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Visegrad Insight Podcast

Visegrad Insight Podcast

By Res Publica
VIP is the number one podcast on Central Europe from Central Europe. Hosted by Quincy Cloet and Wojciech Przybylski editors of the Visegrad Insight.

We are the main platform of debate and analysis on Central Europe. Our media think tank generates future policy debates committed to liberal democracy principles and transatlantic partnership.

Special focus on: democracy, democratic security, information sovereignty, green future, energy security, future of work, civil society leaders, digital economy, Visegrad Group, Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, European Union.
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How to Stop Corruption from Gaining Ground in Central Europe?
The ongoing rule of law debacle in Poland and Hungary and the case of a  whistleblower in Romania are only signals of a wide-spread problem of coercive clientelism and corruption that beset Central Europe. So-called judicial reforms or changes to media pluralism undermine checks and balances rather than strengthening the democratic institutions of the  region. We discuss recent analysis on Visegrad Insight by our Fellow  Edit Zgut on coercive clientelism in Poland and our Associate  Ruslanas Iržikevičius who questions politicians eager to welcome the unapproved Sputnik-vaccine. The episode continues with a personal testimony by Camelia Bogdan, a judge on the Bucharest Court of Appeals,  and an explainer provided by democracy expert Alina Mungiu-Pippidi from the Hertie School in Berlin. Coercive clientelism on the rise in Poland: For Borrell's Europeans, Sputnik AK-47 is here to save you: This episode is organized in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy. #Romania #Poland #Hungary #Slovakia #SputnikV #vacccine #justice #corruption
March 4, 2021
After Biden's Munich Speech, CEE Faces a Clearer Choice
The  words of US President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference last  week suggest the Trump years of transactionalism and cosying up to  autocrats are over. Whether it concerns energy or human rights, the US  is demanding a clearer stance by Central and Eastern Europe vis-à-vis  Russia. This may have an impact on Nord Stream 2 but also the EU's  foreign policy regarding the Eastern Partnership, which has in the  previous decade been anaemic in countering Russian aggression and  supporting democratisation in the Eastern neighbourhood. We discuss  recent opinion and analysis on Visegrad Insight regarding these topics  by Senior Associate Marcin Zaborowski and Fellow Zsuzsanna Szabó,  followed by a discussion on the future of the Eastern Partnership  framework with  Orysia Lutsevych (Chatham House) and Pavel Havlíček (AMO). Biden gears up to take on Russian energy influence: No appeasement from Biden in Munich: This episode is part of the Eastern European Futures (EaP2030)  project supported by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. – Black Sea  Trust. Read our scenarios for the Eastern Partnership region: #Biden #Russia #energy #Munich #security #EaP2030 #NordStream2
February 24, 2021
Thirty Years Old: The Visegrad Group in Perspective
Earlier  this week, the signing of the Visegrad Declaration in 1991 was  commemorated as an important moment and stepping stone for Central  Europe in its pathway to European integration. European Council  President Charles Michel joined the four leaders in Kraków for a  discussion to map out the future of the V4. But what achievements can  the Visegrad Group look back on in the past thirty years? We hear former  Slovak ambassador Magdaléna Vášáryová talk about the group's historical  and present-day significance. We also discuss relevant pieces by  Fellows Zsuzsanna Szabó and Radu Albu-Comănescu, recently published,  showing how Central Europe is acting and being perceived in the wider  European arena. Ten Things You Should Know about the Visegrad Group: Can France and Central Europe Truly Reconcile? Bringing Real Competition to the CEE Gas Market: #V4 #Visegrad #Czechia #Hungary #Poland #Slovakia #France #Romania #diplomacy #energy
February 18, 2021
Considering the Future of the Eastern Partnership in Defiance of Threats
During and after his visit to Moscow, Josip Borrell was heavily criticised by MEPs and national governments for the ill-timed diplomatic encounter with Sergey Lavrov after a severe crackdown of the Russian authorities on protests in support of Alexei Navalny. What signal did it send to the neighbouring countries of the Eastern Partnership? We speak with Stanislav Secrieru, Senior Analyst at the European Union Institute for Security Studies, about the EU’s neighbourhood policy and concrete successes and realisations of the EaP framework that was revamped last year – just before COVID-19 struck in full force. With Nicolas Tenzer, President of the Centre d’étude et de réflexion pour l’Action politique (CERAP) and Editor of the Revue Le Blanquet, we zoom in on the EU’s attitude and approach towards Russia as a source of threat and instability in Eastern Europe. Read a public appeal (in French) for Europe to respond with a firm voice against Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia: This episode is part of the Eastern European Futures (EaP2030) project supported by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. – Black Sea Trust. Read our scenarios for the Eastern Partnership region: #Russia #Belarus #Moldova #Azerbaijan #Armenia #Ukraine #Putin #Georgia #EaP2030 #COVID-19
February 11, 2021
Markets surviving COVID. How?
