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An event that has achieved to become a benchmark on its very first edition
‘20
Welcome to a benchmark event for intellectual and academic discussion
A forum focussed on Excellence and Diversity
  • A unique meeting guided by the excellence of its speakers and guests.
  • A benchmark event for intellectual and academic discussion.
  • A space to encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences.
Why an Atlantic discussion forum?
The phenomenon of globalization and the appearance of new powers with a strong focus on being in the spotlight have transformed the classical geostrategic equilibriums. New areas of influence have burst with economic and political strengths which present a clear challenge to western countries and the values they have defended throughout history.

Western civilization is being challenged by new political and economic models. However, the Atlantic axis maintains its status as a reference space in the world order. Beyond conjunctural circumstances, the two shores of the Atlantic constitute a community with a homogeneous cultural model that has defined our societies on both sides of the ocean. A humanistic model that protects the human being conceived as a unique being and whose rights and freedoms must be protected and preserved.

Our history is Atlantic, as it is our reality and will necessarily be our future. Not only is this accurate from the geographical point of view, but also culturally and economically. Despite competition from other areas of the planet, the Atlantic space continues to be an area integrated by economically, politically and socially developed countries, in an overwhelming majority.

Foro Atlántico "La Toja" is created as a space for dialogue between both sides of the Atlantic, an invitation to look together at the challenges we share, the problems we have to face and the possibility of doing it together. This is a major opportunity to look to the future from our common roots and our shared interests.
A vocation of excellence and plurality
Unlike other events, Foro Atlántico “La Toja” is posed as a singular meeting which is guided only by the excellence of speakers and guests. The forum is not meant to be a crowded date, but a benchmark for intellectual and academic debate. The guests will have the opportunity to listen to experts talking about their respective fields and to chat with them in an atmosphere specially designed to promote that exchange of ideas and experiences.

The independence of the criterion, plurality and excellence are the approach that will define the organization of the forum, which has no economic or business interests. It is guaranteed a balanced representation of the countries that form the Atlantic area to ensure the different visions and contributions of both seashores and hemispheres.
In defense of liberal democracy
Liberal democracy is one of the elements that have defined the value system of our western civilization. Nowadays this model, based on the limitation of political power through institutions, in open deliberation and respect for minorities, seems to be suffering a profound crisis that appears in many different ways: the rise of excluding nationalisms, the delegitimization of the representative system, the accession to power of messianic and authoritarian leaders, the attacks on the separation of powers or the press freedom, etc.

Populisms of all kinds, conceived as a way of subverting democratic institutions from within democracy, represent a clear threat to our current model of society. Our political systems must reconnect with citizens to rebuild the bonds of trust on which to articulate the representative systems. It is necessary that open societies are able to give effective answers to problems such as inequality and social exclusion, insecurity or migratory flows that foster disaffection.

Beyond the purely academic or political debate, it is also important to pay attention to the influence that this phenomenon is exerting on other aspects of reality such as the economy, the rights of individuals or the geostrategic situation. The rise of protectionism, the manoeuvres of internal destabilization as a new form of confrontation between countries or the growing risk of massive disinformation are some of the symptoms and consequences of this new paradigm.

All these elements are a subject for discussion and reflection at Foro Atlántico “La Toja”, always based on an unequivocal commitment to the values of liberal democracy and its achievements throughout history.
Central themes
Forum Boards
  • Reconstruction
    The COVID-19 crisis has hit the Spanish economy like no other in Europe. In addition to the slump in tourism and the service sector, our export power has also suffered due to falling demand and the trade tensions that had begun before the pandemic. Where should we focus our reconstruction efforts? It is possible that the COVID-19 tragedy will allow the Spanish economy to be transformed on radically different bases and find new axes on which to establish future welfare. European aid will require reforms to correct some of the endemic problems in our production structure. Never before has the need to get priorities and reforms right been so apparent.
  • Will nothing be the same in the world to come?
    According to political scientist Ivan Krastev, one of the paradoxes of COVID-19 is that it has accelerated the trend towards deglobalisation which began during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, while simultaneously showing the limits of renationalisation. We want strong States, capable of stockpiling the necessary supplies to tackle the crisis, but we also know that the scale of the pandemic far exceeds the capacity of most countries to face it alone.

    Just a few months before the USA elections, international leadership there seems to be increasingly blurred; nor has Chinese power emerged unscathed from what has occurred in recent months, making the world more unstable than it was even before the pandemic. The race for the vaccine is just the latest episode of the global struggle between the two superpowers. A competition that goes far beyond economic rivalry and is increasingly a global dispute, from the military to technology, from trade to strategy. We are facing what experts already define as a hotter Cold War than the first one. Aware of its own crisis and the resolution of Brexit, Europe has a new opportunity to define its necessary leadership on the new geopolitical scene.
  • The european response
    Europe has responded to this pandemic with a previously unseen ambition and determination. The leading role of the European Central Bank in sustaining the liquidity of the economy and the reconstruction funds approved by the European Council last July point to a hopeful future for the continent. Without the British slowing down further integration, the Franco-German axis has managed to impose an effective European response to the crisis. However, the powerful figure of Angela Merkel is about to leave the political stage and divisions between the “frugal”, “pro-cohesion” and “Visegrád” blocks, which are becoming increasingly entrenched, do not augur well for a bright future in European politics.
  • An inter-generational dialogue about values
    The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on our social life, consumption habits, relationships, education, politics, etc. Everything has been affected by a situation that was unimaginable in our once certain world.
    Of the multiple phenomena that we are witnessing, the ‘double crisis’ suffered by younger generations is perhaps the most concerning one. Young people are the first to be expelled from the labour market in times of crisis, and it is they who hold the least stable and lowest paid jobs. Their political representation is scarce, and inter-generational solidarity–that decisive element of social cohesion–doesn’t seem to address their urgencies or priorities. The crisis that we are facing can only be overcome if we consider the values that allow an advanced democracy and an open society to function. But in the search for solutions, dialogue between different generations of leaders is essential to share experiences, sensitivities and proposals.
  • Pre- and post-pandemic digitisation
    The pandemic has sharply accelerated the process of intense digitisation in which our societies were engaged. Teleworking, online education, online assistance, e-commerce and electronic administration have been implemented in all areas during this pandemic, the consequences of which would have been even worse without the support of digital technology.

