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Newsletter December 2004


In September 2004, Fiona O’Gorman and Patrick Holden (PhD researchers at the Centre for European Studies) attended, and presented papers at, a conference in Malta entitled A Transnational Regional Research Project: Integration and Cooperation in and between the EU and the Med. The conference was attended by a wide range of academics, both from within and outside the European Union. Topics discussed during the plenary sessions included several papers on the ideas of Neighbourhood and Partnership; Democratisation; Security and Defence; and Employment and Training. The various working group sessions covered a variety of themes including: economics; the politics of the near and Middle East; and sustainability in the Euro-Med Area. Discussion at each of the sessions was lively and friendly, with many opinions on the various issues being expressed. On more than one occasion these discussions continued long after the official sessions had ended. These discussions offered a welcome opportunity to listen to the viewpoints of others and it was especially informative to hear the opinions of those participants from outside the European Union as to what they think the EU should be doing in order to further the causes of integration and cooperation in and between the EU and the Mediterranean region. The conference provided an excellent opportunity to both of the doctoral students to discuss issues that had arisen in their own research with others conducting research on analogous themes, in many cases these new contacts came from countries at the heart of their research on the EU, the Middle East, and North Africa. The Conference papers will soon be published as a book.

Fiona O' Gorman


The Irish Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) awarded 30 postdoctoral fellowships in 2004. Luckily, one came to the University of Limerick and John O’Brennan was the fortunate recipient. His project is focussed on the eastward enlargement of the European Union and will result in a book being published by Routledge in the spring of 2005.


Following quickly on the heels of his success in gaining an IRCHSS Postdoctoral Fellowship in September 2004 (see previous item), John O’Brennan has been recently invited to be a Visiting Research Fellow for three months from April 2005 at the prestigious EUISS in Paris. His project there will develop naturally from the IRCHSS project. As the attention of the EU turns towards the next enlargement(s) in the Balkans, John will seek to analyse the fundamental dynamics of how and why the EU engages in the expansion of its membership. The approach will be comparative, examining the mechanism utilised by the EU in its developing relations with three key states in south Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro. Theoretically, the project will deploy insights from institutionalist theory and normative approaches to international politics to embed the study in a growing corpus of specialist literature. The research will make a significant contribution to studies of EU enlargement. It will follow on from and build upon the author’s book on the EU’s Eastern enlargement, which will be published by Routledge in early 2005.
First, it will provide a much-needed comparative analysis of the different path toward membership taken by the three key Balkan states. Clearly Serbia’s relations with the EU have been much more difficult than Croatia’s or Bulgaria’s. Comparative analysis allows for a systematic study of the constitutive dynamics of each country’s relationship with the EU as well as cross-national variation and the more general problems encountered in the integration framework.
Second, the study will help broaden scholarly understanding of enlargement processes generally, and, more specifically, the complex relationship between the widening and deepening of the EU. This will after all be the sixth time (and the third in a decade) that the EU will have expanded its membership. In each case the nature of the European integration process itself has also changed. The nature of the compliance and capacity-building mechanisms used by the Commission in its developing relations with the three Balkan states will be analysed and compared to those utilised in the eastern enlargement process.
Third, it will contribute to a growing body of literature on European integration that focuses on normative phenomena such as borders, identity and the inclusion/exclusion nexus. The ‘identity’ dimension to this enlargement is particularly important in the context of the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s which left more than 250,000 people dead and seemed to challenge all of the fundamental ideas upon which the post Second World War European compact stood for.
The research output from this project promises to be significant. A monograph is planned on the broad theme of EU enlargement to the Balkans. This will build upon the author’s book on Eastern enlargement. In addition a number of peer-reviewed journal articles will be placed in specialist journals such as Cooperation and Conflict, the Journal of European Public Policy and the European Journal of International Relations in 2005 and 2006.


