MP Open Call: Your Direct Line to Europe’s Policymakers #16
The Open European Dialogue is committed to strengthening dialogue between policymakers across Europe by providing a neutral, informal, and accessible space for conversation. Our MP Open Calls grew out of this mission and are a space for parliamentarians to set the agenda, discuss pressing national and European issues, and support each other by sharing best practices and concerns.
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KICKOFF DIALOGUE WITH MPs FROM 7 COUNTRIES
With this dialogue, we kicked off another year of Open European Dialogue activities. The call was joined by parliamentarians from Austria, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden. They were joined by Iryna Solonenko, Senior Fellow at the Center for Liberal Modernity, and Raphael Bossong, Senior Researcher and Deputy Head of the EU Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. Together, they mapped emerging challenges for European parliaments as the Russia-Ukraine war entered its second year.
Below, you will find the highlights of the conversation, with resources and perspectives that surfaced during the discussion. We hope they will spark your interest and expand this space for us all, as we continue to collectively explore and pursue pathways for better political dialogue in Europe.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CONVERSATION
1. The time in-between: preparing for negotiations
As a scenario in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, parliamentarians thought about what a significant success for Ukraine could look like, and reflected on how European countries would position themselves at future negotiation tables.
While everyone agreed on showing staunch support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, different perspectives emerged when discussing what this support meant in practice. A shared perception is that there is a strong need to use the time in-between now and future negotiations wisely, doubling down on getting ready to talk with the widest set of stakeholders possible, without only waiting for big players like the US, the UK, and France to make the first move.
“Something is clear: there is no (negotiation) model on the table at this moment in time.”
“Any peace that involves giving up any piece of Ukrainian land is not worth the paper it is written on.”
Participants also saw the uncertainty and instability as opportunities for deeper parliamentary involvement in international organizations. They considered whether, in addition to the debates about NATO and the EU enlargement, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, could play a bigger role in helping to define a way forward.
“I would be curious to know how other countries look up to the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO?”
2. Candidate status for Ukraine, now what?
What happens after a country receives candidate status? Participants discussed whether the EU could deliver on what it promised and what the real and deeper implications would be.
“There is so much we need to start thinking about and getting ready for.”
The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy emerged since agriculture played a huge role in the negotiations between the EU and Central and Eastern Europe member states, foreshadowing what might be expected in negotiations with Ukraine.
“What is in the space in-between Ukraine now and Ukraine as an EU member? A question that should not just be discussed by heads of state, but also in parliaments.”
3. Neighbouring countries are watching
What are the implications of the war in Ukraine for countries like Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia? Participants stressed the willingness to continue supporting citizens of those countries that, for geographical, political, and historical reasons, are much more affected by Russia’s political and economic influence.
“We should remember this is not about making compromises on territories, it is actually about people.”
4. New tools and strategies for political campaigning
Thinking about upcoming elections in Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg, and Slovakia, politicians asked themselves how to keep up to date on new tools for political communication. Some strongly recommended using online citizen participation tools, such as Your Priorities, which can help politicians better articulate their policy ideas; others are curious to learn more about platforms like TikTok which seems widely used in the United States, but not as much in European political campaigning.
The issues of how we contrast hate speech and the diffusion of fake news during critical upcoming electoral campaigns across Europe were also raised, with particular concern over the upcoming Polish elections and, more in general, about the role of media in the European public debate.
“Accepting citizens’ input and saying clearly what we are also afraid of will be crucial to find common ground.”
“We observe a growing perception that citizens and policymakers operate in two parallel universes, and the distance between the two seems huge.”
CALL TO ACTION: HOUSING POLICIES IN THE EU
Members of the Open European Dialogue have voiced their interest in identifying best practices and ideas for sustainable housing policies. They feel this is a shared European challenge, currently aggravated by the issue of inflation and its impact on housing loans.
If you want to join a working group on this issue, please email us at email@example.com.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING
Stay connected with your colleagues. The contact details of politicians and experts who participated in this MP Open Call, and those of all other Open European Dialogue members, can be found in the members-only area of our website.
The Open European Dialogue is a network driven by members of parliament. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you as best we can to connect and work with your colleagues from across Europe in these challenging times.