CEUROS REPRESENTED AT 2004 EUROPEAN STUDIES CONGRESS IN HAVANA, CUBA
Fraser Gray represented CEUROS at the annual congress of the Centre for European Studies in Havana, Cuba. Here is his report:
This conference was sponsored by the Centre for European Studies in Havana, Cuba, on it’s 30th anniversary. Along with many Cuban academics there were many European countries represented, including Spain, Denmark, Germany, Serbia, Belgium, Italy, the UK, Luxemburg, Belarus, Czech Republic, and of course Ireland. The topics of the presentations were quite diverse in order to, as the Chair declared, allow for as many European scholars as possible to participate. This created a fertile atmosphere of inter-disciplinary learning on a massive scale. The sharing of information between lawyers, political analysts, agriculturalists, union representatives, globalisation specialists, Cubanologists and many others, was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this conference.
The presentation this researcher gave, “EU Responses to Resistance and Terrorism in the post-September 11th Era”, was very well received. During the discussion afterwards, many more questions were directed towards Fraser than any of the others presenting on his panel. These questions will be addressed in an updated version of the paper that will be one of two European papers that will be published in the Journal of European Studies (September-December 2004), a quarterly by the Centre for European Studies of Havana.
The most interesting questions posed were as follows:
These questions were addressed at length, and both the moderator and the audience of fellow academics seemed to be satisfied with the answers they received. Most rewarding were the elaborate compliments Fraser received by the two keynote speakers of the conference that attended the presentation. Both Professor Gerhard Robbers from the European Institute of Constitutional Law (University of Trier, Germany) and Dr. Jose Asensi, professor of Constitutional Law (University of Alicante) approached Fraser privately after the presentation to encourage his continued efforts in this area of research as they were interested in what they had heard. Professor Asensi even asked if he had any publications on these matters as he would like to read more about terrorism and resistance from this ‘fresh and illuminating approach’!
After his presentation, Fraser was also approached by Berni O’Dwire from Radio Havana International. She asked if she could interview him regarding points in his presentation. As he did not wish to miss any of the conference presentations, they arranged to meet at the end of the conference. Fraser was joined by his brother, Dr. Alex Gray, and they both fielded questions regarding international terrorism, American and EU counter-terrorism strategies, and their impressions of Cuba. The interview lasted approximately 40 minutes and was broadcast on Radio Havana in early October. Fraser also participated in a question and answer period with Ricardo Alarcon, President of the National Assembly of Cuba on the first day of the Conference. This was subsequently televised on the national prime-time news. Other accomplishments during his time in Cuba include many meetings with Cuban civil society groups, this, in efforts towards organising an educational tour of the island in February 2005 for the Irish Peace Society/UL Computer Society. Meetings with the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, Professor Juan Azahares of the University of Havana, Dr. Santiago Perez of the Superior Institute for International Relations, among others, revealed the value of the University of Limerick’s contribution (in terms of computers and technical expertise in setting up networks), and impressed upon Fraser the importance of going ahead with this project despite the current lack of resources.
Fraser would like to express his gratitude to the Centre for European Studies at Limerick for helping to defray his costs at this conference, especially since he was unable to secure any other funding from the University of Limerick, or elsewhere.
CEUROS RESEARCHER ATTENDS CONFERENCE IN LYON, FRANCE
Institute Aspen France European Forum held its tenth anniversary conference in Lyon from 10-12 December 2004. Elaine Byrne attended this conference entitled: Europe 2005-2025: Viewpoints and Contributions from Think Tanks. “Can the European Union Become More Democratic?” The conference was held in partnership with Europe 2020, European Policy Centre, Foundation Friedrich Ebert, Foundation Robert Schuman, Friends of Europe and the German and the Marshall Fund of the United States. Keynote speakers included Hubert Védrine, former French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dominique Perben, French Minister for Justice and Raymond Barre, former French Prime Minister. Forty participants from leading European and American and academic Institutes, Foundations, Think Tanks and various ambassadors attended in what emerged as a remarkable, open and frank debate about the further philosophical, institutional and political direction of Europe. This was made possible by the clear parameters established at the outset of the meeting. Partisan rhetoric and academic or official presentations were discouraged. Individual interventions and the practice of the Chatham House Rule further created an atmosphere of informal exchange and creativity.
Debate focused upon if a European “People” or “Demos” existed. Dissent about the consensus for a European Demos was rather vocal, with those arguing that Europe was a Union of peoples not a European People. Focus was also put on The March 2000 European Council Lisbon Strategy, which was regarded as a battle plan without an army. A clear vision was absent, now lost in the grand narratives of a language accustomed to enlargement, but not necessarily relevant to the micro narratives of the day-to-day life of EU citizens. This vacuum demands a European elite and a European people. Surprisingly, strong support for transnational European parties emerged from the deliberations. Indications were that transnational European parties would emerge on future political agendas in discussions relating to the direction of Europe. Focus on the Erasmus programme in creating the Demos was mitigated by statistics that demonstrated that university students comprise only 30% of young European students and from that, only 2% participate within the Erasmus programme.
