3-6 September 2023 | Belfast, Northern Ireland
11 September 2023 | Virtual
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Virtual Panel 104: The EU as an External Actor I
The Aspiration Towards Centrality in the European Research Area: Bringing the European Southern Neighbourhood Into the Picture
This article examines how research cooperation serves the goals of the European Southern Neighbourhood Policy and the European Research Area through the lens of motivations and pursuits of Europe-based project managers. Following insight obtained from eighteen semi-structured interviews with Europe-based managers funded by EU Framework Programmes, this article outlines that many Europe-based project coordinators welcomed Moroccan and Tunisian institutions to the consortium because this would enhance their position of centrality and point of expertise intersections in the European Research Area. Narrative analysis guides multifaceted conclusions. Agency strategies pursued through a scientific focus on the projects serve the overall goals of the European Research Area and the Southern Neighbourhood Policy. European project coordinators function as enablers of the EU structural diplomacy. The science diplomacy considerations are secondary and not unified across the examined projects.
On EU-centrism in the Debate on the Global Gateway and the Relevance of Shaping Perceptions
College of Europe, Natolin, Poland
The Global Gateway is an initiative that has received public attention unthinkable for EU development policy initiatives of the past. Much of the ensuing discussion focused on the relevance of the initiative for the (geo)strategic role of the EU in the world in line with the European Commission’s ambitions. It reveals the strong EU-centric nature if not of the initiative, but of the debate itself. In contrast, our paper starts from the assumption that the effectiveness of the Global Gateway initiative partly depends on how third countries perceive it. This perception is also shaped in the context of competing initiatives, most notably, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The EU seems to understand the relevance that its narrative has on external perception, for example, by promoting it in a marked contrast to the BRI. While debates around the Global Gateway pick up the EU’s promotion thereof, they are often EU-centric and mainly aim at criticizing the EU’s inadequacies, such as the lack of additional resources. Instead, our paper suggests that the promotion of the narrative is analytically valuable. This paper, therefore, asks how the EU seeks to shape the narrative of the Global Gateway initiative in the eyes of third countries in an attempt at promoting it. This work is relevant for anyone analyzing the external perceptions of the EU as well as the effectiveness of the Global Gateway initiative, which should be considered independently from how it affects the EU as a geostrategic or foreign policy actor.
Theorising Expectations-(Threat) Perceptions Gap: Evolving Images of the EU’s crises in Ukraine (post-Maidan and during the invasion)
Public Diplomacy and Political Communication Forum, Department of Media and Communication, UC, New Zealand
The aim of this paper is to further theorize and develop the notion a threat of abandonment while trying to elucidate the applicability and usefulness of this concept in the case of Ukraine in its fight against Russia since 2014. In a situation where Ukraine perceives the EU as being weakened by multiple crises, it may translate this image into a scenario of less attention to Ukraine and its problems, and – ultimately – to a threat of abandonment, of being left alone with a powerful aggressor. Theoretically, we employ a perceptual approach (Chaban and Elgström 2020, 2021, 2022) with a focus on critical expectation gaps. We introduce two amplifying conditions that tend to develop existing perceptual gaps between hopes and performance into a critical expectation gap: a broken frame of involvement and a perceived moral injury. Empirically, we investigate how Ukraine think, feel and speak about the risk/threat of abandonment and to what extent the two amplifying conditions were perceived to be present. Our data come from 50 in-depth interviews with Ukrainian political, business, civility society and media leaders conducted in 2016-17 and 50 experts’ comments published in 2022 by a Ukrainian leading social research group, Razumkov’s Centre, on its website.
India-EU Perceptions: Challenges and Opportunities
College of Europe Natolin, Poland
Mutual perceptions are a key challenge in India-EU relations. In an effort to undercover miscommunication and misperceptions between India and the EU and to unveil underlying tensions between them that may impact the effectiveness of their cooperation efforts, the paper will be in three parts. Part one will focus on Indian perceptions of the EU and the self-reflection of India in relation to the EU. It will critically consider the evolution of Indian perceptions of the EU as model of regionalism, as an economic, political, security, development, educational and cultural actor, as well as its role in human rights, international law, democracy, the environment, climate change, science and technology. This part will also briefly consider India’s self-visions mostly in relation to the EU’s perceptions and mis-perceptions of India. Part two will look at the perceptions of India by EU officials in Brussels and at the Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan as well as their self-perceptions of the EU in relation to India. Building on part one and two, part three will consider some of the reasons for the visibility and, in some cases, the near invisibility of the EU in India in specific fields and how this has changed over time. The study will combine the results of several studies conducted over the 2010-2023 period, including by the author.
Why do Indian and Eastern European voters prefer radical right populist discourse? An intersectional analysis
Babes-Bolyai University, Romania
By drawing a comparison between the Eastern European and Indian populist parties, the goal of the study is to point out the similarities in the populist mobilisation in apparently two different parts of the world. To understand radical right populist movements through their core discursive sequences, the paper classifies the political movements based on their construction based on religion, ethnicity, class, or gender identity. The comparative analysis is grounded in Laclau’s idea that people are “empty signifiers” across different cultural contexts; however, the intersectional analysis reveals that populist discourses are intricate constructs that rely on similar intersections, but the meaning and attraction vary across political and cultural settings. The analytical framework will highlight the penetration in everyday political discourse of the image of self and otherness located in India and Eastern Europe—more specifically, the Bharatiya Janata Party (India), FIDESZ (Hungary), The Alliance for the Union of Romanians (Romania), and Law and Justice (Poland)—in the way they articulate the sense of “Hindu” nation and specific senses of Eastern European identities according to their promoters. The study will show the significance of contextual analysis when examining and comprehending populist discourse. This is because certain dimensions, such as class, caste, or religion, may hold a prominent position in one scenario but not in another.
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