Fluctuating levels of the pandemic-related governmental restrictions resulting in the unpredictability of the markets and economies have been one of the largest issues facing businesses in CEE. At the New Europe 100 Forum in October 2020 Martin Ehl, Chief Analyst, Hospodářské noviny (Czechia), Martyna Trykozko, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, 300Gospodarka (Poland) and Ignacy Morawski, Founder & Head, SpotData (Poland) analyzed the challenges that markets had been encountering since the pandemic started. Summary of the conversation, “The Economic Casualties of COVID-19”: The New Europe 100 network is a project by Res Publica Foundation that brings together people who have a global impact through their groundbreaking expertise, unique skills and social outreach. In partnership with Visegrad Insight, StartUp Hub (Poland), SAPIE (Slovakia), Skool (Hungary) and Dataweps (Czechia). Supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
February 9, 2021
Business Entangled with Politics: PPF Group's Acquisitions in CEE
The  sheer size and weight of the Czech financial and investment group PPF  (based in the Netherlands) have raised a few eyebrows in Central Europe  in previous years because of investments in important sectors such as  media and telecommunications. While PPF's founder Petr Kellner has kept a  low profile and consistently emphasised the group's focus on efficient  business, his encounters with politicians and promoting conservative  values suggest a different agenda. In this week's episode, we speak with  Visegrad Insight Fellow and Czech journalist Albin Sybera about PPF's  investments in Serbia, a Chinese connection and why CEE should know more  about this group. Serbian telecommunications market is PPF's latest target: Czech business empire with a political tinge: #Czechia #business #politics #PPF #investment #China #Serbia
February 4, 2021
The Roaring Call for Civic Emancipation in Russia and Eastern Europe
Last  weekend, protests were held in 196 Russian towns and cities following  the arrest of Alexei Navalny upon his return to Russia. With a  heavy-handed and violent crackdown on protesters, the Kremlin is opting  for the same tactics used by Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Belarus and Viktor  Yanukovych in response to the Euromaidan in 2013. The possibility of  continued instability in the coming weeks and months has implications  for the wider region: the events are closely followed all across the  Eastern Partnership. To understand regional perceptions and possible  futures for Eastern Europe, we invited several experts from the EaP  region for initial comments and analysis. We hear from Grigorij  Mesežnikov (IVO - Institute of Public Affairs), Hanna Liubakova  (Atlantic Council), Zaur Gasimov (University of Bonn), Oksana Forostyna  (Yakaboo Publishing), Liana Zakaryan (Citizens Voice and Actions) and  Dionis Cenusa (Justus-Liebig-University). This  episode is part of the Eastern European Futures (EaP2030) project  supported by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. - Black Sea Trust.  Read our scenarios for the Eastern Partnership region: #Russia #Belarus #Moldova #Azerbaijan #Armenia #Ukraine #Putin #Navalny #EaP2030
January 28, 2021
COVID-19 effect on education: what is the economic impact?
School  closures since the start of the pandemic have brought tremendous  social ramifications for children, however, they have also led to  dramatic consequences in terms of loss of revenue and diverging economic  wellness for present and future generations. Edit Inotai, Senior  Fellow, CEID (Hungary) and Larissa Zierow, Deputy Director, ifo Center  for the Economics of Education (Germany) discuss COVID-related learning  losses and economic effects at the New Europe 100 Forum 2.0 that took  place in December 2020. Summary of the conversation, “COVID-19’s Long-Term Impact on Education”: The New Europe 100 network is a project by Res Publica Foundation that brings together people who have a global impact through their groundbreaking expertise, unique skills and social outreach. In partnership with Visegrad Insight, StartUp Hub (Poland), SAPIE (Slovakia), Skool (Hungary) and Dataweps (Czechia). Supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
January 27, 2021
Working during a pandemic
How  does the future of professions and enterprises look like? Will working  from home for many of them become a new normal, and is it sustainable?  Does the real estate branch in general, and co-working spaces in  particular, have chances to survive the pandemic? Res  Publica's Tomasz Kasprowicz talks with Ketevan Ebanoidze, Co-CEO of  Impact Hub Tbilisi and Jerzy Brodzikowski, General Manager of CIC Warsaw  about the challenges of working during the pandemic and  potential outcomes. Summary of the conversation, “Work-Life During a Pandemic”: The New Europe 100 network is a project by Res Publica Foundation that brings together people who have a global impact through their groundbreaking expertise, unique skills and social outreach. In partnership with Visegrad Insight, StartUp Hub (Poland), SAPIE (Slovakia), Skool (Hungary) and Dataweps (Czechia). Supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
