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Newsletter December 2005


Esmeralda Gassie (left) was educated at the universities of Paris X and XIII, before gaining an MA in Social Sciences at Montclair University in New Jersey USA. Since then she has worked for Renault in France, at the EBRD in Tirana, and as an international student advisor in the USA. She is currently employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Dept of Economics at the University of Limerick. Her PhD topic is a multi-dimensional study in socio-economic development. The case study is the agri-business sector in Albania, and the purpose of the project is to explore the transition from communism towards the country’s preparations for EU membership.


A recent journal article by Barrie Wharton article in Al-Demokratiya (Cairo:2005) is entitled ‘European Islam or Islamic Europe?’ and makes an important and topical contribution to our understanding of Muslim communities in Western Europe. The principal theme of the article is the socio-cultural dislocation which many Muslims are experiencing in contemporary Europe and how it affects their own experience of Islam and the perceptions of European societies towards it. Influenced by thinkers such as Bassam Tibi and Oliver Roy, Dr Wharton probes the real experience of multi-culturalism in European society and the repercussions of its breakdown for Muslims. Departing from the commonly accepted premise that sociocultural dislocation can be attributed principally to social inequalities and deprivation, the challenging scenario is offered that contemporary Islam in Europe is itself metapmorphosing into a new entity whose identity is far more cultural and religious. Such a scenario may present us with a disturbing portrait of traditional Islam and its solid structures in crisis alongside a Europe which is itself decidedly unsure of its future. In this context, one can suggest that the rise of Islam in Europe has far more to do with the decline of culture in Europe than is currently appreciated and, as such, to paraphrase Roy, European Islam or Islamic Europe are simply markers of what is a broader search by Europe for its own soul.
Al-Demokratiya is a specialised political quarterly dealing with democratic political systems. The journal’s main focus is on comparative politics: democratic transformations; political culture; party systems; elections; public opinion; and human rights. While not neglecting general political issues in Europe, America, Africa and Asia, there is a particular focus on Egypt and the Arab world.

Barrie Wharton


The Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) Annual Conference took place from the 21st to the 23rd of October 2005 in Belfast. Hosted by the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy of Queen’s University Belfast, this three-day conference saw an impressive attendance. Deirdre Kelleher (PhD researcher in CEUROS) attended; and this is her report:

A vast array of topics were discussed with themes including: Approaches to the Study of Irish Politics; Globalisation and Ireland; The Media and Politics; The Northern Ireland Peace Process and Security Issues; Political Psychology and Corruption in the Republic of Ireland, within which a PhD researcher from CEUROS, Elaine Byrne, presented a paper entitled A Typology of Corruption in Ireland. The University of Limerick was well represented at the conference in fact, with numerous members of the Department of Politics and Public Administration speaking. Alex Warleigh took part in the Roundtable discussion on the EU Constitution. Luke Ashworth gave a paper with the following title: Where are the Idealists? The ‘Realist-Idealist Debate’ and the Misuse of History in International Relations Theory. Brid Quinn played a part in a Roundtable discussion based on Teaching, Learning & Assessment of Politics in the Age of the Internet. While Bernadette Connaughton presented a paper in a panel concerning Policy and Process on Reforming politico-administrative relations in Ireland: clarifying or complicating political and managerial accountability?

My paper on The Open Method of Coordination and the Social Inclusion Strategy was included in the panel on Social Exclusion/ Inclusion. I chose to speak solely about one element of my overall PhD. I discussed the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), by means of demonstrating how this method works with regard to the Social Inclusion Strategy, providing background information on the development of EU social policy, and examining if the OMC is promoting European integration, an area on which I am still working.

There were two other speakers on my panel. Kevin Ryan, from the Department of Political Science and Sociology, NUI, Galway, gave his paper on Inclusive Governance: Between Contingency and the Illegitimate Act. He discussed the fact that in exploring the possibility for an inclusive socio-political order, contemporary political thinkers such as Habermas draw heavily on the Weberian distinction between the legitimacy of law and convention. Kevin’s paper engaged with this debate by examining the figure of the unmarried mother in modern Ireland. Chris Mc Inerney, a PhD researcher in the Department of Politics and Public Administration in the University of Limerick, spoke about Confronting Governance – The Challenge of Social Inclusion. The purpose of his paper was to explore if any common space exists or can exist between the much-dissected concepts of governance and social exclusion. Additionally, his paper tried to understand if and how mainstream governance processes can more effectively contribute to the construction of a socially inclusive society, while also identifying some of the challenges that a social inclusion perspective offers to governance.

