko Milanović spoke last on today’s session of the Advanced Course. As a former lead economist of the World Bank’s research department, he spoke about trends in global inequality, as well as political consequences they produce. Milanović said that thee inequality gap in the U.S. and Europe will not likely become any smaller in the foreseeable future, while he believes this trend will soon be reversed in China. Never in recent history have we seen such disparities in wealth between Northern Europe and the Southern Mediterranean, Milanović said.
Having examined several hundred applications, CIRSD selected 35 participants, many of whom are the best performing graduates from all over the Western Balkans.
This year’s Advanced Course features some of the most prominent policymakers, intellectuals, and professors from the world’s most renowned academic institutions including Luis Amado, Wolfram Maas, Ralph Langner, Luis Almagro, Nikolas Gvosdev, Branko Milanović, Andrey Kortunov, Richard Gowan, Sheikh Muhammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, Alister Crook, and Ivan Vejvoda, to name just a few.
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