January 27, 2021
Guarding the Guardians: Social Media Platforms and Free Speech
Talk about social media platforms taking a more active stance against hate speech and persons inciting to violence has ruffled feathers in Warsaw and Budapest. While some governments in Central Europe are now planning to legislate on protecting freedom of speech online, other more concerning digital power issues may continue unchecked. In this week’s podcast, we speak with the Kalecki Foundation’s co-founder and Visegrad Insight Fellow Filip Konopczyński about regulatory efforts against disinformation. We also ask Visegrad Insight Junior Fellow Maria Ciupka about the social media situation in Central Europe and her work on social bubbles online. #freedomofspeech #socialmedia #V4 #TrumpBan Law and Justice party’s conquest of digital media: Visegrad Insight weekly outlook:
January 21, 2021
Democratic Institutions under Attack
A  couple of weeks in, 2021 shows signs of being as eventful as the  previous one. In the first episode of the new year, Wojciech Przybylski  and Quincy Cloet look at what the storming of the US Capitol means for  world politics and Central Europe in particular, where autocratic  leaders have been inspired and abetted by the Trump playbook. Closer to  home, incitation to violence and attacks on democratic institutions have  also emerged in recent years. Besides, we discuss the January events of  1991 in Lithuania, how Czechia and Slovakia perceive the EU, followed  by state power and digital media in Poland. Vacuum for chaos - monthly foresight for January 2021: January 1991 events in Lithuania: Digital empire in the making in Poland: EU-membership of Czechia and Slovakia: #US #Capitol #Lithuania #Czechia #Slovakia #history #Poland #media
January 14, 2021
In the future, will education secure you a job?
The  world has shifted dramatically over the past several decades.  Nevertheless, one of the evergreen issues persists, and that is  employment. A lot has been said about finding and keeping jobs. However,  the question facing us nowadays is whether education is still key to  securing them. Res  Publica's Wojciech Przybylski looks for an answer with Pavlo Sheremeta,  Founder of the Kyiv Mohyla Business School and former Minister of  Economy of Ukraine, Louisa Slavkova, Executive Director of Sofia  Platform (Bulgaria), and Botond Feledy, Manager of the European  Leadership Programme (Hungary). Here is the summary of the conversation, “Pragmatic Learning”. The New Europe 100 network is a project by Res Publica Foundation that brings together people who have a global impact through their groundbreaking expertise, unique skills and social outreach. In partnership with Visegrad Insight, StartUp Hub (Poland), SAPIE (Slovakia), Skool (Hungary) and Dataweps (Czechia). Supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
January 12, 2021
Education. Future is Here
Year  2020 has forced us to embrace technological solutions to challenges  that we were hardly prepared to handle. However, now we have the chance  to leapfrog and adapt to the world where effective digital  learning becomes a new normal. At the same time, does technology  actually make education better? Res Publica's  Tomasz Kasprowicz talks with Anna Grąbczewska, President of  the Children's University Foundation, and Prof. Krzysztof Kozłowski,  Vice Rector of the SGH Warsaw School of Economics about what should be  the essence of the future education. Summary of the conversation, “Education, the Future is Here”: The New Europe 100 network is a project by Res Publica Foundation that brings together people who have global impact through their groundbreaking expertise, unique skills and social outreach. In partnership with Visegrad Insight, StartUp Hub (Poland), SAPIE (Slovakia), Skool (Hungary) and Dataweps (Czechia). Supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
December 31, 2020
Artificial Intelligence in Education: Mission Possible?
The use of technology in non-IT  sectors is comparatively dire in Central Europe.  In order to stay in  pace with the rest of Europe, and the world, the region needs to adapt  quickly. Solutions lie in familiar places – in the situation Central  Europe finds itself, education will have to be one of the foremost  solutions to tackle the issues facing industry and the general business  sector. Wojciech  Przybylski talks with Eva Maydell, Member of the European Parliament,  about what education should look like in order to make future for  Central European businesses brighter. Summary of the conversation, “Central Europe’s Digital Divide”: The New Europe 100 network is a project by Res Publica Foundation that brings together people who have global impact through their groundbreaking expertise, unique skills and social outreach. In partnership with Visegrad Insight, StartUp Hub (Poland), SAPIE (Slovakia), Skool (Hungary) and Dataweps (Czechia). Supported by the International Visegrad Fund.
