In Vienna on May 21, 2019, the Valdai Discussion Club will hold its sixth European conference, titled “All Together or Me First? How the European Union and Russia see the Future of Multilateral Diplomacy”.
More than 100 leading experts from 10 European countries will take part in the conference, where the agenda will reflect the challenges that multilateral diplomacy is currently experiencing: many of its achievements and mechanisms have either been destroyed or are facing a critical moment, and the challenges are so substantial that it is possible to speak about the total collapse of the diplomatic model. Top specialists, diplomats and policymakers at the Valdai Club conference will analyse the latest trends and engage in “brainstorming” on what can and should be done to preserve multilateral diplomacy.
Another important topic of the Russian-European dialogue, which will be touched upon in Vienna, is the global strategic stability crisis. The main focus is on the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, as well as on the issue of conventional weapons in Europe.
To understand the causes of the multilateral diplomacy crisis, it is necessary to evaluate critically the changes in the global economy. The Valdai Club conference in Vienna is a venue where solutions can be proposed to mitigate risks facing the EU and the consequences of secondary US sanctions against Russia.
Thus, the sessions of the European Conference will be devoted to the following groups of issues:
“Does Multilateral Diplomacy Have a Future? Views of Russia and the EU”. The egocentric principle of “me first” recently adopted by the United States is becoming more widespread. Have we entered a new ‘Game of Thrones’ era or is it just a new stage of turmoil, to be followed by a new model taking shape?"
The session "European Security Post Arms Control. The Threat to Peace and How to Oppose It" will discuss two decisions made by the Trump administration – to quit the “Iran deal” and suspend the INF Treaty. What are they to be replaced with?
During the session titled “Are Sanctions a New Global Regulator? Reducing the Collateral Damage of Economic Wars”, experts will discuss whether or not economic restrictions are becoming the most effective way of promoting a country’s foreign interests.
The partners of the Club, in organising the conference, are a trio of influential institutions in Austria: the Austrian National Defence Academy, the military higher educational institution of the Austrian armed forces and the research centre of military sciences of the Federal Ministry of Defence, Institute for Security Policy (ISP), an analytical centre specialising in research in international relations and security, especially in Central Europe and in the post-Soviet space; and the Research Cluster for Polemology and Legal Ethics at the University of Vienna, which focuses on basic research solutions, military science and conflict resolution.
The Valdai Club conference is expected to be attended by the most prominent experts in the field of politics and economics, international relations and regional studies from Russia, Austria, Norway, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Denmark, France and other countries. Among them are Thomas Greminger, OSCE Secretary General; Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO); Asle Toje, Scientific Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and others.
From Russia, the conference will be attended by Alexander Grushko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Mikhail Ulyanov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation at international organizations in Vienna; Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs; Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs; Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, and others.
Upd: On May 21, the Valdai Club was planning to hold in Vienna its sixth European conference, in partnership with a number of respected Austrian organizations. It was supposed to feature leading Russian and European, including Austrian, experts. However, the Austrian co-organizers cancelled their participation on short notice. In his welcome speech at the Russian Embassy in Austria, Andrey Bystritskiy, the Valdai Club Chairman, said that this must have been caused by the recent domestic developments. “The important thing is not the problems that arise, but our attitude to them,” he said. The conference will take place in another venue (Grand Hotel Wien) and dialogue between Russia and Austria will continue against all the odds. The transcript of Andrey Bystritskiy’s speech is available here.