Year of Security in Europe (2023-2024)

The declaration of the European Year of Security emerged immediately out of the ESC/EUCE's concern about the war in Ukraine. Last year we began to see how the war impacts matters that reach well beyond the immediate war zone: global hunger, inflation, climate, migration, political unrest in distant countries, among others. This recognition inspired us to consider more broadly the security agenda of the EU and the specific European approaches to security. In our Conversation on Europe series we thus begin by exploring labor and labor security and move on to topics like mis/information, Africa-EU relations, Polish Elections. CoE is only one of the many ways we will be discussing security in the course of the year at the ESC/EUCE.

This year’s Conversations on Europe virtual roundtables respond to the theme of Security in Europe. Recordings of each of the sessions, as well as suggested readings and resources, are available on the Conversations on Europe  webpage.

Sessions are held on Tuesdays from 12:30 -2:00 PM ET.  All events will be virtual                                  

FALL 2023

September 12  | "The European Year of Skills and the Future of Labor Security in Europe" - REGISTER

Moderator:  Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh

Jane Gingrich, University of Oxford
Stefan Olsson, Deputy Director General, European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Jamie Woodcock, University of Essex

The EU declared 2023 the Year of Skills to bring attention to the challenges the contemporary workforce faces and to the European responses. It is indeed a period of transition in labor, with no little unrest. The Yellow Vest strikes are perhaps the best known of the strikes that have taken place recently in Europe. This Conversation on Europe (CoE) considers the state of labor and the security of employment. In conversation with our panelists, we will consider labor struggles, the disruption of historical industries, the insecurity caused by inflation, energy scarcity, and AI. We will consider the future in Europe of the developing culturally diverse workforce? And we will hear about EU level initiatives to develop skilled workers for the 21st century.

October 17  | "Polish Post-Election Results in Poland and their Polish Impact on European Security for Poland"  REGISTER

Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh
Paweł Lewicki, University of Pittsburgh

Jan Kubik, Rutgers University & University College of London
Michał Kotnarowski, Polish Academy of Sciences
Monika Nalepa, University of Chicago

October is the month of Parliamentary Elections in Eastern Europe’s powerhouse, Poland. On 15 October, the electorate stands at a crossroads and our invited panelists will discuss the path the Polish voters will have chosen. In addition to the implications for Poland, our panelists will discuss what the election results mean for relations with Poland’s neighbors, Ukraine in particular. And given that Brussels has repeatedly drawn attention to Polish democratic backsliding under the current government, this CoE will ask what the election it means for the EU?

November 14 | "Yaoundé Conventions 60 years on: Africa-EU Relations Now"  REGISTER

Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh
Catherine Koverola, University of Pittsburgh   

Mounir Saidani, Editor in Chief of Omran Social Sciences Periodical issued by Arabb Center for Research and Political Studies- Doha
Pernille Røge, University of Pittsburgh  
Michael Odijie, University College London
Abdou Seck, Gaston Berger University

It is 60 years since the signing of the Yaoundé Convention (1963). This was a moment in the history of decolonization when the Associated African States, 12 mainly young postcolonial Western Africa countries, signed a trade agreement with the also young European Economic Community. The Yaoundé Convention was part of the EEC’s EuroAfrica initiative, an effort to maintain a presence in the former colonies. Yaoundé initiated a series of trade and aid agreements that replaced the colonial relation with a developmental model. An era of trade and infrastructural development followed. However, many critics have suggested that this strategy of aid set off the pattern of uneven and unequal development. This Conversation on Europe and Africa takes this event as an opportunity to consider development aid in Africa historically and in its contemporary form. Our panelists bring a mix of historical and regional knowledge to the conversation, including Mounir Saidani from CERES in Tunis. Although Tunisia was not part of the Yaoundé convention, it is in the center of controversial aid discussions currently: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's recent visit to Tunis as part of a deal of aid for migration "control” left many critics concerned about this new turn in EU-Africa relations.

CANCELED- December 5 | "Interview with Agnieszka Holland, President of the European Film Academy" - REGISTER

Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh
Nancy Condee, University of Pittsburgh

Agnieszka Holland, President of the European Film Academy

As graduated from the Prague film school FAMU in 1971. She made her directorial debut with the television film “An Evening at Abdon's” (1975). Her first cinematic film was "Provincial Actors" (1978) - one of the flagship films of the so-called "cinema of moral anxiety", awarded in Cannes with the FIPRESCI prize in 1980.  She has made many films in international co-productions, including "Europa, Europa" (1990), nominated for an Oscar for the best screenplay. She also received Oscar nominations in 1985 and 2012, both for Best Foreign Language Film, for Bitter Harvest and In Darkness. In addition to many other feature films, she has produced individual episodes of major TV series in the USA (including The Wire, Treme, The Killing, and House of Cards).  She directed the miniseries Burning Bush for HBO Europe, and Rosemary's Baby, made for NBC. She is one of the directors of the first Polish series for Netflix - "1983." Agnieszka Holland's last film, "Green Border" will have its premiere at the 80th Venice International Film Festival.


January 9 | "The Race for Resource Security: MERCOSUR Negotiations and EU-Latin American Relations Now” REGISTER

February 13 | "Mis/disinformation Security: Protecting EU Values and Democracies" REGISTER

March 12 | "The Russian War in Ukraine: Displaced People and Changing Security Concerns"  REGISTER

April 9 | "Elections 2024: European Parliament Elections across the 27 Member States” REGISTER