December 27, 2020
2020 In Perspective
In  the last episode of the year, the Visegrad Insight Podcast looks back  at the key events of 2020 and considers the impact they may have on  Central Europe in the next years. Whether it was the agreement on the  European Recovery Fund, the Biden election, COVID-19 or the ongoing  protests in Belarus, all of these significantly shaped events and  perceptions as well as policy directions that were taken by the V4  countries. Next year will see us return with a fresh pair of eyes to  follow the next generation of civil society activists, plans to mitigate  climate change and to deal with the aftermath of the pandemic crisis. Weekly outlooks and monthly foresights: Our special reports on Central Europe: #V4 #Central Europe #Poland #Czechia #Slovakia #Hungary #EU #Belarus #Biden #COVID19
December 21, 2020
The State of Central Europe after the December EU Summit
In  this podcast, we ask the question about the state of central Europe  after the last EU summit. Just before the negotiations, Victor Orbán and  Mateusz Morawiecki along with Jarosław Kaczyński were threatening to  veto the next Multi-annual Financial Framework and the European Recovery  Fund. While the leaders of both countries were telling the story of  Central European unity and support, in fact, we also heard vocal  opposition to the veto from other countries in the region. While  the V4 does not need a coherent voice on every possible political  initiative (and it is often just a platform for consultation), the  nature of the cooperation between these countries remains a valid  question, especially after two V4 members were threatening the vital  interests of everyone else against common sense and acceptable norms.  Views from across Central Europe are provided by Marcin Zaborowski (Res  Publica Nowa), Zuzana Stuchlíková (Europeum), Edit Zgut (Visegrad  Insight Fellow) and Tomáš Strážay (SFPA). Weekly outlook Monthly foresight #EU #Hungary #Slovakia #Poland #Czechia #ruleoflaw #V4 #CentralEurope
December 17, 2020
Where Is Romania Heading?
Elections  in Romania were a tight race but the socialist party PSD eventually  earned 30 per cent of the votes. With very low turnout, a difficult  economic and pandemic situation this might well turn out into a pyrrhic  victory for the populists who do not have obvious coalition partners in  the new Romanian Parliament. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban  has already resigned following the elections. This gives us a moment to  talk about the political game and the future outlooks for Romania in  Europe. Our two guest speakers are Radu Albu-Comănescu, Visegrad Insight  Fellow and a Lecturer in European Integration at the “Babeş-Bolyai”  University of Cluj-Napoca, and Oana Popescu Zamfir, Director of the  GlobalFocus Center and Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy magazine  Romania, who previously served as State Secretary for European Affairs  at the Romanian Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Security and the  Elderly. Radu Albu-Comănescu's analysis of the parliamentary elections and implications for Central Europe: Weekly outlooks and monthly foresight at Visegrad Insight:
December 10, 2020
Can Czechia Pull Off a Big Tax Cut to Boost the COVID-19 Recovery?
The lower house of the Czech Parliament passed a radical plan supported by governing party ANO to lower income taxes as of January 2021. While the legislation is yet to be approved by the Czech Senate and signed by the president, it has already sparked controversy for its questionable economic objectives as well as the fact the law was passed with the support of opposition parties instead of ANO’s social-democratic coalition partner. Is Prime Minister Andrej Babiš trying to secure voter support in the runup to next year’s elections or can the tax cut plan bring major benefits to overturn the pandemic-driven recession? We discuss the political and economic implications of the plan with Chief Analyst of Hospodářské noviny and our Senior Associate Martin Ehlas well as Czech freelance journalist and Visegrad Insight Fellow Albin Sybera. Read our weekly foresight on Central Europe: Martin Ehl’s recent contribution on the Biden administration and how the region should rise to the challenge: #Czechia #economy #taxes #COVID-19
December 2, 2020
The EU Budget Standoff, Waiting for Resolution
Today’s meeting between Viktor Orbán and Mateusz Morawiecki is the latest event in a long-brewing standoff over the EU’s Multi-annual financial framework and the COVID-19 Recovery Fund. While the European Parliament and nearly all member states agree on the overall size as well as the rule of law mechanism, Budapest and Warsaw continue to hold onto their budget veto. The 1.8 trillion euros package offers a lifeline to many recession-stricken countries, hence what are the possible scenarios and their economic implications? Our guests this week are: Daniel Kelemen, Jean Monnet Chair at Rutgers University, Piotr Arak, Director of the Polish Economic Institute, and finance journalist and Visegrad Insight Fellow Zsuzsanna Szabó. Wojciech Przybylski on why Hungary will give up its veto: The veto strategy of Budapest and Warsaw analysed by Daniel Kelemen for Politico:
November 26, 2020
A New Path for Moldova? Maia Sandu Wins the Presidential Election
