May 7, 2014

Lennart Meri Conference 2014

The seventh Lennart Meri Conference, “The Security of Mare Nostrum and Beyond: The Return of Northern Europe to the World Scene?“ was held from April 25 to April 27, 2014, in Tallinn. The Conference brought together more than 400 politicians, military, academic experts and journalists from all around the world.

07.05.2014
The seventh Lennart Meri Conference, “The Security of Mare Nostrum and Beyond: The Return of Northern Europe to the World Scene?“ was held from April 25 to April 27, 2014, in Tallinn. The Conference brought together more than 400 politicians, military, academic experts and journalists from all around the world.
The overarching theme of the debates this year was the security of Northern Europe and the regions adjacent to it, including the Arctic. The opening session featured Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia; Carl Haglund, Minister of Defence, Finland; Douglas Lute, US Ambassador to NATO; and Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denmark. At the welcoming dinner, hosted by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the keynote speech was delivered by François Heisbourg, Special Advisor to the Foundation pour la Recherche Stratégique, France, and Chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London.
Much of the debates and discussions focused, not unexpectedly, on Ukraine,  and Russian policies towards Ukraine and other Eastern European non-NATO countries.  Poland’s key position in terms of the crisis in Ukraine was recognized (“Poland: A Nation on the Rise“), as were the wider political implications of the events in Ukraine (“The Global Implications of the Ukraine Crisis: Towards a Second Cold War?“, “Eastern Partnership: Perspectives Without Perspective“, and “Transatlantic Relations: Pivoting Back to Europe?“).“
The mixture of “hard power“ and “soft power“ in international relations was discussed (“Military Threats Facing Mare Nostrum“, “Energy Security: Is Natural Gas Still a Geopolitical Tool in Europe?“, “Mare Nostrum or Nashe More?“, and “NORDEFCO: Soft Power in Action“).  While some unfinished business was recognized (“Afghanistan Post-2014: The Practitioners’ View“ and “Sitting on the Fence: Finland and Sweden vis-a-vis NATO“), most of the debates looked forward to the future challenges (“The Arctic: The High Stakes in the High North“, “Estonia 10 Years in the EU and NATO: Now What?“, and “The Future of NATO: Back to the Basics?“). The last panel of the Lennart Meri Conference 2014 was titled, appropriately, as “Cyber Security: A Mission Impossible?“.
At the end of the Conference, Minister (hon.) Jaakko Iloniemi, former Ambassador of Finland to the United States, delivered a rousing Lennart Meri  Lecture, which can be listened to (as the keynote speech and all panel discussions are) at the International Centre for Defence Studies (ICDS) web page lmc.icds.ee.
The Lennart Meri Conference 2014 was generously supported by Eesti Energia, Elering, Jenny ja Antti Wihurin rahasto (Finland), Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership and Lennart Meri Tallinna Lennujaam. The Conference’s media partner was Baltic News Service.

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