At the EU Doorstep was a workshop designed for students who are interested in Europe’s future and consider that it will not only be shaped by the current EU member states but also by its neighbouring countries, their imaginations, expectations and (dis)illusions regarding the European Union.
Workshop participants had have the opportunity to:
- Understand the interplays between politics, media and narratives in the European context
- Examine the different perceptions of the EU that are at play in countries ‘at the EU doorstep’
- Analyse the extent to which these perceptions have implications for European integration
Objectives and Structure of the Workshop
The European Union (EU) as a sui generis organisation on the international arena is a subject of many different narratives and representations. These images evolve based on the dynamics of integration on the European continent, as well as due to both internal and external events and factors. Furthermore, representations differ depending on given political and non-political actors. Recent academic literature thoroughly analysed the narratives on the EU from European member states’ perspective. Research hence highlights a “polyphony of narratives” triggering diverse understandings of what the EU is, which elements it is based on and what it brings to a country.
In that respect, the one-and-a-half-day workshop “At the EU Doorstep: External Perceptions of the EU by Candidate and Eastern Partnership Countries” focused on the images produced on the EU from the perspective of non-EU member states. The aim was indeed to investigate how the EU is perceived from the outside, focusing on countries holding deep links with the EU: candidate countries of the Western Balkans and partner countries from the Eastern Partnership.
Taking into account the context of enlargement and neighbourhood policies, students had the opportunity to discuss the external perceptions of the EU from very specific countries, whose views are to a certain extent tangled with accession prospects and outside incentives. Thus, the workshop offered BA and MA students the opportunity to analyse, with the help of experts of the countries, different perceptions that the EU is subject to from its closest neighbours and partners. Two study options were in this respect proposed for students during the workshop:
- The first one focused on the EU candidate countries of the Western Balkans, i.e. Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
- The second possibility that students could choose from focused on countries part of the Eastern Partnership, i.e. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The workshop therefore aimed at providing students with a deeper understanding of how the EU is considered and represented from the outside. The analysis of external perceptions was based on different empirical materials collected by workshop leaders (newspapers, TV, Internet, etc.), which will also enabled students to develop their methodological and analytical skills.
The workshop was financed by the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Module ‘Internal and external challenges to the European Union’ and the Faculty of Political and International Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. It was supported by the COST Action ENTER ‘EU Foreign Policy Facing New Realities’.