Deirdre Kelleher


CEUROS research postgraduate, Sharon Nolan, attended the UACES Research Conference in London on 17 November. Here is her report:
The one-day conference was opened by Professor Jo Shaw, Chair of UACES and Liz Monaghan, Chair of UACES student forum.
It included two general talks, a choice of two parallel panel sessions and a roundtable on getting published.
The opening address included an introduction to UACES and to the UACES student forum. It also announced next year’s annual UACES conference which will be held in Limerick at the beginning of September. As the only representative of UL, I was greeted with a mixed reaction throughout the day, ranging from enthusiasm about the opportunity of exploring the West coast of Ireland, to queries as to where Limerick is!
The keynote speaker was Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, Honorary President of UACES. Drawing on his wealth of experience, Lord Kerr addressed the conference on the importance of co-operation between academics and practitioners.
In the panel session on making the most of your supervisor, Jo Shaw spoke from a supervisor’s viewpoint; and Liz Monaghan tackled the student’s perspective. While the panel was interesting, the issues raised were most applicable to a problematic supervisory relationship. The simultaneous session gave some handy tips on doing fieldwork in Europe.
Philip Hall, European Secretariat (Cabinet Office) then brought us up to date on the UK presidency. He asked the audience to observe the Chatham House Rule, thereby enabling a more candid discussion. He spoke about the UK preparation for the presidency, the surprises in the run-up to the UK presidency, and what the next five weeks holds before the UK hand over to Austria in January 2006. He tactfully avoided answering questions which in any way related to Tony Blair’s performance!
After lunch, the second panel session offered us a choice of ‘presenting a conference paper’ or ‘writing and preparing for the viva’.
I attended the former which provided a helpful, if not commonsensical, approach to presenting a conference paper, and to public speaking in general.
The final session of the day was a roundtable on ‘getting published’. The panel comprised editors of leading political science publications. It was chaired by Lars Hoffmann, editor in chief of JCER. (Journal of Contemporary European Research, a new publication by the UACES student forum). Alison Howson of Palgrave Macmillan opened the session with a largely pragmatic, somewhat discouraging, talk on the reality of getting a thesis published. This rather sober tone was continued by Simon Hix, editor of European Union Politics, who addressed the topic of publishing articles in journals. Finally, Jim Rollo, editor of Journal of Common Market Studies, offered similar information in a slightly less negative manner. Overall, while certain audience members found the roundtable to be nothing short of depressing, some solid tips on how to go about, and indeed how not to go about, getting published, were conveyed to the postgraduate audience. 
The day finished with a wine reception, following which those of us who had to wait for trains and planes went to a nearby bar for a drink.
Overall, the conference was an enjoyable day. Some of the talks were certainly more useful than others but as a first introduction to the world of conferences, this proved, in my opinion, to be a worthwhile experience. From a research viewpoint, it was a chance to meet people working in the same field. It was also an opportunity to meet other students experiencing the same realities, and potentially facing similar difficulties and reservations, that all research students share.

Sharon Nolan


Fiorella Dell’Olio, The Europeanization of Citizenship. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005. 170 pp. £50 (hbk)

