Universiteit Leiden

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Europe and the World


The research in the framework of the Jean Monnet Chair is focused on the following points.

1) Socialisation processes and contestation in European Foreign and Security Policy

The research project focuses on the socialisation processes, loyalties, attitudes and roles of different types of diplomats involved in the making of European foreign policy. The subject is very current, as the European External Action Service is in its infancy, while already having caused a lively debate in Europe’s capitals about its usefulness, effectiveness and the consequences its establishment may have for the traditional, national diplomatic corps. The addresses some fundamental and outstanding questions regarding European Foreign Policy, including the concerns about the democratic deficit and the delegation of powers to the ‘supranational’ level, such as the one of the European Union. The foreign policies of EU member states are now interconnected with that of their counterparts, from the process of formulating positions and exchanging information, to agreeing on common collective responses. This is done in Brussels through a network of national representatives, who remain in close and regular contact with each other. Arguably the growing institutionalisation undergone by the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) since the early 1990s has accelerated these processes of cooperation among EU member states, leading to a convergence of views and foreign policies. Some authors have also argued that this increasing cooperation might result in the emergence of a common European identity in the long term. The project evaluates these claims and, based on extensive empirical evidence, investigates the effects of institutionalisation of European Foreign Policy. The project aims at making both theoretical and empirical contribution to the academic literature. Theoretically, it engages with several important debates, such as the agency-structure debate. It scrutinises the relationship between the agents (diplomats and officials) and the structures (their institutional environments whether in the capitals or in Brussels). It helps to answer the question under which conditions the agents can exert influence on policies in a complex and institutionalised environment of European Foreign Policy. The research also engages with the debate on the nature of European integration, especially in the domain of foreign and security policies. Academics already questioned whether it can be described merely as intergovernmental, the project provides further evidence that the development of CFSP/CSDP escapes the intergovernmental vs. supranational dichotomy. With direct relevance to this debate is the discussion on Principal – Agent (PA) analysis. Here, the project shows the limits of traditional, rational choice PA, by providing evidence of the agents loosening the control by the member states as a result of socialisation processes within the institutional environment in Brussels. Finally, the research also engages with the debate on the accountability and legitimacy in European Foreign Policy. This research is conducted in collaboration with Dr Ana Juncos from University of Bristol in the UK.

2) Council negotiations in European Foreign Policy: contesting the ‘golden rules’?

The fears that the Council negotiations would be blocked and therefore the policy-making would hit a ‘deadlock’ were common before the Enlargement of 2004. The new member states, however, after some initial adjustments went through intense learning and socialization processes and observed the consensus-oriented culture of complex negotiations. This resulted in them playing ‘by the rules’, as accounted for in the literature on Europeanisation. Recently, there have been several developments that may have affected the dynamics of Council negotiations. Firstly, Lisbon Treaty introduced some institutional changes: the meetings were now to be chaired by the representatives from the EEAS, while the HRVP gained some official agenda-making powers. Some observers feared that the removal of the rotating presidency would result in a more difficult process of consensus-seeking because the member states would not any more look for reciprocity from the others when they resumed the position of the chair. Secondly, populist parties had won elections in countries such as Hungary and Poland. The domestic discourse on sovereignty and ‘raising from one’s knees’ in international relations were likely to influence the conduct of diplomacy, also in the European Union. The paper investigates whether there were indeed any changes in the negotiation dynamics and discourse used in the realm of foreign and security policy, also in more insulated and less politicized settings of Council Working Parties and Committees. Are these countries, who were already labelled as ‘troublemakers’, a threat to a coherent foreign and security policy of the Union?

3) Regional Groups within CFSP: what keeps Visegrad Four together

This research analyses the evolution of Visegrad cooperation (V4), in particular within the European Union, through the prism of International Relations theories, aiming at explaining the nature of the relations between these four small Central European countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—and their change over time. The project would argue that while the concrete motivations behind co-operation may be explained by the functionalist logic of neo-liberal approaches, its broader determinants fit better with a social constructivist explanation. The very existence of Visegrad results from an attempt at (re)inventing and fostering a Central European identity. Visegrad originally emerged as an elite socio-political project aiming at anchoring to the West an imagined community of ‘advanced’ post-communist countries. Since the accession of its members to the EU and NATO, it has turned into a platform to promote their ‘common interests’ and distinctiveness within the European Union. In this process, V4 co-operation seems to matter most to its participants rather than to its external partners, contributing to the definition of their sense of the self and symbolic place in the European and world order. The recent revival of Visegrad can be best seen as a defensive response to recent trends and events in international relations—namely perceptions of rising intergovernmentalism in the EU, Russia’s renewed interventionism and the American withdrawal from Central Europe—which have spurred a growing fear of marginalisation. However, the Ukrainian crisis has exposed the limits of Visegrad cooperation by highlighting their lack of common security identity. This research is conducted in collaboration with Dr Pierre Bocquillon from the University of East Anglia in the UK.

4) The Two Pillars of New Intergovernmentalism? Comparison between the European Monetary Union and the Common Foreign and Security Policy

The theoretical framework of new intergovernmentalism holds that policy-making within major new areas of EU activity which were created with the Maastricht Treaty or thereafter follow a different logic than policy-making within core domains of single market integration. Notably, senior intergovernmental decision-making forums such as the European Council and sectoral groups of ministers and senior civil servants who meet frequently and decide mainly by consensus are taking the lead in processes of policy initiation, adoption and execution whereas the role of traditional supranational institutions is modified substantially, if compared to classic community method governance. The economic governance framework of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) represent the two most prominent examples of these new areas of EU activity. Moreover, both policy areas have moved centre stage in EU politics. The institutional dynamics with EMU economic governance and CFSP have dominated recent processes of wider EU institutional reform including, most prominently, the Lisbon Treaty. Ironically, the parallel institutional developments in both policy areas and the consequences of EU integration have been largely ignored by the literature. This research project compares processes of institutional change in both policy areas over the course of the last two decades of European integration and tests the core hypotheses of the new intergovernmentalism on the centrality of intergovernmental policy deliberation and the modified role of supranational actors as well as the emergence of de novo institutions. This research is conducted in collaboration with Prof. Uwe Puetter from the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.

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