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6th Annual Conference
The Vaclav Havel European Dialogues
Prague, May 20, 2019

The EU between Yesterday and Tomorrow

Evropské dialogy Václava Havla

“Everything seems to attest to the fact that we don’t need to be afraid to dream of the seemingly impossible if we want the seemingly impossible to become reality. Without dreaming of a better Europe we will never be able to build a better Europe.”

Václav Havel, Address at the Council of Europe, 10 May 1990

The Václav Havel European Dialogues is an international project that aims to initiate and stimulate discussion about issues determining the direction of contemporary Europe while referring to the European spiritual legacy of Václav Havel.

In the year of the 15th anniversary of our accession to the EU and just four days before important elections for the European Parliament, we want to share our thoughts about the performance of the Czech Republic in the EU and of the EU in the Czech Republic and in Central Europe, and also look towards the future especially through the eyes of young people whose lives will be influenced by the EU.


When and where

  • Date: 20 May 2019
  • Place: DOX+, Poupětova 3, Prague 7
  • Organizer: Vaclav Havel Library
  • Partners: European Commission Representation, The European Parliament Liaison Office in the Czech Republic, DOX Center for Contemporary Art, Ministry of Foreign Affairs


12.30–13.00 Registration

13.00–13.15 Introduction

Michael Žantovský (Vaclav Havel Library), Dana Kovaříková (European Commission Representation)

13.15–13.35 A performance by Bohdan Bláhovec on the theme of “The EU between Yesterday and Tomorrow”; musical accompaniment by Jakub Cermaque

13.35–14.50 Panel I.: EU – A Matter of Love or Marriage of Convenience

In his address at the European Parliament back in 1994, Václav Havel said that having studied the Maastricht Treaty and other documents on which the EU is based, the appeal was to his reason, not to his heart. Prior to accession to the EU, a considerable part of the population was influenced by the euphoria from “returning to the West”. In the 2003 referendum, 77% of people voted for to join. Can we say now, 15 years later, that the citizens’ hearts burn for the EU? How are we experiencing European identity today? Isn’t it just a marriage of convenience, stripped of all emotion? Where can the EU’s positive ‘charisma’ be found, especially for young people?

Věra Jourová (European Commission)
Lenka Zlámalová (Echo24)
Martin Povejšil (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Pavel Rychetský (Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic)

Speaker: Jiří Hošek (Seznam TV)

14.50–15.10 Coffee Break

15.10–16.25 Panel II: Central Europe in the EU and the EU in Central Europe

In some respects, Central Europe has been living through the European identity crisis in recent years. Efforts appear to turn the wheel of the pro-western direction towards the East. What is causing this crisis, and how is it manifested in individual countries of the region? And how is the EU perceived by young active people who are engaged in civic life and are trying to struggle against the other direction? Could the approaching European elections indicate a positive turning point?

Jan Spiewak (Wolne Miasto Warszawa association)
Karolína Farská (Iniciativa za Slušné Slovensko initiative)
Karoly Nagy (Youth organisation of the Momentum party)
Václav Němec (philosopher, pedagogue)

Speaker: Michael Žantovský (Václav Havel Library)

16.25–16.45 Coffee Break

16.45–18.00 Panel III: The Millennials and the Future of the EU

For young people, the EU is an obvious part of their life. How do they view it, and how do they see its future? How do they perceive the approaching European elections? Are they pro-European by rule of thumb? What can they do so that other countries do not follow the example of Great Britain? What specific steps and recommendations do young people have for the EU and their peers?

Kovy (youtuber)
Jaroslav Miller (Principal of Palacký University in Olomouc)
Barbora Kollárová (finalist in the essay contest of the Václav Havel Library)
Vojtěch Dyk (singer)

Speaker: Zuzana Tvarůžková (Czech TV)

18.00–18.15 Closing Remarks: Tomáš Petříček (Minister of Foreign Affairs)

18.45–20.00 Music programme: The Odd Gifts

The whole conference will be simultaneously translated between English and Czech languages.