Dr. Charles Powell delivered a WebTalk at the invitation of Pakistan’s Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on the topic of: ‘The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the European Union’s role as a global actor’. The event was introduced by Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, and Ambassador (and former Foreign Secretary) Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry acted as discussant.
The COVID-19 has been an unprecedented challenge for the world. The European Union, an unfinished integration project with a very high degree of interconnectedness between nation states, was condemned for too slow to respond. Nevertheless, the pandemic has been an existential threat to both the Schengen Area and to the single market, two central pillars of European integration. In addition, the ghosts of the previous crises of the 21st century are still affecting the positions and decisions of the member states.
The response to this global crisis will have a number of consequences. The already announced agenda –like the new green deal and digital transformation- should be factored back into the new normality. The institutional dynamics need to be revisited. Europe’s place in the world, in which the US elections will also play an important role, should be again open to discussion. For all these debates the Conference on the Future of Europe could be a fruitful platform.
This roundtable aimed to start up the conversation on the future of the Union taking into consideration the various dimension of the crisis.
This virtual round table analysed the responses of governments, the possible social consequences of the health crisis and the implications for political stability in the Maghreb of the socio-economic crisis caused by the Great Lockdown. All this in a context of growing demands for political reform and good governance.
Information is as important as science, international cooperation and strong political leadership in the fight against COVID-19.
However, the media financed by the governments of China and Russia are disseminating unfounded claims, sowing uncertainty and mistrust in national and international institutions. According to the EUvsDisInfo website database, the three main narratives of these disinformation campaigns are: (1) the US created the coronavirus, (2) the EU is not facing up to the crisis and is therefore disintegrating, and (3) the virus is being used as a weapon against China and its economy.
In this virtual round table, we analysed the motives and objectives of the Chinese and Russian governments in the use of the COVID-19 related disinformation campaigns, as well as the impact they might have on our Western democracies.
On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Czech Republic and Spain, the Vaclav Havel Library, the Embassy of Spain in Prague and the Cervantes Institute organized a lively debate on the transitions to democracy in Spain and Czechia/Czechoslovakia. The speakers were the Director of Havel Library, Mr. Michael Zantovský, and Dr. Charles Powell, a historian of contemporary Spain who is also Director of the Elcano Royal Institute.
As a global actor, the European Union faces major challenges and opportunities. In his address to the IIEA, Dr Powell explored the Union’s role in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world, in which the survival of the rules-based international order that has served Europe so well can no longer be taken for granted. In particular, he examined how the EU should respond to the growing US-China rivalry, the future of the transatlantic relationship, and the debate over ‘strategic autonomy’. Dr Powell also reviewed Spain’s contribution to the EU’s efforts to establish itself as a relevant and credible global actor.
Senior Associate Ana Martínez is joined by Charles Powell, director of think tank Real Instituto Elcano, and Laura Bardone, country head for Spain in the European Commission’s DG ECFIN, to discuss the outcomes of the recent Spanish elections and potential policies of a left-wing government and what it means for Spain’s ambitions in the EU.
During a brief visit to Vilnius, Charles Powell gave a talk on ‘Spain and its 21st Century challenges’ at the Martyno Mažvydo National Library, where he was introduced by its director, Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, and by the Spanish ambassador to Lithuania, José María Robles Fraga. In the afternoon, he lectured on ‘The future of the European Union: a Spanish perspective’ at the Institute for International Relations and Political Science of Vilnius University, where he was hosted by its director, Dr. Margarita Šešelgytė.