The roundtable meeting “Energy crisis management: decision-makers and civil society” was held on May 24, 2018 in the office of International Visegrad Fund. It was the second workshop in the project “Energy security and effective strategic communication the civil and governmental actors: V4+Ukraine” sponsored by International Visegrad Fund.
The project constitutes cooperation between Visegrad and Ukrainian think tanks:
1. Casimir Pulaski Foundation, Poland (www.pulaski.pl)
2. Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Slovakia (www.sfpa.sk)
3. KNO Czech, the Czech Republic (www.kno.cz)
4. Center for Global Studies Strategy XXI, Ukraine (www.geostrategy.org.ua)
5. Center for Fair Political Analysis, Hungary (www.meltanyossag.hu)
During the event experts from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Poland presented the cross-country evaluation of the results deep interviews they have conducted with decision-makers and stakeholders in their states. Also, participants of the project from Slovakia and Poland introduced the structure of energy crisis communication in their countries, as well as the platform of energy crisis communication between experts and issues of information policy, were discussed on the meeting.
Dr. Natalia Slobodian, the research leader of the project team, introduced the Polish view on the results of a deep interview with Ukrainian respondents. She emphasized, that there is a huge interest in Ukraine to develop national and regional communication in the energy security sphere. Actually, Ukraine needs in the platform for internal energy communication in the triangle Government-Business-Civil Society and the experience of Visegrad countries will be useful. Moreover, creation such platform on the level V4+Ukraune it allows prevent crisis situation and promote a quick response in a case of their occurrence. But it seems that there is an alarming trend, so the governmental bodies of Ukraine have not a possibility to pay for energy expertise. In the wake, using not first-hand information and sometimes fake research can influence the decision-making process in Ukraine.
Experts have suggested that we have the lacks communication on the international level. The need to develop standards of communication, which would be checked through training and simulate emergency situations. Dr. Samuel Goda, research fellow of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association and vice-dean at the Faculty of International Relations, University of Economics in Bratislava, stressed that in the case of Slovak Republic, besides the formal structures of crisis management, informal relations among governmental, business and think-tank representatives work very well, which makes the overall communication more flexible and faster.
Debating the results of the interview with Polish respondents, Michaela Karaskova, the President of KNO Czeska, underlined that Polish government need to set regular small workgroups meetings with energy experts, not only meeting on conferences, and to develop the official channel of communication with expert space. “As well, Polish state bodies should be more proactive and more open for the different type of communication”, – she recommended
The results of the interview with Slovak experts were evaluated through Ukrainian partners. In the conclusion, Vitalii Martyniuk, expert from Center for Global Studies Strategy XXI, stated: “There is very good internal communication in the energy sphere of the Slovak Republic but to reach effective strategic communication on the international level is hard because everyone competes for market… Regional communication is also good due to V4 and the EU formats”.
Hungarian expert Andras Jenei from Center for Fair Political Analysis added that in the case of energy crisis, the V4-cooperation could agree on to show solidarity on an institutional level towards Ukraine in the event of a security of supply problem, as three members of V4 are the only physical suppliers of natural gas towards Ukraine from Western direction. This would be a large step from the ad hoc and in situ voluntary solidarity being present as of today. As well V4 should examine the possibility of creating an expert working group from member countries to examine the transit system of Ukraine and provide policy and technical assessments and priority lists to V4 governments and TSO’s to increase gas crisis preparedness.
Mr Lubomir Chachany from Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic and Lukasz Boguszewski from Casimir Pulaski Foundation introduced the energy crisis management communication in Slovakia and Poland accordingly. Experts have indicated the need to establish standards for the strategic communication that will be verified via drills and crisis situations’ simulations. During the roundtable, a need for a regional reporting on energy situation was raised – the cooperation on this issue between the governments would improve cooperation and overall energy security in the region. The meeting was the second event of the project that will allow organizing comprehensive simulation of the energy crisis during that will take place during Warsaw Security Forum 2018 conference in October 2018.