The Jean Monnet Summer School ended on 29 June. This year’s session was entitled “New Directions for a New Europe in a New Neighbourhood”. The seminars were focused on the consequences of the last enlargement of the new Europe from a political, economic, social and cultural point of view, considering in particular how these changes reflect on the EU ‘neighbourhood’, in particular on the relationship with the Mediterranean countries, the Middle East, central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine and the Western Balkans.
The issue has attracted a lot of participants coming from all parts of the world. They created a strong bond between themselves that added to their enjoyment of various trips: to Connemara (Kylemore Abbey) and Galway, to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, and to Bunratty Castle.
This year’s Summer School has welcomed, for the first time, the visit of two ambassadors, the Romanian and Turkish ones who represent their country in Ireland: their participation was of great value helping us to understand the role that their countries play in EU enlargement. Several experts coming from different countries have been present providing information beneficial to researchers’ knowledge about EU neighbourhood policy. Moreover, some CEUROS postgraduates presented papers offering a forum for discussion.
The complete programme, with some photos of the Summer School group, is available at www.ul.ie/~ceuros/summerschool.
Below are two personal impressions of the summer school by participants: Willy Jou (University of California at Irvine) and Sam Cavanagh (ETF – European Training Foundation - Turin, Italy)
“The annual Jean Monnet Summer School, organised by the Centre for European Studies, was held on June 9-28. This year, students from six countries spanning from Siberia to the US west coast gathered to study the theme of “The New Europe: New Directions in a New Neighbourhood”, a highly relevant theme particularly in view of many students’ origins and interests.
Two weeks of lectures covered the EU’s relations with a wide range of countries in its neighbouring regions from North Africa to central Asia, as well as a diverse selection of topics from security to education. In addition to professors and graduate students from the Centre presenting on their areas of research and expertise, the Turkish and Romanian ambassadors (the latter being an alumnus of the University of Limerick) were invited to offer their unique perspectives.
This year’s students were drawn from various academic and professional backgrounds (including an EU agency and two national governments), allowing many lively and stimulating discussions based on rich personal and scholastic encounters. Question and answer period following each lecture was rarely a dull occasion, as students were eager to solicit elucidations and supplementary information. Arguably they learnt as much from these exchanges as the lectures themselves!
Furthermore, the close camaraderie that quickly developed among all students was evidenced by frequent gatherings over wine and supper, and helped by the comfortable lodgings and convenient provided by the Centre. The Centre also arranged excursions on each of the three weekends during the duration of the summer school, allowing students to visit renowned attractions in western Ireland (Galway, Kylemore Abbey, the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty) and catch glimpses of both bustling city life and tranquil country landscapes.
Finally, an account of the summer school would not be complete without recognising the tremendous amount of time and effort devoted by Professor Edward Moxon-Browne and his excellent assistants, Ilenia Bertorello, Deidre Kelleher and Alina Georgescu, toward organising and conducting the programme. Their consistent affability, generosity, and willingness to render all kinds of assistance greatly contributed to making these two weeks a most enjoyable and memorable experience for all participants”.
“I really enjoyed the school and the chance to be exposed to the academic, and non-, analysis of the countries with which I work or will be working with in the future. Also just to have the opportunity or right conditions to be able to sit down and read papers and articles and discuss with others. The hectic work and family lifestyle and routine rarely allow for this!”.
VISITORS TO CEUROS IN JUNE
Among visitors to CEUROS in June were Prof Elbecheva from the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), Matilde Broman from the University of Lund, and the Turkish and Romanian ambassadors.
Prof. Elbecheva visited the Centre under the Socrates staff/student mobility scheme that currently sees two students from UL go to AUBG at Blagoevgrad in Bulgaria and two from there attending UL (usually for a semester in each case). Prof. Elbecheva teaches Balkan history and she had meetings with, among others, Prof Tom Moylan (LCS) and Prof. Tom McElligott (History). Prof. Eddie Moxon-Browne outlined the MA European Integration programme to her but she observed that the 9000euro tuition fee would be "prohibitive"
for Bulgarian students for the foreseeable future.
Another visitor was Matilde Broman from the University of Lund on 17-19 June. CEUROS has long had a teaching exchange with Lund and Ms Broman is currently doing doctoral research on the Swedish EU Presidency of 2001; and now future cooperation in a comparative project with the Irish 2004
Presidency is envisaged.
On 14 June, the Turkish Ambassador Mr Dibek paid his first visit to CEUROS and delivered a long lecture on Turkey's place in Europe to the Jean Monnet
Summer School. The following day, the Romanian Ambassador Ms Silvia Stancu-Davidoiu paid her first visit to the campus, as ambassador, although
it was for her a "homecoming" due to her having been a student in the MA European Integration in 1991-2; and she is incidentally the first alumna of the programme to reach ambassadorial rank. There will be others, as many MA EI alumni(ae) are sprinkled through embassies all over the world in the diplomatic services of several different countries. Silvia presented the UL library with a number of books as a gift. Expressing thanks to the ambassador on behalf of the Centre, Prof Eddie Moxon-Browne said the books were "the most appropriate present" that the ambassador could have donated.
