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17-19 May

One Past, Many Futures

Lennart Meri said that, “Europe has one past, but an infinite number of futures.” The recent past has undoubtedly been tumultuous and the immediate future looks set to follow a similar pattern. But nothing is pre-destined. We must do all we can to shape these many futures into a positive common past.

Conference Summary


Lennart Meri once said: “Politics is a factory producing the future”. The Lennart Meri Conference (LMC) 2019 tried to peep into the future and also, in some context, to shape it. One thing was pretty obvious from the first hour of the conference: the topic of China is here to stay.

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Kersti Kaljulaid

President of Estonia

Ursula von der Leyen

Minister of Defence, Germany

Marshall Billingslea

Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Thomas Bagger

Thomas Bagger

Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Germany

Oliver Bullough

Journalist and author, UK

Camille Grand

Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment at NATO

Constanze Stelzenmüller

Fritz Stern Chair, Brookings Institution

Ekaterina Schulmann

Associate Professor of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Russia
Conference Agenda

Agenda and recordings

To view video recordings of the discussions click on public panels not restricted by the Chatham House Rule.

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Said at LMC 2019


Analyses, commentaries and interviews that decode foreign, security and defence policy trends and published in the Lennart Meri Conference special edition of ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.

My Neighbour’s Problem Today – Mine Tomorrow

2,000 years ago, the Roman poet Horace said: “You too are in danger, when your neighbour’s house is on fire” (nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet). Today, when states seem to prefer to retract into their shells like turtles rather than fight global…

LMC 2021
A billboard with Chinese President Xi Jinping looking down over a boulevard in Belgrade next to the words “Thank you brother Xi”, a message paid for and created by a pro-government tabloid in Serbia.

COVID-19 and the Search for European Strategic Autonomy

A virus has redefined power politics. On the big stage, the European Union needs not only to prop up the multilateral order, but also to promote a multipolar order and develop into a power among powers.

U.S. President Joe Biden at the EU-U.S. summit in Brussels in June 2021. Relieving the U.S. of some of the burden of European defense means giving the Biden administration more leeway to protect democracy at home, Constanze Stelzenmüller argues.

America Is Back, but… Europe and Especially Germany Need To Do Much More for European Security

It took President Joe Biden nearly five months before he made his first trip abroad in June, to Europe; he had more important things to do. Arguably, that is still the case today.