The most distinctive feature of the CEPS Ideas Lab is its wide-ranging programme of simultaneous Lab sessions, which are organised in small, informal groups designed to foster creative and collaborative thinking. These are interspersed with larger Plenary sessions, in which political leaders engage with experts and the informed public on the big issues of the day. The February 2018 Ideas Lab attracted over 1,000 participants, testifying to the success of this format.
The purpose of the Lab sessions is to create a stimulating atmosphere that produces new ideas and concrete policy recommendations for the work of the EU institutions, national governments and international authorities.
The larger sessions, especially the Opening and Closing Plenaries, offer political leaders a platform from which to reach a pan-European audience of opinion-shapers and to show that their policies are pro-citizen.
This year’s theme is: Europe’s Choice
In our view, this theme has many aspects. It implies a Europe of shared values and a Europe that is based on institutions that allow member states to enhance their own sovereignty by sharing it with others. These values and the institutions underpinning them are threatened by a rising populism, which does not accept the values and the checks and balances embodied in the European institutions and treaties. Many politicians are seeking to achieve short term political gains, putting at risk what has been painstakingly constructed over generations. This choice will play out both in the elections to the European Parliament and in the Leaders Agenda for the EU summit in Sibiu, 9 May 2019.
This fundamental issue will be addressed at the Opening Plenary of the CEPS 2019 Ideas Lab by First Vice President F Timmermans after a short introduction by a representative of Romania, the country holding the Presidency. The same theme will again be addressed in the second plenary on Friday 22nd, by former Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni.
Early on the first day of the event, we also plan a presentation of the latest opinion polls on the values held by Europeans and their voting intentions for the EP elections.
After the Opening Plenary, we will focus in the various lab sessions on the concrete challenges ahead for the EU, exploring how they can be tackled in a way that permit citizens to see concrete value added from Europe.
One key issue will be cohesion: What has been achieved in terms of convergence and how will cohesion shape the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-27. Will there be less movement of workers when the new member states converge? What is the role of the reformed regime for posted workers?
Internal and external security will also be important priorities, especially internal security, which is now dominating the political agenda. The principal problem is clear: How can the EU guarantee security for its own citizens without building walls to exclude the rest of the world? How can the EU help the states at the external border bear the burden?
Finally, we need to ask how the EU can help restore order to a world whose very foundations are being attacked by the US. Closer to home, the EU needs to decide how to organise its relations with its immediate neighbourhood, especially those nations that remain deeply committed to a European destiny.
Ahead of the 2019 institutional reconfiguration of the EU, CEPS publishes a report that assesses how the ‘last chance Commission’ of President Juncker has fared; whether it has followed the ten guidelines it set out at the beginning of its mandate; how far it was blown off course by critical events; and whether we might see the return of a ‘political’ Commission in the second half of this year.
The report will be presented to the Lead Candidate of the PES, Frans Timmermans, at Ideas Lab.
This year, we will have an Exhibition Space, for all our participants!
More than 20 booths are available to our exhibitors and sponsors to showcase their research publications, policy contributions, or simply creative ideas and gadgets.
For more information about getting an Exhibition Booth or becoming an Ideas Lab Sponsor, click on the button below.