On December 8, 2017 on the margins of the 24th OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna, IIASA convened a high-level event to facilitate dialogue on how to promote “Connectivity, trade, and economic cooperation in the European and Eurasian space”. The session was attended by and organized with the support of Jurij Kofner, Head, Eurasian sector, CCEIS, HSE and research assistant, IIASA. A selected group of HSE students and guest reasearchers of the Eurasian sector, HSE also took part in the conference.
The high-level event brought policymakers, diplomats, scientists and business representatives together in order to discuss how to promote connectivity, strengthen economic ties and create new business opportunities despite current political tensions.
The participants of the session were: Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat, Director General and CEO, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Ambassador Florian Raunig, Head of Task Force, Austrian OSCE Chairmanship 2017; Giulia Manconi, Adviser, Italian Delegation for the Economic and Environmental Dimension, upcoming Italian OSCE Chairmanship; H.E. Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board (Minister) for Integration and Macroeconomics, Eurasian Economic Commission; Ignacio Garcia Bercero, Director, Directorate-General for Trade, European Commission; Dr. Felipe Jaramillo, Senior Director for Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment, World Bank Group; Drs. Erik Regter, Member of the Board, Internationalisation and Digitisation, Rail Cargo Austria AG; Thomas Seifert, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Wiener Zeitung, Vienna (moderator).
Honorary guests of the event were: H.E. Mr. Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus; H.E. Mr. Kairat Abdrakhmanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan; H.E. Mr. Kairat Sarybay, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria – Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna / Chairperson of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Committee.
Mutually beneficial economic cooperation contributes to good-neighborly relations, confidence, stability and security, and it is therefore also a main focus of the work of the OSCE and its Economic and Environmental Dimension.
The panel discussed following questions:
- How can IIASA, through its academic work, and the OSCE, through its project work, contribute to connectivity and economic cooperation throughout the wider European and Eurasian Space? What are the possibilities for promoting economic cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union?
- How can we promote transport in the wider European and Eurasian Space? What is the role of the business community in developing “hard infrastructure”? How can governments promote “soft infrastructure” (harmonization of procedures and standards etc.)? What is the scope of additional infrastructure opportunities through the “One Belt and One Road Initiative” (OBOR)?
- How did different OSCE Chairmanships promote the work on connectivity-related aspects of security? What has been achieved during the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship 2017?
Recognizing the potential of youth to contribute to economic cooperation and sustainable economic development, Marina Steiniger, Junior Economist, ifo Center for International Economics – the winner of the contest of the International Youth Forum “Future of Eurasian and European Integration: Foresight – 2040”, hosted by IIASA and INES, reported on how young people can enhance connectivity and how they perceive opportunities for closer economic cooperation in the wider European and Eurasian Space.