Maia Sandu’s astounding victory in the run-off of the presidential election with 57 per cent of the vote against 42 per cent for incumbent Igor Dodon was positively received all across Europe. The real challenge begins as president-elect Sandu will endeavour to align Moldova's foreign policy more closely with the EU while maintaining close relations with Russia. Can the largely symbolic office of the president create a profound change for Moldova, as we have previously witnessed in Slovakia after the election of Zuzana Čaputová? We discuss the Moldovan presidential election with Denis Cenușawho is a Researcher at the Institut für Politikwissenschaft and PhD Candidate at Justus-Liebig-Universität (Germany). This  episode is part of the Eastern European Futures (#EaP2030) project  supported by the German Marshall Fund of the United States - Black Sea  Trust. Read our scenarios for the Eastern Partnership region: Change in Moldova: find out what Maia Sandu will focus on in her presidency in an analysis written by Denis Cenușa: #Moldova #EaP2030 #EU #Russia #MaiaSandu
November 18, 2020
Breaking the Stalemate in Belarus
More than a thousand protesters were detained during the latest demonstration on Sunday 8 November against the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko. Without dialogue between the state and society about a democratic transition but instead a hardening of the regime, how will the opposition movement keep momentum in the upcoming months? We speak at length about recent events in Belarus, European and transatlantic efforts to support the democratic movement as well the all-present Russia factor with Joerg Forbrig, Senior Fellow and Director for Central and Eastern Europe at the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin. This episode is part of the Eastern European Futures (EaP2030) project supported by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. - Black Sea Trust. Read our scenarios for the Eastern Partnership region: What role do women play in the protests? Find out in ‘From Beauty Queens to Freedom Fighters’: #Belarus #protests #Germany #EU #Russia #UnitedStates
November 12, 2020
Elections That Matter: The United States and Georgia
In a crowded electoral season, two elections caught our attention this week: the race to determine the next United States president and heated parliamentary elections in Georgia. While mail-in ballots are still being counted across the Atlantic, we discuss recent analyses on Visegrad Insight on the Trump administration, its impact on Central Europe and what to expect from the next administration. To understand events in the South Caucasus, we asked Stefan Meister, Head of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Tbilisi Office, to provide a critical perspective on the Georgian election results and the wider Eastern Partnership (EaP) context. This episode is part of the Eastern European Futures (EaP2030) project supported by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. - Black Sea Trust: Find Wojciech Przybylski’s analysis on Central Europe and the next US president here: #Georgia #EaP2030 #Elections2020
November 4, 2020
No Involvement in Politics for the Young
Central Europe’s younger generations are not deeply engaged in both the political system and civil society, according to different studies. We speak with Zuzana Papazoski, Resident Director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Poland, concerning public opinion research done by NDI on young people’s attitudes to the political environment and liberal democratic institutions. This is a special episode in the context of the New Europe 100 Forum event “Graduating into the Future” taking place this week. The Forum focuses on young people with an entrepreneurial mindset and an interest in politics and society, bringing them together with top thinkers, influential politicians and entrepreneurs from the region. Read NDI country reports on youth attitudes here: Find out more about the next New Europe 100 Forum events: #V4 #youth #politics #digital #innovation #education
October 26, 2020
Can the Three Seas Initiative Deliver?
The  Three Seas Initiative (3SI) is an ambitious initiative supported by 12 EU member states who seek to improve north-south connectivity by means of energy, digital, and transportation structure. Earlier this week in Tallinn, a number of declarations were made at a joint 3SI meeting by the countries involved,  however, how much can the initiative deliver to meet high expectations in the upcoming years? We discuss the general significance of such a  cross-country initiative and the particular importance of 3SI for some Central European countries with Jiří Schneider, a policy analyst and a former Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as former Executive Director at Aspen Institute Central Europe. New Europe 100 Forum Agenda: 100 free tickets, register by 25 October: #3SI #ThreeSeasInitiative #Czechia #NE100
October 22, 2020
A Warning Sign for the Czech Governing Coalition