A consensus also emerged from Lyon that the EU was currently undergoing what was termed as an Institutional menopause. This “mid-life crisis” reasserts itself in attempts to define Europe by what it is not, by reacting and reaching in the dark for definitions instead of turning on the light and searching together. In this time of institutional change and insecurity, the debate on the philosophical, institutional and political direction of Europe has yet to truly begin.
Finally, the leading authority on American Think Tanks presented an appraisal of European Think Tanks. Its findings were quite negative. It found that to a large extent European think Tanks were nationally based for national issues, not media savvy, not policy orientated, largely seduced by single funding, immersed in conventional thinking and academically orientated. Independent Think Tanks, where they did exist, were largely under resourced. The very purpose of Think Tanks, to bridge the world between politics and ideas, is disjointed and lost in tangential narratives.
Elaine, as a participant, had the opportunity to relate experiences as a politics tutor at the University of Limerick and from the perspective as a member of the National Forum on Europe. She was invited by a think tank to return to Lyon and speak about issues regarding gender in politics.
CEUROS Film Night Highlights Basque Conflict
La Pelota Vasca is the best-selling Spanish documentary of all time. Making its debut at the Sebastian film festival in 2004, it immediately became widely discussed, and the cause of considerable controversy. The aim of Director Julio Medem is to maintain a certain detached objectivity on an issue that most Spaniards consider the biggest problem currently facing their country.
The film is based on interviews with 69 respondents drawn from all points on the political spectrum, including: academics, poets, victims of ETA violence, ETA supporters, and politicians. The spectator is faced with accounts of violence perpetrated by ETA and against ETA, and wide ranges of opinions are presented. The historical roots of the conflict are explored sympathetically and with some searing images. The film does not pretend to be exhaustive, but aims to raise issues in the hope of stimulating discussion and analysis. The message from the film is indeed that dialogue is the only way to reach a solution since no single point of view represents the absolute truth. Everyone shares in the problem, and must therefore share in the solution. On the threshold of what may be a new ”peace process” in the Basque Country, the film could hardly be more timely.
The documentary was shown to a capacity audience on the evening of 25 November 2004 principally for the benefit of an undergraduate module entitled "The Politics of Ethnic Conflict" (in which a record number of 130 students are now enrolled). However, many other members of the campus community also attended the two-hour screening.
SOME RECENT PUBLICATIONS......
A recent article in Regional and Federal Studies 14:3 (Autumn 2004) by Nick Rees, Brid Quinn and Bernadette Connaughton highlights Ireland’s role as a most effective user of EU structural and cohesion funds. Using regional policy as a lens, this article explores Ireland’s pragmatic adaptation to European policy. The article examines the Irish socio-economic context, the significance of its institutions and the level of social capital as a context for exploring the country’s adaptation to EU membership and the evolution of its regional policy structures.A more detailed analysis of the impact of adaptation to EU regional policy in the Mid-West region is carried out by means of social network analysis. The patterns of adaptation and institutional and policy learning amongst the main governmental and non-governmental actors in the Mid-West region are examined and conclusions are drawn about the “goodness of fit” between Ireland’s existing institutionsand the EU’s regional policy processes and instruments.
A recent book Who Are the Europeans Now? (Ashgate 2004) edited by Eddie Moxon-Browne gathers together contributors from a variety of disciplines and nationalities and links citizenship, identity and democratic legitimacy in a unique way. Besides the editor, three of the other contributors are also based in CEUROS: Dolores Taaffe, Brid Quinn, and Barrie Wharton. Among key themes addressed are: the role of the euro in eroding national sovereignty and diffusing the power of cherished national symbols; the relationship between assertive regional and ethnic identities and evolving concepts of EU citizenship and European identity; and the prospects for constructing a new pan-European identity that transcends the ‘old’ Europe and the ‘new’ Europe of the EU 25. The book also sees the role of frontiers as being ambiguous and double-edged: their special and, ironically, more pronounced, role in the integration process is analysed by two social anthropologists in the opening chapter. The book was the product of a two-day seminar held in Carlingford Co.Louth, sponsored by the Jean Monnet project, and jointly organised by the Institute for European Studies (Belfast) and the Centre for European Studies (Limerick).