Two new scholarships, jointly funded by CEUROS and the AdFutura Institute in Ljubljana, have given two talented young Slovenians the opportunity to participate in the MA in European Integration for the first time in 2004. The students are MarkoVukovic and Sabina Jausovec.
Sabina studied law at the School of Law in the University of Maribor in Slovenia. She spent one year as an Erasmus student in Rotterdam at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. She took exams in international studies and European law and wrote her final dissertation, and thesis also, about “European Enlargement: the biggest challenge ever” under the supervision of professor Jaap de Zwaan in Rotterdam and Professor Marjana Coronna in Slovenia. At the moment, Sabina is also doing a Masters in Slovenia, entitled “Economic Law of the European Union”. This course takes two years. She has completed one year, and after this year in Limerick she has one year more to do before completing the course. She chose Limerick because she found that a scholarship was available for this Masters. Sabina thinks that the Masters in Limerick is very intensive, but that it is of very good quality, and gives one the chance to have a lot of new experiences. It has a different system from that of Slovenia. In Slovenia they do one module after another, and not all at the same time. Moreover, here in Limerick, Sabina feels there are more options as to when to take exams. In Slovenia there is no campus like UL, as each of the schools/departments are in separate places. She likes the city, although she does not have much free time to really explore it. After this Masters she has to finish the Masters back home, and a year and half of internship in Court, which she already started but has put it on hold for a year here while she is here in Limerick. After that, Sabina would like to do some work internationally, or do an internship in one of the European institutions.
Marko finished his degree in International Relations at the University of Ljubljana, and then started a MA course in International Economics in the Faculty of Economics. He chose Limerick for the MA in European Integration because there was a scholarship being awarded and he wanted to experience how the education process works abroad. In Slovenia there are no similar Masters courses available to study European Integration, so he thought Limerick would be a good opportunity to deepen his knowledge of European affairs and enhance his chances of getting a job. Marko thinks that the MA programme is well organised. He especially likes the emphasis it puts on interdisciplinarity, as it combines law, economics, politics and history. The quality of lectures varies considerably from module to module, although this might be the consequence of lecturers consciously trying to make the subject matter of the lecture more accessible to students, who come from very diverse backgrounds and have limited knowledge of European affairs. The campus is satisfactory, although the accommodation is very expensive and one certainly does not get enough value for his/her money. Facilities at the University are similar to those at Slovene universities, although here the lack of audio-visual tools is noticeable. Marko would like to finish the MA and get a job related to European affairs.

Stagiaire Leaves CEUROS In December With Good Memories Of Limerick

Annarita Bernabini leaves Limerick at Christmas after a six-week stage in CEUROS. During that time, she has compiled a database of European institutes that will be invaluable for publicising the Jean Monnet Summer School in 2005 and networking for collaborative projects in the future. In addition, she has worked on the “Celtic Tiger” syndrome as it applies to central and eastern Europe. Her training period was supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme and is funded by the EU. Having graduated from the University of Bologna, Anna’s work in CEUROS was partly administrative, and partly academic.

This is not Anna’s first time in Ireland, as she spent some time in Dublin last year in order to do research for her thesis. She appreciates the campus here in Limerick. In Italy there are no campuses like this as each faculty is located in different places and the facilities for the students are not as good, or so concentrated in one single place, as they are here in UL. Anna has also noticed that the relationships between the students and lecturers are a lot friendlier and a lot less formal than in Italy. She has experienced the same friendly atmosphere while working in the University. Anna likes the city, although she feels that there are not too many places of historical or artistic interest, and also believes that Limerick offers fewer things for young people to do than in Cork and Dublin.

During the months she has spent here she has had the chance to travel around Ireland, and really liked the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway city and southwest Cork in particular. Irish people have particularly, and positively impressed Anna. She feels they are nice, kind and quieter than Italians. She feels that pubs here are some form of institution, yet she really likes the traditional Irish pubs. Anna admits that the only thing that she has not liked is the weather, finding it difficult to deal with the rain which she has had to experience almost daily since her arrival, although she reveals that she has become more used to it.


On 25 November, Albin Kurti a former student activist gave a seminar entitled Towards Co-existence? Serbia and Kosovo in an integrating Europe. In his presentation he focused on the current situation in Kosovo, and the alternative scenarios for the future.

He was generally pessimistic arguing that the international community saw Kosovo from a geopolitical perspective and therefore tend to consider the implications of any "solution" for the region as a whole rather than the people actually living there. However, to be properly integrated into the region, Kosovo will need economic development, better educational opportunities, and a greater sense of security for civil society. At the moment, foreign direct investment is discouraged by corruption, racketeering, and a fragile legal system. The biggest mistake, according to Albin, was the decision to institutionalise ethnic differences within Kosovo instead of making uniform provision for all citizens on an equal basis. The seminar, which drew a capacity crowd, was chaired for CEUROS by PhD researcher Barry Ryan.

The following day, 26 November, it was "standing room only" again for  Andrew Cottey from UCC who spoke on the theme Europe and America: the end of an era?  His central theme was that the US was now less concerned about European security because Europe had "solved" its own security problems. The "war on terror" which now seemed to dominate US foreign policy was created by 9-11 but its repercussions were viewed differently, and with less understanding by Europeans. This rift was, according to Cottey, epitomised by the mass demonstrations against Bush's decision to occupy Iraq without UN legitimation. Cottey concluded his presentation by contrasting the realist and liberal analyses of the current transatlantic tensions, arguing that liberals see common democratic values holding the transatlantic alliance together in the future despite disagreements with the EU, and within the EU, on the question of how to respond to the new American foreign policy agenda.  Eddie Moxon-Browne who is currently CEUROS Director chaired the seminar.