While only one-third of seats were up for grabs, the verdict of the Czech Senate elections was crystal clear: governing party ANO (YES) managed to secure only one seat and its left-wing social-democratic coalition partner ČSSD went from 10 seats down to zero. The opposition parties performed well in the elections, both for the Senate and at the regional level, an encouraging sign for their prospects in next year’s parliamentary elections. How should we understand the outcome of the October vote and what can we anticipate of Czech politics in the upcoming months? We talk to Pavel Havlíček of the Czech Association of International Affairs (AMO) about the result of the elections and the possible implications for Czech foreign policy. Zuzana Stuchlíková, Associate Research Fellow at Europeum, explains to us what are Czechia's foreign policy priorities in the EU but also with particular reference to the rule of law. Finally, we discuss scenarios for Czechia with Martin Ehl, a Chief Analyst at the Czech daily newspaper Hospodářské noviny. Read Pavel’s electoral analysis for the German Marshall Fund: Find recent articles about Czechia on Visegrad Insight: #Czechia #elections #foreignpolicy #EU
October 15, 2020
Lithuania: Vocal Defender of Rights and Freedoms in the Region
Parliamentary  elections in Lithuania are scheduled to take place on 11 and 25 October 2020. Vilnius has been a  strong supporter of the Belarusian people in their protests against Lukashenko.  Recently, Lithuania also welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron for  an eye-catching visit. What are the reasons behind Lithuania’s growing  importance in the wider region and to what degree will the upcoming elections shift foreign policy priorities? We speak with Monika Bičkauskaite, Programme Assistant at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, about the  stakes in the election and Lithuania’s changing role in the EU. Visegrad Insight’s  Senior Associate Marcin Zaborowski puts the upcoming elections in a wider  foreign policy perspective. Read Monika’s recent article on Lithuania in the EU: Recent publications about Lithuania on Visegrad Insight: #Lithuania #EU #Belarus
October 8, 2020
Nagorno-Karabakh on the Brink of War
The  latest eruption of fighting all across the disputed territory of  Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but  mostly populated by ethnic Armenians, risks challenging a long-held  status quo in the Southern Caucasus. Currently one of the  longest-lasting disputes in Europe, the renewed border clashes and the  high death toll will put a fragile ceasefire (in place since 1994) in  question. With major regional interests at stake (Russia, Turkey, Iran)  and after years of unfruitful attempts at reconciliation, how can  belligerents Azerbaijan and Armenia return from the brink of an all-out  war? We speak with Polish journalist Anna Zamejc about the historical  origins and present-day context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We  also discuss regional perceptions of recent events and possible  scenarios with Richard Giragosian of the Yerevan-based Regional Studies  Center as well as Zaur Gasimov, a researcher at the East European and  Russian History the University of Bonn. Scenarios for the recent outbreak of open warfare: Azerbaijan's realignment in favour of a Turkic alliance: #Armenia #Azerbaijan #Turkey #Russia #EaP2030
October 1, 2020
Who Pays for Trusted Journalism in the V4?
While the state independent media environment is dire in Hungary, not all hope is lost for the rest of Central Europe. In spite of economic challenges for smaller national media outlets and risks of political polarisation contaminating quality reporting, there are a number of tools and options available to reporters, editors and publishers to weather the current storm. We speak with Aida Kaisy of the Ethical Journalism Network about her recent investigations of the media environment in the region and how trust in journalism can be (re)built. Who is responsible for the free press? How illiberals are taking advantage of COVID-19: Read the latest report of the Ethical Journalism Network about Hungary: #V4 #informationsovereignty #journalism #media
September 24, 2020
The V4 Braces for the Autumn Wave
Despite public statements by V4 ministers to coordinate actions and keep borders open, the recent spike in COVID-19 is set to spoil the party. With Czechia placed on the list of “red zone” countries by Slovakia just days after the Slavkov format meeting between the two countries and Austria, this may be the beginning of a return to stricter border controls and even temporary lockdowns. After an eventful summer, we look at the main topics that are driving the agenda of the V4 countries in the upcoming months. Read about Slovakia’s measured political action: Recent recent articles on the V4 region: #V4 #Czechia #Slovakia #Hungary #Poland #COVID19
September 16, 2020
The Art of the Serbia-Kosovo Deal
With an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo signed in Washington to strengthen economic ties between the two Western Balkan countries, Donald Trump appears to have sealed a much-needed foreign policy success. Is it a “major breakthrough" in his words or rather a small symbolic step in normalising ties – also between Kosovo and Israel? In this week’s episode, we speak with Ivan Vejvoda, a Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences and a former Senior Vice President for Programs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, about the impact of the recent US-initiated signing ceremony. Find out what a Joe Biden victory could mean for the Balkans: Read more about the Western Balkans: #Serbia #Kosovo #Trump #Israel
September 10, 2020
Will U.S.-EU relations get any better should a Democrat win in November?