    This crisis has also allowed us to appreciate the importance and value of next-generation broadband networks. Over the past few years we have heard what sounded like a slogan: Spain has more fibre optic connections than France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined. Thanks to this, during the pandemic we have been able to work from home, home school and meet with friends and family virtually during lockdown.

    The pandemic has helped us all to understand the depth of public debate on data collection and the limits of such control. Digital tracing tools have served as the testing ground for the use of our data and our right to privacy.

    Another far-reaching division has been created in our societies: remote workers and on-site workers. While the former have the training and resources to adapt to the post-pandemic world, the latter risk being the big losers when, paradoxically, their role was crucial during lockdown.
Speakers
2020 edition
  • Alberto Núñez Feijóo
    Presidente de la Xunta de Galicia
  • Alejandro Romero
    Founder of Alto Analytics
  • Amador Ayora
    Director of El Economista
  • Angel Gurría
    General Secretary of the OECD
  • Antonio Garamendi
    President of the CEOE (Spanish Confederation of Employers' Organisations)
  • Antonio Huertas
    President of MAPFRE
  • Antón Costas
    President of the Cercle d'Economia Foundation
  • Bárbara Navarro
    Director of Strategy at Google Asia
  • Bruno Maçaes
    Political Scientist and Writer
  • Carlos López Blanco
    Senior Adviser at Flint Global
  • Emiliano García-Page
    Presidente de la Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha
  • Emilio Lamo de Espinosa
    President Elcano Royal Institute
  • Enrico Letta
    Ex-Prime Minister of Italy Dean at Sciences Po
  • Ernesto Zedillo
    Ex-President of Mexico. Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization
  • Felipe González
    Ex-President of the Spanish Government
  • Fernando Ruiz
    Presidente de Deloitte España
  • Ivan Krastev
    Political Scientist
  • Javier Faus
    President of Cercle d’Economia
  • Javier Lambán
    Presidente del Gobierno de Aragón
  • John de Zulueta
    President of Círculo de Empresarios
  • Josep Borrell
    High Alto representante de la Unión Europea para Asuntos Exteriores y Política de Seguridad Común y Vicepresidente de la Comisión Europeaof the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • Josep Piqué
    President of La Toja Forum
  • Josep Sánchez Llibre
    Presidente de Foment del Treball Nacional
  • José Juan Ruiz
    Economista y ex jefe y gerente del departamento de Investigación del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo
  • José María de Areilza
    General Secretary of the Aspen Institute
  • José Vicente de los Mozos
    Deputy Managing Director of Renault Group
  • Juan Carlos Escotet
    President of Abanca
  • Juan Manuel Moreno
    Presidente de la Junta de Andalucía
  • Lucía Gandarillas
    Public Services Consultant at Accenture
  • Luis de Guindos
    Vice-President of the European Central Bank
  • Mariano Rajoy
    Ex-President of the Spanish Government
  • Michael Reid
    The Economist
  • Miguel Jiménez
    Director of Cinco Días
  • Nacho Cardero
    Director de El Confidencial
  • Nacho Torreblanca
    Director and Senior Researcher of the European Council on Foreign Affairs
  • Pablo Hernández de Cos
    Gobernador del Banco de España
  • Rebeca Grynspan
    Secretary General of the Ibero-American General Secretariat
  • Robin Niblett
    Director of Chatham House
  • Rocío Martínez-Sampere
    Director of the Felipe González Foundation
The location
Galicia, a land with an atlantic spirit
Galicia is the most Atlantic of the Spanish regions, thanks to its location in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula and to its character, always related to the sea.

The history of Galicia offers multitude of references that connect with the organization of a project of this nature in its territory. Galicia constituted a forum of attraction and cultural mixing thanks to the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela, a phenomenon that undoubtedly contributed to build the current European identity and, by extension, the occidental culture.

The proximity – even with the language – between Galicia and Portugal brings to the forum the Iberian character. The celebration of this kind of meeting outside the common locations as Madrid and Barcelona also contributes to offer a more plural and balanced image of the Spanish reality.
Gran Hotel de La Toja, an iconic establishment
With over 100 years of history, Eurostars Gran Hotel La Toja 5* is truly iconic.
Galicia is the most Atlantic of the Spanish regions, both due to its location in the far north-west of the Iberian Peninsula and due to its character, which has always been connected to the sea. The history of Galicia has many references that tie in with the organisation of a project of this nature in the region. Galicia represented an appealing cultural melting pot as a result of pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. This undoubtedly contributed to shaping current European identity and, by extension, Western culture. The proximity -even linguistically- of Galicia to Portugal adds to the Iberian nature of the Forum. Holding a meeting of this kind outside the usual venues of Madrid or Barcelona also helps to convey a more diverse, balanced image of Spain.