In an article published in European Political Science 2:2 (spring 2003) and entitled ‘Ireland’s Return to “normal” Voting Patterns on EU issues’ John O’Brennan argues that the principal reason for the ‘yes’ vote in the second Irish Nice referendum, was the higher turnout, the more vigorous campaign by the pro-Nice campaign, and the successful Government strategy of assuaging key concerns among the electorate such as neutrality, and the position of small countries in the EU-25. He concludes by saying that the referendum result marked the mutation of Ireland from being the “problem child” back into the “EU’s model pupil”.
CEUROS PhD RESEARCHER SELECTED FOR COLLOQUIUM IN CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND
The History of European Integration Society organised a Colloquium on 6 – 7 November 2004 in Cambridge. The History of European Integration Research Society is a postgraduate research network designed to foster the work of postgraduate researchers across Europe with an interest in European integration history. It aims to provide academic exchange, training and learning programmes which will build on the work of existing academic institutions and bodies in the field, and will draw in a wide range of postgraduate students to focus on the political, diplomatic, economic, cultural and other aspects of European integration. The core operation behind HEIRS is based at the Centre of International Studies and Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, University of Cambridge.
There were four panels in total over the two days. The Colloquium started with a keynote address by Dr. Julie Smith from the University of Cambridge, which was followed by the first panel entitled “The Challenges of Multinational Archival Research”. The second panel was called, “Do Multinational Impulses Make a Difference?”, in which theorising European integration, intergovernmentalism and federalist approaches were discussed. Cigdem’s paper was in the third panel: “National Foreign Policies in a European Context”, chaired by Dr. George Wilkes. In this panel there were three speakers, as was the case with the other panels. The speeches in this panel were: “The road to the oil crisis (1958 – 74)” by Rafiki Soilihi from the University of Reading, “Italy and EPC Counter-terrorist Considerations” by Dr. Ludovica Marchi from the University of Reading, and Cigdem Ustun’s “Analysis of the European Security Culture in Historical Terms”. The first day of the colloquium ended with a speech by Mr. Richard Balfe, about his experience in the European Parliament for 25 years. On the Saturday night, the organisers of the colloquium took everyone to a dinner in one of the Colleges.
The keynote speaker, Mr. Allen Packwood from Churchill Archives Centre, opened the second day of discussions and the last panel of the colloquium started after his speech. In the last panel the subject was the enlargement of the Union. There were three speakers in this panel also. The speeches were about the constitutionalisation of the union, German unification and the political challenges of enlargement from a Romanian perspective. In the afternoon of this second day, the colloquium ended with a address by Dr. Veronique Charlety from the Centre des Etudes Europeennes de Strasbourg.
Cigdem Ustun*’s colloquium paper can be summarised as follows:
The European Union’s life journey began with the economic agreements and treaties after WW2, so that as the countries cooperated on economic issues, this cooperation would spread to the other spheres of relations between them. The hope being that the spill over effect would bring peace to the continent after two awful, devastating wars. The main idea behind the ECSC, European Atomic Energy Community and the EEC, was to make it impossible for the European countries to fight again. Thus, security was always the aim of the continent from the very beginning. People have always sought a means to live peacefully. It is a very crucial issue today too. Cigdem does not say ‘more than ever’, because throughout history, there have been lots of wars, conflicts, and bloodshed. The security of the people, states and nations has always been important and remains to be important today. Nevertheless, this issue is topical presently because, “the last enlargement brought two halves of a continent artificially divided for almost five decades”. The Union now has 25 members, a population of 450 million, and one quarter of the world’s GNP”. Thus, after the enlargement, new security threats and new expectations occurred. In one of the EU MEMOS it is said that “in order to maintain a secure Europe in the midst of these changes, it has become imperative to develop a new security culture” in Europe. However, it should be remembered that the EU’s security culture would not be a brand new culture. This security culture will be based on the culture that the EU has had for so many years. Thus, one of the aims of this paper is to show this historical background.
This paper is also a part of the ongoing research about the comparison of EU security culture and Turkish security culture. This issue is especially important as the Commission advised at the start of the negotiations. Today, one of the arguments is that the EU needs the energy resources in the Middle East and Central Asia, thus Turkish accession is crucial. This kind of thinking is very naïve. This is not an easy process. As was also mentioned in the Recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey’s progress towards accession by the Commission, “…. The Union and Turkey have differences in foreign policy issues when it comes to the neighbours of Turkey.” Thus, it is important to analyse the security cultures and developments of these cultures in the EU and Turkey to analyse the accession process. This paper, however, does not go into the details of this comparison. Hopefully, the research, when completed, will be able to make this comparison in detail. This is about the security culture in Europe based on the historical development of European integration, which will be used afterwards in research to compare and contrast the historical experiences of the two actors in terms of the security culture and tradition.
Cigdem Ustun EU-Mediterranean Scholarship holder CEUROS