Off to a Good Start: Two Scientific Workshops and First ENTER Spring School in Darmstadt, Germany

Two scientific workshops and the first COST ENTER Springschool in Darmstadt, Germany, were off to a strong start in March 2019. The events were co-hosted with the Second Management Committee Meeting of COST Action ENTER (CA17119). You can find more detailed reports of each activity below:

 

WG2 Workshop: EU’s Climate and Energy Policy

The Union’s role in developing international climate regimes and organizing international energy markets have, together with ambitious climate and energy policies followed by several European countries, elevated the importance of both climate and energy policies within many of the EU’s policy arenas. The workshop provided both substantive and ideational account for the Union’s engagement in climate and energy politics. It opened with an overview of the contemporary energy and climate policy landscape in the EU, focusing on the main political trends which come along the increasingly closer entanglement of the two. Within the ideational reflection of these trends, the workshop focused on the self-perception of the key climate and energy actors both at the European and the national level, as well as the reflection of the Union’s position in the international climate and energy regimes by third parties such as non-European countries and international institutions. Finally, the workshop nuanced these reflections by engaging policy practitioners. Throughout the workshop, questions such as “What is the current state of the EU’s climate and energy policy?”, “What ideas are attached to it?”, “How do these ideas resonate among the member states and outside the EU?”, “Are there any competing narratives in the perception of the EU as a climate actor?” were raised and discussed.

 

WG4 Workshop: Communicating EU Foreign Policy

Twelve researchers from all across Europe convened to discuss EU foreign policy with a focus on the communicative and discursive dimension of Europe an policy-making and diplomacy. Several participants discussed regional challenges to EU foreign policy with regard to their discursive dimension: be it the EU’s contested reputation in Macedonia and the Kosovo (Mare Ushkovska), or the EU’s strategic standing in the Middle East region (Nuri Korkmaz). Two participants zoomed in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Taylon Ozgur Kaya focusing on the ways in which the EU exerts discursive power in the Israeli-Pal

estinian conflict, and Bill Kappis exploring a very special relationship – the new and unexpected diplomatic alliances between Greece and Israel. Furthermore, Asligul Sarikamis highlighted the EU’s Sahel strategy and documented how European policy frames towards Africa have been redefined with regard to the security-development nexus. Franziska Müller explored how EU-Africa relations reflect the EU’s new role as  a “normative power”, and how this role becomes contested throughout the Post-Lomé process and the negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements. Norm promotion stood also at the centre of Dale Mineshima-Lowe’s contribution, which examined how the EU’s normative power is challenged by its current internal strife.

Other scholars zoomed in on European diplomacy. Heidi Maurer investigated the specific diplomatic qualities only a supra-national structure such as the European ones can create and concluded that the EU has created a unique diplomacy system, whose qualities are still underestimated. Martin Chovancik concentrated on the signaling aspect of EU restrictive measures and assessed the signaling aspect of sanctions regimes. Sanctions also were the subject of Emma Scott’s work, whose comparative analysis investigated how different EU member states refer to the nuclear deal with Iran. Catarina Thomson provided an ‘inside view’ by presenting the first-ever UK Security Survey, which captures security preferences of UK security elites, thereby demonstrating the growing breach that exists between British political elites and mass audiences since the 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. Aziz Elmuradov brought in a complementary perspective, by presenting a historiographic analysis of Russian geopolitical standpoints and foreign policy attitudes towards Europe, in light of pre-existing views on the Self and the Other. In a final wrap-up session the Working Group members developed an agenda for their future research, and concentrated on a number of conference panels. Future themes might focus on EU-Middle East relations, securitization and the security/development nexus, and also on threats to the liberal order.

 

WG1 Spring School: (Re-)Conceptualizing or (Re-)Theorizing how the EU faces New Realities

During the four days, 25 young researchers from 13 different countries were taught by 10 internationally renowned scholars about cutting-edge ways to conceptualize or theorize contemporary EU foreign policy as well as the new realities the EU is facing. The contestation of the liberal world order, the international turbulence and the increasingly conflict prone neighbourhood of the EU were analysed including their linkages to EU-domestic conflicts, marked by austerity, Brexit, nationalism, protectionism and populism. The main outcome of the school was that it seems necessary to broaden our perspectives and to reconsider traditional theories that appear outdated due to their limited ability to develop a far-reaching comprehension of dis-jointed realities. Scholars thus face the significant challenge it is to re-conceptualize and re-theorize the EUs foreign relations in a changing world. Within this context, the students had the chance to engage with 10 lecturers who elaborated on these issues. The training school came to a conclusion with a round table in which all lecturers participated and the importance of a multi-layered, multi-cultural and interdisciplinary approach was highlighted, an approach that enables us to understand the complexity of the EU facing new realities of the world.

 

The original calls for participation for each event are available here:

Scientific Workshop – EU’s Climate and Energy Policy

Scientific Workshop – Communicating EU Foreign Policy

Management Committee Meeting

First ENTER Spring School 2019

 

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