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Newsletter September 2005


On 14 September, the two Jean Monnet Scholars, Maria Tzankova and Alina Georgescu received their doctorates at the Humanities graduation. Following the designation by the European Commission of CEUROS as a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in 1999, it was decided to provide two PhD Scholarships for promising postgraduates from Central Europe. Now, four years later, they received their doctorates on the same day.

Maria Tzankova born in Shoumen, Bulgaria, graduated from the University of Sofia with an MA in Philosophy in 1994, and was awarded an MA in Contemporary European Studies at the University of Sussex in 1998. Her MA dissertation was entitled "Theoretical Approaches to European integration and their applicability to the case of Eastern enlargement: the challenge of enlargement, institutional change and the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference". Her PhD dissertation topic was Bulgaria in the context of an evolving EU Security and defence policy. Her supervisor was Prof. Eddie Moxon-Browne. The internal examiner was Dr. John O' Brennan, and the external was Dr. Andrew Cottey (UCC).

Alina Georgescu, a native of Slatina, Romania, earned her bachelor's degree in Economics and International Relations at the University of the West in Timisoara in 1998. The following year saw her at the Central European University in Budapest where she was awarded an MA in Southeast European Studies; and a year later she had received another MA at the University of Bonn's Centre for Integration Studies with a dissertation on Romanian foreign policy. Her PhD dissertation topic was Romanian foreign policy shifts since the time of Ceaucescu. Her supervisor was Prof. Eddie Moxon-Browne. The internal examiner was Dr. Neil Robinson and the external was Prof. Graham Timmins (Stirling).

Edward Moxon-Browne


Following only a year after the conclusion of the EU-Mediterranean Jean Monnet Research Network (coordinated by te University of Malta) the Centre for European Studies is again a partner in a research network created under the auspices of the Jean Monnet Action 2005 . It is believed that CEUROS is the only research centre to have been successful in more than one of these research network applications. This new project, worth 94,000 euro, supports the setting up of a transnational Research Group that compares European and Asia Pacific regionalism and advocates the need for an Asia Pacific perspective on the EU. It investigates in particular the repercussions of the EU integration process in developing a tendency for interlocutors to regionalise - or increase their regional integration - in order to negotiate with the EU and its impact on the Asia Pacific Region - particular reference to ASEAN (The Association of South East Asian Nations) Plus Three (Japan, China and South Korea) - where the EU is regarded as a possible integration model. It utilises a number of transnational and interdisciplinary analytical approaches to address the need to explicate the politics of the EU to a non-European audience in the Asia Pacific Region and in international issues and the politics of Asia Pacific regionalism and EU influences to a European audience.

UL is a member of a partnership headed by the University of Melbourne (Australia) and formed by other professors teaching in the University of Tokyo (Japan) and Leuven (Belgium).

The lead applicant which coordinates the project, the University of Melbourne, has collaborated before with the University of Limerick. Leading the project is the Contemporary Europe Research Centre (CERC). It is the only interdisciplinary research centre in Australia engaged in advanced research on Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 2004, it was awarded the distinction of a Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence, one of only five outside of Europe and the only one of its kind in Australia. It currently hosts one Jean Monnet Chair in European Political Science, held by the Centre's Director, Professor Philomena Murray, whose roots are, very appropriately, in Limerick. 

CERC serves as focal point for academic and postgraduate research in areas of the European Union and the process of European Integration, but also Russian and Soviet politics and history, internal relations, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It organizes a weekly seminar series, international conferences and workshops and a publications programme. It produces a free email bulletin to inform the public about current research, conferences and employment opportunities. It provides a dynamic research environment for young researchers and postgraduates. For example it is organizing a new summer school in 2006 and a student mobility programme for exchanges between European and Australian Masters students. It is part of the Europe-Australian Asia-Pacific Nexus (EAAPN) project designed to promote high-level, cross-disciplinary graduate training across the field of international studies. As in the case of CEUROS, the centre supports postgraduate supervision providing the opportunity to organize workshops, discussion groups, seminars and conferences. In 2005 it collaborated in the establishment of an Australian Study in Europe website in order to increase the opportunities for Australian postgraduate students in Europe. CERC provides also information on the themes it is involved in for business, government, the media and the community, offering briefings, short-courses, and reports on a consultancy basis. For this purpose, it organizes roundtables and focus groups bringing together academics, officials from relevant Australian government departments, and journalists with the aim of encouraging debate and understanding on EU-Australia issues.

The main activity through which the network is formed is the creation of a research project, titled "European Integration and the Asia Pacific: Models and Linkages". This study draws on interdisciplinary approaches, understanding the EU as a political, economic and security actor, with an understanding of its regional integration agenda and that agenda's influence on the Asia Pacific. In a comparative perspective, it considers factors such as the commitments of the member states, the role of leadership and the role of the external hegemony - the USA - and external influences, for example globalisation. It analyses problems such as the specificity of each region and state, the maturity of institutions and development of governance structures, the role of democratic experiences and how they vary across and within the regions. It is fulfilled by a transnational group of scholars from different parts of the world.

Representing UL in the two year project are: Bernadette Andréosso-O'Callaghan; Edward Moxon-Browne and Nicholas Rees as part of the transnational research team. These three will be involved in the coordination and implementation of all local aspects of the research project. During the two year time frame (from September 2005 to July 2007) they will participate in conferences in Australia, Europe and Asia presenting papers. They will write a number of comparative articles and they will co-edit the workshop papers for the final publication. As part of the core project team, Prof. Andréosso-O'Callaghan will participate in the next Asia Pacific EU Studies Association Conference at Keio University in December 2005 and she will participate in the key Conference "European Union integration and the Asia Pacific region: Models and linkages examined", hosted by the University of Melbourne in November 2006, where research results will be presented to international experts for debate.The University of Limerick will also host seminars, papers and conferences.

