The mission of the Institute is to cultivate the Czech political and public sphere through professional and open discussion. We aim to create a living platform which defines problems, analyzes them, and offers recipes for their solution in the form of cooperation with experts, politicians, international conferences, seminars, public discussions, and political and social analysis available to the whole of Czech society. We believe that open discussion with experts and the recognition of the causes of problems is a necessary presumption for any successful solution to the political and social problems facing society today.
Future of Global Free Trade – Transatlantic Perspective
There are many issues facing the future of transatlantic trade between the US and the EU. Arguably the three most important are: 1) What happens with the UK?, 2) US sanctions relating to Nord Stream 2, and possible tariffs on European vehicles, 3) The relationship between the US and China.
These three events will all strongly influence how the EU and the US proceed with transatlantic relations. The UK is faced with competing and contradictory demands from the EU and the US but needs to come to individual agreements with both. Additionally, the sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and potential for tariffs on European cars is creating a rift between the US and EU and, thus far, appears to be souring relations at least a little bit. Finally, the US has adopted a “two-track” approach to China. The relation between China and the US is key to the EU, which is stuck in the crossfire of the ongoing trade war between the two.
This paper will first give a brief background on EU-US trade, before going into the what will happen next with the UK. Following this, the paper will examine the possibility of additional tariffs on European vehicles and the current sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and what these both mean for the EU. Finally, US-China relations and their effect and relevance to the EU will be reviewed.
AI-Driven Transformation: The state of Artificial Intelligence and its Innovative Potential in V4 Countries (Visegrad Inteligence)
AI and automation trends should not be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity for the V4 countries to modernize their economies, raise wages and overall welfare. It can play a unique role in restructuring and boosting productivity gains, supporting countries' convergence with EU income levels and preventing the risk of slowing down.
V4 countries have huge research and business potential in AI. Yet, when acting on their own, they can neither implement globally relevant commercial projects, nor can they properly prepare for the political and economic impact of AI on our societies. V4 needs more common AI projects, both in R&D and policy, to remain competitive and better prepare for the transformation that will affect young generations.
Public policy and R&D efforts are scattered among too many public and private stakeholders in V4 countries. Public and private R&D centres work on similar projects and politicians only recently started to reflect the political importance of AI and automation. This will change the structure of labor markets and supply chains, which by itself is a regional issue. The governments should therefore set clear rules and an overall framework for cooperation on regional basis on the grounds of V4/CEE.
To fully utilize this opportunity countries need to invest in and cultivate innovation. Unlike Lisbon or Stockholm, none of V4 major cities are listed in global rankings of startup hubs. V4 needs strong ecosystem based on AI, HPC and cybersecurity. The support for concentration of R&D shall be coordinated to the regional hubs and mutually supportive networks to maximize V4 competitiveness.
V4 countries shall get fully involved in all EU activities in AI and the V4 coordination shall be in line with building of the European AI ecosystem. The Czech V4 Presidency 2019-2020 is a very good opportunity to articulate and coordinate priorities in AI, including all V4 working groups, and high-level meetings that deal with innovation and AI. It shall serve also as a preparation for the Czech presidency of the EU Council (2022), followed by the Hungarian presidency (2024) and Polish presidency (2025).
The European Commission outlined specific actions for investments in AI in the Coordinated plan, including talent, skills and life-long learning that are very important for V4 countries. The current focus is primarily on testing and the transfer of technologies to businesses is very valuable, however, the EU should support the whole ecosystem to strengthen its global and regional competitiveness in AI. Therefore, it should be covered in Horizon 2020, but also in new the Digital Europe Program to support the building of the whole ecosystems on this basis.
The challenges of automation for V4 economies are often underestimated. Not only will low-income professions face higher risk of replacement, but those with middle-level qualifications also. This can lead to a deepening of economic inequality in society. The governments shall play an important role in reshaping the educational system and in supporting the adaptation of workers and businesses to new conditions. They should include policies that can be initially unpopular or difficult to implement but may create a significant competitive advantage for the whole economy in the long run.
AI.EU Policy Recommendations
AI should be the EU's true moonshot. We should not only develop safe AI but using AI to ensure the safety and security of Europeans. The overall narrative should be changed by showing examples of using AI for citizens’ benefit.
If Europe cannot fully compete in the development of AI in all areas, it should build on quality, rather than quantity of R&D and support a competitive AI ecosystem. The regional specialization should be embraced and the EU-wide AI hubs focused on such specific areas should be supported. DARPA style research calls should be set up to attract talents from outside of the EU.
The EU should draw strict lines to prevent misuse of AI, similar to how the GDPR set clear rules for the use of technology without compromises. However, the legislation should be enacted only to answer market demand.
New AI regulation should set clear rules to create legal certainty and support the development of AI, not to hinder innovations and undermine Europe's position in the AI race.
Europe should focus on leadership in AI applications in line with fundamental rights and values. Its main competitive advantage should be a strong emphasis on unbiased, societally benefit and pro-democracy oriented AI applications, especially towards developing countries.
Europe should embrace AI deployment to companies (esp. SMEs) ahead of China and the US, support the potential future champions and direct financial support towards this goal. It should be the ultimate tool for convergence of EU economies.
All Europeans should have an equal possibility to gain benefits from AI and automation. It should be one of the goals for the planned European Future Fund.