Why New Realities in EU Foreign Policy?
EU foreign policy experiences unprecedented turbulences that put key achievements of the European integration project at risk. Externally, the EU’s global environment is characterized by the reconfiguration of power, growing divisions, and the contestation of established liberal order. Simultaneously, the EU’s neighbourhood is increasingly conflict prone and instable, triggering migration flows and the proliferation of illiberal values. Domestically, the EU faces severe internal conflicts, marked by austerity, Brexit, growing nationalism, populism and new protectionism. COST Action ENTER aims to improve our understanding of central properties of EU foreign policy in light of these new realities, focusing on perceptions, communication, contestation. In today’s world, the success of EU foreign policy depends on the EU’s ability to instantaneously respond to stimuli and pressures originating from both the international and the intra-EU levels. Linking internal and external policy dynamics, the Action has a strong potential for breakthrough scientific developments. A central objective of the action is to derive theoretically informed, policy relevant advice for the EU’s strategic approach to its international relations, its communication, and for dealing with the interaction between internal and external challenges. It will generate a step change in how the new realities of EU foreign policy are theorized and addressed. This will be achieved by establishing multi-national, multidisciplinary collaborations at the nexus of policy fields and research communities that have not sufficiently communicated in the past. Substantive efforts to bridge between the academic-practitioner divide are made, to synthesize knowledge, facilitate shared understandings, and inform EU foreign policy.
- Producing a common understanding of the nexus between the new internal and external realities in EU foreign policy. This involves: developing a shared terminology; and conceptualising the main characteristics of the new realities.
- Developing knowledge for new theories on the interaction of the new realities and related EU policy practices in the dimensions of perception, contestation, communication and relations moving beyond national research traditions.
- Integrating a fragmented research landscape: providing a platform for comparative work among dispersed research communities on EU foreign policy, targeting scholarship on individual policies areas with particular focus on climate change; energy, migration, trade, and foreign policy. It will enhance Europe’s research and innovation capacities in the field.
- Stimulating new common research: identifying new research gaps and ways of addressing them; drawing on theoretical insights developed to address the challenge; setting up joint pooling initiatives and collaborative project proposals during the Actions implementation period.
- Facilitating dialogue between academics and other professionals concerned with European policy practices facing new realities. This will be implemented through the interdisciplinary, multi-research community WGs established by this Action.
- Communicating comprehensive policy practice analyses considering the acquired knowledge on new realities and identified shortcomings. The inclusion of the consolidated analyses and potential recommendations to the dissemination channels used regularly by the national, supra- and international policy actors is our highest ambition.
- Training and strengthening an interdisciplinary community of early career researchers especially from ITC countries. Organisation of two Winter Training Schools on Theory and Methods (in year 1 + 2), two Spring-Schools Young Academics meet Praxis (year 3 + 4), Webinars on targeted topics.
- Facilitating mobility by organising Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) within the Actions network and
beyond to complement perspectives, inspire research and forge new links among partners.
- Allocating Conference and Workshop Grants with a preference on ITCs through dedicated calls based on
programme and selection criteria developed through this Action.
- Inviting systematically new candidates from all stages of career and across disciplines to participate in the Action to produce new partnerships and collaboration. Measureable in new members joining the Action during its implementation.
- Founding space for cross-pollination between researchers and practitioners through using inviting more extensively participants from EU institutions and making use of transdisciplinary instruments.
- Bringing together sectorial experts to build collaborative research proposals.
- Integrating researchers of ITCs through Leadership of WGs, Steering Committee and activities planned.
- Generating leadership opportunities for Early Career Investigators (ECIs) through e.g. allocating workshop grants, representation in the Management and Steering Committee, leading the ECIs own network and building up a mentoring system with senior researchers as personal advisor.
- Setting up innovative formats for the dialogue on research questions and dissemination of results for stakeholders and the public to have novel inputs via citizen science approaches (such as iterative learning loops, Open Situation Rooms, European Lounge talks etc.). Measureable in amount of participants, disseminated information and received feedback.
Chair of COST Action ENTER: Prof. Dr. Michèle Knodt
Co-Chair of COST Action ENTER: Prof. Dr. Patrick Müller