The roundtable meeting “Dialogue between civil and governmental actors on energy security” was held on April 25, 2018 in the office of Casimir Pulaski Foundation. It was the first 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)
The experts from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine and Poland presented the results of the deep interview about good practices and gaps in communication between governmental and business bodies as well as civil society on the energy security issues.
According to experts of the Visegrad countries and Ukraine a strategic communication in the field of energy security is primarily initiated by civil actors and energy companies, at the same time the responsibility of energy security rests with the governments.
Commenting the reply of Polish respondents on the question about who should be responsible for energy security, Dr. Natalia Slobodian, the research leader of project team, said: “All respondents believe that it should be common responsibility both state and business with using instruments of market and non-market influence and state should guarantee the sustainable development and stability of the energy sector”.
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 strategic communication on the national level works very nice but if we look on the international level it looks like “hard talk”, everyone competes for market and prefer to cooperate only as a case of „ crisis scenario“.
Debating the issue of communication in the case of energy crisis, Michaela Karaskova, the President of KNO Czeska, underlined that communication and cooperation on the multi- stakeholder level exists in the Czech Republic and there is no problem. “Problem can be in future because of the lobbyists in government field. Maybe we could take experience from crisis 2009 and we have to have more drills/ more practice,” – she explained. “One of the respondent during deep interview said next words,” – pointed out Michaela Karaskova, -“crises happen, everything changes, you need people give the information. Government is responsible for the communication and there is no adhoc scenario.”
The key elements of platform for communication in the case of energy crisis between V4 states and Ukraine was in the focus of discussion. Summarizing the results of deep interview, Ukrainian expert from Center for Global Studies Strategy XXI, Vitalii Martyniuk explained: “An authorized national coordinator in the energy security sphere in Ukraine is not fixed because there are two levels of coordination – the governmental level and national (presidential – NSDCU) level, that impedes comprehensive and effective energy security communication”.
Hungarian expert Andras Jenei from Center for Fair Political Analysis added that in the case of energy crisis, the only thing a V4-cooperation could do is to agree on not to abandon Ukraine in the event of a security of supply problem, due to the fact that the gas markets of Ukraine’s neighbors are relatively small.
Replying the question why we need in the energy crisis communication platform, – to react on the crisis or to prevent one, Dr. Natalia Slobodian said: “We could use our cooperation to prevent the energy crisis in coming years. Moreover, let’s look at the military sector. They regularly have so-called command and staff exercises or games. Where possible military threats and emergencies are modulated as well as the all potential scenarios how to solve or mitigate the problems or threats are in the focus of these games. I strongly believe that we should not wait for a new energy crisis we have to be ready now through simulate potential crises and looking for the best solutions”.
Experts have indicated 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 first event of the project that will allow to organize comprehensive simulation of the energy crisis during that will take place during Warsaw Security Forum 2018 conference in October 2018. The roundtable is part of “Energy security and effective strategic communication the civil and governmental actors: V4+Ukraine” project carried out in cooperation with International Visegrad Fund and partner organizations from V4 states and Ukraine: Research Center of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association from Slovakia, Centre for Global Studies “Strategy XXI” from Ukraine, KNO Česko, spol. s r.o. from Czech Republic, and Center for Fair Political Analysis from Hungary.