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Experts of IFAT delivered lectures at the 19th Euro-Atlantic Summer University

Several experts of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade attended the 19th Euro-Atlantic Summer University, held between 22-27th July, 2018. Director Márton Ugrósdy as well as Bence Németh, Tamás Levente Molnár, Máté Szalai and Gergely Varga research fellows participated in the event organized jointly by the Budapest Garrison Brigade "Vitéz Sándor Szurmay" and the Center for Strategic and Defense Studies of the National University of Public Service in Szolnok.


The topic of Monday was the changing world order where Bence Németh gave a lecture about the role of the United States during the Trump administration's term. His presentation focused on economic issues; based on the pillars of the National Security Strategy he talked about the challenges the country faces in terms of the trade deficit and indebtedness of the population. He also discussed President Trump's popularity indicators and the evolution of the US military presence.

On Tuesday the topic of the day was trans-Atlantic ties and NATO. Following a brief historical overview, Márton Ugrósdy presented the European policy of the former American administrations and the current president. The US government paid more attention to the Indo-Pacific region over the past period, however, the US did not leave the European powers alone, rather it expected greater autonomy from them. Reflecting on the current situation, he stated that the relationship between Donald Trump and the European leaders was tense due to economic issues, but in the field of military relations, American commitment remained constant.

Gergely Varga evaluated the NATO summit in Brussels in his lecture, outlining the expectations for and the results of the summit. Donald Trump has often highlighted the importance of collective burden-sharing since he has taken office and at the recent summit the conflicts associated with this notion surfaced again. While at the meeting several measures were adopted to strengthen the alliance, the unity of NATO became uncertain as a result of the military commitments of the European powers and the attitude of the American president.

Máté Szalai assessed the crisis management of the US in the last two decades in his presentation, which he began by discussing the theoretical background and the practical implementation of crisis management. He demonstrated through examples taken from George H. W. and George W.  Bush, Obama, as well as the Trump presidency that, while the Kuwait crisis was handled well by the United States, the US involvement in the Afghan, Iraqi and Libyan interventions was not that successful. He identified the reasons behind this in the features of the changed world order and the questioning of the credibility of US hegemony, as well as in the American management of allied and non-allied partners. As a result of this process, regional actors and other global players are increasingly taking the lead in dealing with crises.

The title of Wednesday was the “Future of Europe”. The invited speakers evaluated the reform plans for European integration from the point of view of certain EU member states. Tamás Levente Molnár started his lecture with a short historical introduction, in which he assessed the European idea as the normative foundation defining German politics. After analyzing the EU and the German social support for Emmanuel Macron, the French president’s reform plans, he presented the different concepts of the German-French "tandem". He outlined the prospects for a possible EU reform and the various difficulties of amending the treaties. Finally, the German position on the above-mentioned reform plans - institutional, defence, migration, financial - was detailed.

In addition to the lectures, the researchers/representatives of IFAT participated in several panel discussions. During the program on Monday, Bence Németh exchanged ideas about the potential great power conflicts in the Middle East and East Asia, while Márton Ugrósdy, Máté Szalai and Gergely Varga discussed the dilemmas of the trans-Atlantic alliance on Tuesday. Tamás Levente Molnár talked about the prospects of the further development of European integration, and he also reviewed the support and acceptance of the European political elite on Wednesday.

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