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Back to the Future and the Return of Geopolitics


27 Feb 2023


Global Europe
Conference to confront Europe’s Reality one Year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and ask hard questions about the future.

Brussels, Belgium


A year after Russia invaded Ukraine, a dynamic conference will be held in the Solvay Library in Brussels on March 9th to address how Europe and the world have changed. The think tank MCC Brussels is hosting the unique pan-European conference. It aims to provide a venue to consider the geopolitical implications of a momentous year in international politics. 

In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conference will seek to clarify the changed international landscape and probe the deeper trends that have led us to this moment. After many years in which it was said that globalisation or the EU had ended European wars, organisers say we urgently need to rethink the foundations of international order. Europe’s top thinkers in international relations, strategy, military thought and international history will be speaking and offering a unique opportunity to probe the contours of our new era. Themes will include: 

· Is Europe prepared for a new era of geopolitical rivalry? 

· Is the West as united as it seems? 

· What will a lasting solution to the war in Ukraine look like? 

· Are we seeing the dawn of a ‘geopolitical Europe’? 

· What is the role of national interests and historical legacies in the current era?

Announcing the conference Professor Frank Furedi, executive director of MCC Brussels, said, “Until recently, it was widely thought that Europe had become a war-free zone. With the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, we no longer suffer from that illusion. History has returned with a vengeance, and it is now evident that the sources of conflict that darkened our continent in the 20th century have not disappeared. Faced with the militarisation of global affairs, we must confront and understand the return of geopolitics in Europe.” 

Conference speaker Svitlana Morenets, author of Ukraine in Focus for the Spectator

and former freelance journalist in Kyiv, said, The outcome of the war against Ukraine will define the future of other small democracies bordering aggressor countries. As a domino about to fall, rewarding the invader will prompt others to seek power by conquering their neighbours and building threatening nuclear alliances as Russia does today.”

Asked what her hopes were for this conference scheduled speaker, Polish academic Dr Monika Bartoszewicz, Associate Professor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, quoted Jeffrey Sachs, who said: “The question for Europe, in my opinion, truly is: Is your job to support American hegemonic aspirations, or is it to protect European security?’ This observation begs another question: Do both sides of the Atlantic want the same when it comes to this war?” 

Prof. Werner J. Patzelt, Research Director, MCC Brussels, said one of the pressing concerns that we must address is, "The EU must acknowledge that, without NATO, it remains militarily helpless and, without the USA, economically vulnerable. It needs to accept that European values are exceptional, not globally shared. Therefore, self-protecting interests must be defined and underpinned by sustainable technological and military power." 

Join some of Europe’s top thinkers in international relations, strategy, military thought and international history for a unique opportunity to probe the contours of our new era. 


S. John Tsagronis, Professor of National Security Affairs, The Institute of World Politics; Svitlana Morenets, author, Ukraine in Focus for the Spectator; Philip Cunliffe, Associate Professor in International Relations, UCL & co-host, Bungacast; Ralph Schöllhammer, Senior Lecturer, Webster Vienna Private University; Maria Engström, Professor of Russian, Uppsala University, Sweden; Robert Castel, Israeli author and geopolitics specialist; Caroline Galactéros, President, Geopragma; Petr Drulák, Professor at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen; Monika Gabriela Bartoszewicz, Polish Academic; and Frank Furedi, Executive Director, MCC Brussels.

Statement Ends –

Conference Details Here