If we interpret the Europeanization of citizenship as essentially the metamorphosis of an existing concept within a new framework of governance, we can avoid the pitfalls inherent in trying to determine whether European citizenship complements or replaces existing national citizenship, as well as the conundrum of defining the type of political entity to which a new European citizenship is to be attached. It is in the context of such debates that the book under review represents something of a prolonged cri de coeur for some new thinking ‘outside the box’ of accepted discourse. In the face of what she sees as a stifling of the concept of European citizenship by its almost claustrophobic association with current concepts of national sovereignty and national identity, the author makes a strong plea for the separation of nationality from the state, and for a privileging of social rights over the purely political rights emanating from national citizenship. What this implies, according to the author, is a redefinition of ‘legal status’. In other words, third country nationals legally resident in the EU would have the same access to social rights as EU nationals themselves. As the determination of ‘legal status’ still falls within the competence of national governments, the access to social rights of third country nationals legally resident in the EU is at the whim of national governments and is necessarily mean in scope. Therefore ‘legal status’ in the EU needs to be detached from nationality. At the supranational level it would be important to provide equitable access to most rights for all legal residents, both nationals of EU member states and the nationals of third countries resident in the EU.
If such a distinction were made between the citizenship of each EU state and the “subject-hood” (as the author terms it) at the EU level, the objections that are often raised against EU citizenship could be neutralised. These objections are of two types: on the one hand, it is rejected because it implies the creation of a new state (p.82) or it is deemed ‘vacuous’ because there is nothing in the Treaties to imply that the EU is taking on the essential attributes of statehood (p.83). Dell’Olio sees the various reassurances given by EU political leaders that EU citizenship is not a threat to national citizenship as both dangerous because it reinforces a ‘we-they’ dichotomy between EU nationals, and third country nationals living and working in the EU, and a lost opportunity because EU citizenship, if redefined in the way she suggests, could be used to promote and defend a post-Westphalian concept of individual rights emanating, respectively, from the nation-state and the supra-national institutions. The absence of references to EU citizenship in the EU Constitution is significant inasmuch as opposition to the Constitution hinges partly on the no-demos argument (i.e. there is no such thing as the European people) and partly to the fact that the Constitution cannot logically guarantee rights that are, for the most part, within the competence of national governments to uphold. It is not surprising, therefore, that Dell’Olio agrees (p.88) with Weiler’s contention that Treaties are better than a Constitution not so much because of the obligations agreed (which can be virtually identical) but more on the basis for their agreement (intergovernmental not transnational).
The author’s argument for a divorce between EU citizenship and EU ‘subjecthood’ is further strengthened by the opinion poll data presented in Chapter 6. Although the comparison is restricted to Italy and the United Kingdom (would it have been so difficult to consider at least the EU-15?) there is sufficient convergence for a wider applicability to be tentatively assumed. What appears clear is that an attachment to EU citizenship is not regarded as incompatible with a sense of national identity. On the contrary, we know that in some member states strong support for European integration is perceived as being positively correlated with a strong attachment to the nation-state. Be that as it may, Dell’Olio is now able to conclude that ‘nationality can be detached from citizenship rights to refer to more ethnocultural characteristics. In this way the redefinition of ‘legal status’ in the EU can be based on legal residence rather than nationality while nationality and citizenship can remain interchangeable at the national level’ (p.123) .
In sum, this book represents a satisfying blend of realism and normative optimism. It breaks new ground by positing a postnational solution to the predicament of third country nationals resident in the EU who are currently treated as second class citizens and whose alienation will cause, and be caused by, a growing dichotomy between ‘us’ and ‘them’ within the EU that can only do irreparable harm to the European project.

Eddie Moxon-Browne


As of 1 December 2005, the two postdoctoral fellows and 16 research postgraduates (topics in italics, supervisors/mentors/hosts in brackets) affiliated to CEUROS were:

Annelin Andersen Public opinion in Czech Republic and Sweden (AW)
John Armstrong EU-China (NR)
Elaine Byrne Corruption (MA)
Anne Coulon EU-India relations (NR)
Dr Albert Doja (UL Research Scholar) Anthropology of the Balkans (EM-B)
Esmeralda Gassie The agri-business sector in Albania (AD)
Deirdre Kelleher EU social policy and the OMC (EM-B)
Lucy Kelly-Crowe Ireland and EU enlargement (EM-B)
Sharon Nolan (Anna Lindh Fellow) EU/US counter-terrorism policy (EM-B)
Dr.John O’Brennan (IRCHSS postdoctoral) EU-Balkan enlargement (EM-B)
Fiona O’Gorman EU/US policy in the Middle East (EM-B)
Niall O’Muircheartaigh Europol: accountability (EM-B)
Oleg Piletski EU security (LA)
Dagmar Reschke Roma (BW)
Delphine Robert Trafficking of women ( EM-B)
Dolores Taaffe Referendums as a democratic device (NR)
Cigdem Ustun Turkey-EU relations (EM-B)
Helen Young EU at the UN (NR)


The world’s biggest passenger aircraft was unveiled at Toulouse on 18 January 2005. It carries 555 passengers on two decks and yet consumes less fuel per passenger than the average family car. At Toulouse, four EU leaders Schroeder (Germany), Chirac (France), Blair (Britain), and Zapatero (Spain) celebrated the roll-out of Europe’s most complex and expensive industrial project. It is truly an integrated product:the fuselage is made in France and Germany; the tail is from Spain; and the wings from Britain. Final assembly takes place at Toulouse, and final painting is done in Hamburg.

The next CEUROS Newsletter appears on  12 January 2006