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The three-day proposed conference will include the following sections:

a) The EU as regional and global player. Cooperation or geopolitical competition?

The EU is an important regional actor both exercising structural and normative power in relation to the outside world. This section focuses on the challenges to the EU's soft power raised by the other competing geopolitical actors such as the Russian Federation, USA and, increasingly, China which all exhibit certain degree of influence in the EU's neighbourhood.

Issues to be debated:
- Political and economic cooperation vs. rivalries between the EU and the so-called BRICS block of states,
- Challenges for the neighbourhood states (future of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP),
- Arab Spring, frozen conflicts in the EU's eastern proximity,
- Geopolitics, spheres of influence,
- The need for a stronger European External Action Service,
- Etc.

b) The "transformative power" in the neighbourhood

Recent contributions to the European integration literature have pointed out that the transfer/absorption of European values, norms and principles (i.e. Europeanization process) could be influential even beyond the EU's geographic boundaries, particularly with regards to candidate countries and neighbouring states. This section points out that the diffusion of European ideas can be important means of exporting abroad the EU soft power model.

In this context, we can also bring to the fore the social web and mobile technologies, which have accelerated the rate at which relationships develop, information is shared and influence takes hold. People now use social technology to help shape the world's events and culture and also engage in the political and economic aspects of the community they belong to.

Issues to be debated:
- The effectiveness of the Europeanization process outside EU's frontiers,
- EU conditionality,
- Limits of the Europeanization process,
- Modern electronic communication opportunities,
- The power of social networks (Arab Spring, Occupy Wall-Street etc.),
- Consumer community (Facebook, Twitter, smart phones, social feeds, online forums).
- Etc.

c) The Eastern Partnership (EaP) looking forward: achievements and future

Security and integration have constituted two paramount and deeply intertwined priorities in the EU neighbourhood. In terms of foreign policy, the ENP and the EaP are both security oriented aiming also at enhancing the political association and fostering democratic principles and the creation of a free trade area and economic integration with the EU.

Issues to be debated:
- The EU-EaP states relationship,
- Implications for the economic and political future of the Eastern neighbourhood countries,
- EU's contribution to good governance, democracy, economic prosperity and security,
- Etc.

d) Challenging the EU's economic credentials

Europe has a major role in the world economy and its economic incentives have been the most effective instruments for generating structural change even in the neighbourhood. Deep economic engagement, multilateral frameworks of trade relations, foreign direct investments have been EU's main tools when acting internationally. However, the current economic downturn has many times hindered or postponed EU's economic profile on the global scene.

Issues to be debated:
- EU internal market,
- European Monetary Union,
- The negative consequences of the economic crisis on EU's economic strength,
- Regional development (including the neighbouring states area),
- Cross-border cooperation,
- Etc.




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