November 11, 2019

Roundtable Discussion with Heather Grabbe: How to Reduce East-West Cleavages in the EU?

Heather Grabbe, Director of the Open Society European Policy at ICDS
Heather Grabbe, Director of the Open Society European Policy at ICDS

There are differences among the EU member states, however, it also depends how much different member states use this narrative for their own good. Technological change and the turn to carbon neutrality should be first and foremost seen as opportunities to seize rather than something to be fearful of.

“How much are the cleavages in Europe real and how much are they created?” was the central question in a roundtable discussion with Heather Grabbe, Director of the Open Society European Policy hosted by the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at ICDS on 11 November 2019.

The discussion also revolved around potential new topics in EU’s agenda and the essence of “geopolitical Commission”. Ursula von der Leyen has said that her Commission will be a geopolitical one. Whether this is a viable vision is yet to be seen and depending a great deal on how the EU will react to China’s growing role and the US administrations’ more direct approach to foreign policy than usual.

Heather Grabbe, as both the director of the Open Society European Policy Institute and director of EU affairs, works to ensure that open society values are at the heart of EU policies and actions, both inside and outside its borders.

From 2004 to 2009 she was senior advisor to then European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, responsible in his cabinet for the Balkans and Turkey. Before joining the Commission, she was deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, the London-based think tank, where she published widely on EU enlargement and other European issues. Her writing has appeared in the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian, among others.

Her academic career includes teaching at the London School of Economics, and research at Oxford and Birmingham universities, the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House, London), and the European University Institute (Florence). Grabbe has a PhD from Birmingham University and a BA and MA from Oxford University.


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