Ilenia Bertorello


"An excellent experience": that's how Helen Young, PhD researcher at the Centre for European Studies, describes her internship at the delegation of the European Union Council to the United Nations. During the five months time (from January to May 2005), she was guided in the institutional workings of both the EU Council and Commission at the UN, alongside the EU member states missions to the UN and the UN system itself. She participated in the daily working of the EU coordination, principally in the meetings at the UN. Her main responsibilities consisted of reporting daily on the UN Security Council formal and informal meetings to Brussels and also coordinating closely with the Luxembourg Presidency with regard to formulating a common EU position on UN reform.

"The completion of the traineeship has formed an integral part of my research. Having chosen to analyse the coordination structures and procedures of the EU member states delegations and the EU institutions at the UN as my thesis, my experience in New York has proven invaluable and given me a comprehensive understanding of the workings of the EU at the UN", Helen comments. She could take documentation and information otherwise unavailable and have the privilege of unequalled access to many key players involved in EU coordination at the UN, meeting representatives of EU member and non-EU states. "My interviews have formed the basis of my qualitative analysis for my thesis. They were designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the coordination and the cooperation that occurs among the EU member states and they proved remarkable and raised many questions with regard to the cohesiveness of the member states and the slow and tedious nature of producing a EU statement". Participating in UN meetings, Helen gained a comprehensive first hand knowledge of the coordination procedures that are in place between the EU Council Presidency, EU member states and EU institutions at the UN General Assembly and Security Council. This consisted of direct involvement in the decision-making mechanisms that are in place at the EU delegation to the UN, through participation in and chairing of EU coordination meeting at the EU offices in New York and full participation in EU member states decision making within the UN itself, both formally and informally. "Throughout my internship I was exposed to the many issues that pass through the UN system with regard to international peace and security. EU coordination was a long and tedious process but when the EU worked as single entity their success at achieving their combined goals was positive and they were regarded as an important voting bloc within the UN system. This was particularly evident in Humanitarian affairs and in economic matters raised in ECOSOC".

Moreover, the stage was a stimulating personal experience for Helen since she had the opportunity to work in a multinational environment and enjoy the vibrant, bustling and cosmopolitan ambience of New York. She thinks this chance has been a benefit for her future career. She would like to work in an international organization, "but it's very competitive and difficult to enter" Helen notes.

Helen Young and Ilenia Bertorello


In June, Delphine Robert, MA researcher on the trafficking of women for prostitution in Europe, represented CEUROS in the final Conference of the Network for European Women's Rights (NEWR) at the University of Birmingham (UK).

The Conference has compared different views on the research done about trafficking in women, reproductive rights, political participation and social entitlements. Among the numerous issues that were tackled, two principal positions emerged on the problem, dividing prostitution as a professional activity, sex work, to fight trafficking and prostitution as a violation of women's rights.

It offered a panel of diverse speakers, for instance Hanna Beate Schoepp-Schiling, member of CEDAW (Coalition For the Elimination of discrimination Against Women), Audrey Guichon, former NEWR project Officer and Yakin Ertürk, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against Women.

Sigma Huda, UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons especially women and Children underlined the fact that trafficking is still increasing and there is the need to implement laws in full accordance to the definition issued in the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

The diversity of people attending the conference allowed very interesting and rich debates after the presentations of the speakers. There were different opinions expressed both by feminist women and women working in prostitution. The views of people working in NGOs were also very significant, and offered a different perspective of the problem.

Delphine comments "the debate around the definition of trafficking and its relation to prostitution has been well covered during the conference. However, there is certainly a need to look in other directions. The problem of the demand, that plays a key role in trafficking, has been tackled by one of the speakers, Sheila Jeffreys. Unfortunately, most of the presentations had presented a rather traditional view of trafficking".

In conclusion, the research on trafficking should address different issues, such as the "demand" or the "understanding of the networks' organisation", which are necessary in order to implement adapted legislation and suitably combat the problem.

Delphine Robert and Ilenia Bertorello


In a chapter published in European Union Enlargement. A comparative history (edited by Wolfram Kaiser and Jürgen Elvert, 2004) and entitled 'Ireland: from isolation to involvement', Edward Moxon-Browne analyses the Irish experience as a unique case in joining the EU.

At the beginning Ireland entrance into EU was mediated by its relationship with Britain, but its membership has been relevant for the transition from dependence to interdependence toward its "neighbour". In fact economic and social data highlight an increasing development of the country independently from Britain's situation and, from a political point of view, these results have increased Ireland relationships with other countries.

The so-called 'Celtic tiger' syndrome has been perceived as a national achievement resulting from the participation of Ireland in the EU. The process of European integration, in fact, provides a protection within which national prospects can be optimised through a regional interdependent set of policy-making procedures, but maximised through opportunities offered by globalisation. But, according to the author, this can be true for other 'small newcomers', as the Irish experience demonstrates, but is not relevant for prosperous European states like Switzerland and Norway which avoid full EU membership since they can do without the need of 'regional protection' and take advantage of globalisation with few concomitant risks.

Ilenia Bertorello

The next issue of the CEUROS Newsletter appears 19 October 2005