Three  years of Donald Trump presidency have not been easy on Europe nor on  Transatlantic relations, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic  having exacerbated the EU-US partnership. Trump's bad instincts, which  we saw in the first term, would be multiplied several times in the  second term. We  speak with Anthony L. Gardner, a former US Ambassador to the EU under  President Barack Obama who has recently published a book entitled Stars  with Stripes: The Essential Partnership between the European Union and  the United States. This podcast features also Marcin Zaborowski, senior  associate at the Visegrad Insight and editor in chief of Res Publica  Nowa, who comments on the book. Material for this podcast has been  recorded before summer as part of an exclusive Visegrad Insight  Breakfast meeting for senior diplomats, experts and journalists from  Europe and the USA. All the Bad Instincts - Interview with Anthony L. Gardner, a former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union by Julia Jabłońska Stars with Stripes book More on Visegrad Insight Breakfasts Tags: USA, EU, Trump, Central Europe
September 3, 2020
Why Germany may be the key to CEE security?
Carlo Masala, full professor for International Politics at the Bundeswehr University Munich, lecturer at the University of Munich and member of the senate of Munich School of Political Science, discusses the present German perspective on CEE. Our guest speaker is hosted by Philipp Fritz, foreign correspondent for Welt and Welt am Sonntag, reporting from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States. This recording comes from an exclusive Visegrad Insight Breakfast held on 4 June 2020 on Zoom for a select group of diplomats, experts and journalists from the region. We are sharing the first part of the meeting, while the further discussion was off-the-record. More on this topic: Germany, security, Carlo Masala, CEE, Russia
August 27, 2020
All Eyes on Belarus
Last Sunday, Belarus witnessed one of the largest protests in its recent history, following a presidential election that was neither free nor fair. While Alexander Lukashenko faces widespread calls to resign, his main opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is prepared to act as the national leader in what could be a peaceful transition. With strong civil society mobilisation set to continue in the near future, we discuss a more than eventful week and also look at likely future scenarios for Belarus. Read the Eastern European Futures scenario-based report: Find out more about the Kremlin’s strategy towards Belarus: #Belarus #Lukashenko #EaP2030
August 19, 2020
China’s Influence in Central Europe
How do authoritarian international actors build relations with the V4 governments and what type of tools do they have their disposal to alter perceptions and policies? MapInfluenCE focuses particularly on China’s influence on Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia, its means of cooperation and coercion, but has recently started to map links with other authoritarian regimes. We speak with Ivana Karásková, a researcher at the Association for International Affairs ( and a founder and leader of the project, about the main findings and the next steps. Find our latest analysis about China and the V4 here: Read more about MapInfluenCE: #China #EU #V4
August 12, 2020
Is there a future for Belarus beyond Lukashenko?
Ahead of Belarusian presidential election we spoke with David Marples, a distinguished professor at Alberta University and one of the best experts in Belarus, to describe the main trends for the country and outline potential developments in a short and medium term perspective. This recording is part of our exclusive video chat series called Visegrad Insight Breakfast where experts, diplomats and senior journalists continuously engage in off-the-record discussion on the region but sometimes speakers allow to have their introductions recorded and shared further. Further reads: Read David Marples' analysis of the latest developments before the election: Find out more about Belarusian political parties and their Kremlin partners: Tags: Lukashenko, Belarus, Eastern Europe
August 6, 2020
A Differentiated rather than a Divided Country
A Differentiated rather than a Divided Country On 12 July, more than 20.5 million votes were cast in the Polish presidential election by just over 30 million registered citizens. Many observers claimed that the result of this neck-to-neck race is a turning point for Poland and its role in Europe. Is it true that the votes for the two candidates were distributed across an East-West divide of the country? Or is the Polish electoral divide more complicated than meets the eye? Wojciech Przybylski, Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight, discusses the Polish Presidential Election Result with Ben Stanley, Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Democracy (SWPS University). Watch the video of the discussion: Read more about the Polish presidential race: #Poland #presidentialelection
July 29, 2020
Poland Prepares to Withdraw from the Istanbul Convention
In 2015, Poland ratified the Istanbul Convention on gender equality and combating violence against women. Now, Poland's government appears set to withdraw from this Council of Europe convention over its supposed promotion of 'gender ideology' and alleged threats to a 'pro-family identity'. Earlier this year, the Hungarian parliament blocked ratification of the convention, raising similar concerns. Together with Magda Jakubowska, Vice President of the Res Publica Foundation, and Kerry Longhurst, Jean Monnet Professor at Collegium Civitas, we discuss the meaning of the convention and what is the plight of women and gender equality in Central Europe. Read a recent special report on Human Security: Read the #WomenAreNATO special edition of Visegrad Insight: #genderequality #domesticviolence #V4 #istanbulconvention
July 23, 2020
Will Radio Free Europe Become Radio Trump?