THE SUMMER SCHOOL TRIP TO CONNEMARA AND KYLEMORE ABBEY
Even before the seminars began, this year’s summer school participants were treated to their first excursion – to Connemara. From the windows of the bus, the students were able to admire the green landscapes for which Ireland is renowned. As the bus traversed the meandering roads, the scenery changed constantly from stonewalls dating back for millennia to idyllic pastures with cows and sheep grazing contentedly to the extensive vistas of the winding coastline.
Singing on the bus was only interrupted when Kylemore Abbey appeared. The silhouette of the solitary castle standing in front of a wonderful lake is striking and gives one a sense of peace. The gorgeous sunshine provided an ideal backdrop to the first excursion for students, as they were introduced to one of the most scenic landmarks in Ireland.
Students were no doubt impressed by both the exquisite architecture and the sublime atmosphere. Walking around the garden, they were able to chat and get to know each other better. From the tranquillity of that place to the vibrancy of Galway: under a very warm sun, on the banks of the river, the students talked and discussed about summer school themes. In fact, besides the striking landscapes and a day of fun, the trip was an opportunity to share different opinions and exchange ideas about different topics. The nationality of the students, coming from the so-called “eastern and western” countries of Europe, has helped them to confront each other with their own personal beliefs, having different perspectives on how Europe can adapt itself to the new neighbourhood policy after the latest enlargement. Living this kind of experience can help to create a sense of group identity, rendering the Summer School more enjoyable as well. The students have appreciated that trip very much: “I very much enjoyed the excursion that was organised by the Jean Monnet Summer School. I had a chance to enjoy wonderful Irish nature and amazing landscape. […] I was very happy that I was be able to visit all these places in Ireland” one participant said.
IRISH SOCIAL POLICY ASSOCIATION POSTGRADUATE CONFERENCE
The Irish Social Policy Association (ISPA) will host its annual postgraduate conference at University College Dublin on Friday July 8th 2005. The conference is intended to provide a forum for postgraduate researchers in social policy and related academic fields.
Papers to be presented at this conference will deal with a social policy issue in Ireland or the EU. These papers may evolve from research currently being undertaken, work in progress, or from another social policy topic the researcher is interested in. The conference is happy to facilitate postgraduate researchers at different stages at their research – from those who are in the early stages of a topic to those who are close to completion. Deirdre Kelleher (PhD researcher at the Centre for European Studies) will present a paper entitled The Open Method of Coordination: The Calm After the Storm?
What is ISPA?
The Irish Social Policy Association was founded in 1997. The association was established to provide a forum for the analysis, discussion and development of social policy in Ireland, North and South. The Association endeavours to broaden the debate on social policy by providing a forum for discussion that embraces the views and opinion of a wide range of relevant actors. ISPA brings together professionals and non-professionals with an interest in social policy, academics, policy makers, officials in the civil service and public service bodies, employer and trade union organisations as well as organisations and groups in the not-for-profit sector. Through the Association, discussions and debates have been stimulated on a variety of contemporary social policy issues.
CEUROS AT THE NEWR FINAL CONFERENCE
The Network for European Women's Rights (NEWR) is organizing its final Conference at the University of Birmingham. It will be held on the 30th of June and 1st of July 2005. Delphine Robert will represent CEUROS as MA researcher on the trafficking of women for prostitution in Europe.
The conference is an opportunity to discuss the results of the NEWR research about trafficking in women, reproductive rights, political participation and social entitlements.
What is NEWR?
The Network for European Women's Rights is a three-year project funded by the European Commission under Framework 5. The objective of NEWR is to set up a thematic network on the topic of women's rights as human rights by bringing together expertise and encouraging dialogue across disciplines and across the countries of Eastern and Western Europe. Launched in October 2002, it is a continuous source of information and a platform capable of influencing the policy making process, especially in Europe. The project is led by the Centre for the Study of Global Ethics (CSGE), University of Birmingham together with nine partners across Europe.
NEWR was launched in October 2002. It offers a platform for discussion on women's rights and on four of the most burning current issues in this field: trafficking, reproductive rights, political participation and social entitlements. It also provides a database of organisations and individuals involved in women's rights.
RECENT PUBLICATION: IRELAND AND THE 2004 ELECTIONS TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
How much are the European elections influenced by the national political context? In a chapter published in The 2004 Elections to the European Parliament (edited by Juliet Lodge, 2005) Edward Moxon-Browne, Director of the Centre for European Studies, highlights the results of the last EP elections in Ireland. In contrast with lower levels of voting in most other member states, the healthy turnout registered in 2004 (59.7%) was higher than precedent elections. This was due, according to the author, to the forthcoming climax of a successful Irish presidency. He argues that elections were an opportunity to register disapproval of the Government (as in most EU states), but generally in Ireland EP election results are not a reliable indicator of general election performance. Voters were not interested in discussing European issues, so personalities rather than policies played a part in winning votes. He concludes that in Ireland the EU elections have become embedded in the domestic political system to benefit of the broader society. The public has a highly positive attitude towards EU membership, it is careful about the quality of the elected MEPs it chooses since they play an important role in strengthening the EU policy-making system.
The next issue of the CEUROS Newsletter appears 29 September 2005