25 February, 2013 – 09:30 to 23:00

The Central European Policy Institute is being formally launched today. In the morning we held a press briefing, where we described the goals and activities of the new-think tank.

We also launched our new project “Central Europe in the EU – Interests, values and the future agenda”. It will examine how Central Europe can best position itself in the changing EU. The power of the European Union’s common institutions is weakening, while influence of individual member-states is rising. In such an EU, with a handful of large states and many smaller ones, regional groups of states will become an important tool of exercising influence. Central Europe is one such group. But how effective it becomes at voicing its interests depends in large part on whether it can organise itself effectively, and what specific issues it decides to tackle collectively. The CEPI-demosEUROPA project will propose an agenda for Central European collaboration, and suggest how it can be best pursued.

The think-tanks are advised by a twelve-member high-level reflection group from the Visegrad Group countries and Austria. Its ideas will form the basis of a joint report to be presented in the second half of 2013. Members of the reflection group include former EU commissioner Danuta Hübner, former executive director of the Austrian Central Bank Josef Christl, publicist Ivan Krastev, foreign policy advisor to the Polish president Roman Kuzniar, head of research of the Erste Bank Group, Rainer Münz, Czech deputy foreign minister Jiří Schneider, foreign policy advisor to the Hungarian prime minister Réka Szemerkényi, and writer and journalist Martin M. Šimecka, among others. The initial closed-door discussion in Bratislava which takes place today (on Monday, 25 February 2013), is attended by the state secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Peter Javorčík.