Our interview with a former director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on recent tensions around the US Agency for Global Media that oversees projects like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty around the world. Thomas Kent is a specialist in international reporting, Russian affairs and journalistic ethics. He joined Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in June 2016, after a career of more than 40 years at The Associated Press and has left the office by August 2018. Most recently, he was AP’s standards editor, responsible for the fairness and accuracy of the news agency’s content in text, photos, video, audio, interactives and on social networks. He also served with AP as international editor, World Services editor, Moscow bureau chief, Brussels-based correspondent for European institutions and NATO, chief of operations in Tehran during the Iranian revolution, correspondent in Sydney, Australia, and Hartford, Connecticut, and foreign desk editor in New York. He founded the “Create Your Own Ethics Code” project for the Online News Association. He has written and spoken worldwide on journalistic ethics, including ethical issues for such new journalistic platforms as virtual reality and automated newswriting. An advisor to the Ethical Journalism Network, Kent has been a board member of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, a Pulitzer Prize juror in international reporting and an advisor to the Society of Professional Journalists on revisions to its ethics code. He was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, holds a degree in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University and speaks Russian, French and Spanish. He has taught and advised at Columbia University since 1996. More on this topic:
July 16, 2020
Polish Electoral Sausage
With a few days left before the second round of the Polish presidential election, Andrzej Duda and Rafał Trzaskowskiego are trying to appeal to both undecided voters and supporters of different camps. With incredulous promises about additional social spending for mothers, an eco-charter and a row over adoption by same-sex couples, the final stretch is in full swing. With a vote that is too close to call, what scenarios could play out after Sunday? Just published: Wojciech Przybylski's international perspective on this election: Read the latest articles about Poland: #WyboryPrezydenckie #Poland
July 8, 2020
Czechia Hands Over the V4 Presidency
On  1 July, Poland took over from Czechia   the annual rotating presidency of the Visegrad Group (V4). The COVID-19  pandemic resulted in an exceptional couple of months for the Czech  presidency, even though there was a lot of work and initiative on the  V4's relationship with Germany as well as the Eastern Partnership policy  of the EU. Will the Polish presidency continue this agenda or rather  focus on other issues? Wojciech Przybylski speaks on these matters with  Vít Dostal, who is Research Center Director at the Association for  International Affairs (AMO) in Prague. Read the latest analysis about the Visegrad Group: Read Vit Dostal's article Coronavision for Central Europe: #V4 #EaP2030 #Germany #Czechia #Poland
July 2, 2020
Mr Duda Goes to Washington
Four  days before the Polish presidential election, Andrzej Duda meets with  US President Trump in an attempt to shore up his electoral base.  Recently, Trump indicated his willingness to cut the presence of US  troops in Germany and move some of these soldiers to Poland. This  sparked debate in Germany about its security interests as well as the  country's relationship with the region. Who is Central and Eastern  Europe's best friend: the United States or Germany? This episode tackles  Transatlantic relations, security and the Polish presidential election. Read more about the US and Central Europe: The latest analysis on Germany's partnership with the region: #transatlantic #CentralEurope #security
June 25, 2020
Europe of Regions
Whether  it is the Visegrad Group (V4) or the Three Seas Initiative, there is no  absence of regional initiatives for consultation or cooperation within  the European framework. We discuss the most recent meeting of the V4  leaders, how they align on the European Recovery Fund, and also focus on  questions of energy security, innovation and cross-border  infrastructure projects in the region. More on the Three Seas Initiative: Read the latest analysis about the V4: #V4 #recoveryfund #3SeasInitiative
June 18, 2020
Civil Society Futures: Scenarios for Central Europe
With  a large number of organisations and a plethora of activities, civil  society appears to be thriving in Central Europe. At the same, shrinking  civic space and financial instability are threatening the independence  and future of the sector. Civil society needs to ready itself for a  bumpy ride in the next couple of years but has the agency and chance to  remake itself with the help of technology and a new generation of  leaders. More on the report: Read the latest analysis about civil society:
June 11, 2020
State of Play on the EU Budget
While  the recovery fund announced by the European Commission is only the  beginning of a lengthy political discussion, it has reinvigorated the  budgetary negotiations and encourages a reflection on the long-term  future of the EU. More on the subject:
June 4, 2020
United or divided on the EU budget?
In this episode we discuss the unity of regions of Europe and their  relative power in the EU. We also talk about disinformation spread  through public media and how to tackle that problem. Finally, we  explain the state of play in the EU budget negotiations including ideas  and positions of Czechia, Hungary,  Poland and Slovakia. Budget, MFF, disinformation, information sovereignty, Visegrad Group, V4, EU, Hungary, Poland
May 28, 2020
Poland: when will the presidential election take place?
Despite COVID19 PiS government did not cancel the vote but the election did not take place anyway. Ahead of a new electoral campaign, we explain  the political dynamics with a spotlight on Rafał Trzaskowski who is  joining the race
May 20, 2020