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UACES Graduate Forum Research Conference: Call for Papers

European Futures: What Next Two Decades after the Eastern Enlargement?
Vrije Universiteit
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Call for Papers

We are delighted to invite submissions to our annual conference critically examining European futures in the context of the European Union's (EU) landmark 2004 enlargement. This conference provides a platform for researchers to present work on European studies and enjoy insightful discussions on the dynamics, challenges, and far-reaching implications of the EU's decision to expand its membership then and now, during a period of significant geopolitical shifts.

The year 2004 marked a significant juncture in the European Union’s (EU) history, with the largest-ever enlargement to include post-communist countries from Central and Southern Europe. It not only highlighted the EU's stated commitment to promoting regional stability and integration but also raised questions about its broader implications for many applicant countries, the EU itself, and countries wishing to join the EU. The 2004 enlargement was a turning point that shaped the EU's borders, complex nature, future, and role on the global stage. Twenty years on, what do European futures look like?

Two decades after the enlargement, the EU faces complex political, economic and security challenges, including growing instability on its southern and eastern borders, the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit, a migration crisis, and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Accordingly, the Union has a complex picture and questions its “unity in diversity” idea, from further enlargement to Brexit, from a genuinely common foreign policy towards refugees and a clear stance in the global market, from its constitutional culture to illiberalism and opposition. Those countries outside the EU are contending with similar challenges, navigating the geographic, political, social, and economic context of being in Europe but not the EU. What do European futures look like for them, and how are they navigating these challenges?

Aiming to shed light on these questions, we invite master's students, doctoral students and early-career researchers from across the field of European Studies to submit paper and panel proposals addressing the theme of ‘European Futures: What Next Two Decades after the Eastern Enlargement?'

We welcome proposals from all European Studies disciplines and related fields to foster cross-disciplinary conversation, including (but not limited to) Political Science, Law, Sociology, Economics, History, Gender Studies, Anthropology, International Relations and Public Policy. We hope that this conference will address the topic in various ways and from various perspectives.

Conference Themes:

We are keen to receive proposals relating to any of the following themes. Please indicate if your work is relevant to any of the following themes when submitting your paper:

  • EU enlargement: where next?: Papers on this theme could explore the multifaceted dimensions of the EU enlargement, better understand the potential benefits and challenges it presents, and examine its impact on regional stability, institutional capacity and the EU's ability to promote democratic values and cooperation in an ever-evolving international environment.
  • Policymaking in the European Union: Papers on this theme could explore the EU's decision-making processes and their implications for both internal and external citizens. Topics of interest include the democratic nature, legitimacy, and equity of the EU's decision-making, focusing on the methodologies employed by policymakers to address multifaceted challenges. We also welcome contributions examining the participatory dynamics of interest groups, including business entities and civil society, and their influential roles in shaping policy outcomes.
  • The Rule of Law in the European Union: Papers on this theme could explore issues like the Annual Reports of the European Commission on Rule of Law, violation of fundamental freedoms, democratic backsliding, political corruption, implementation of the acquis Communautaire, or Article 7 of the European Treaty. This theme provides an avenue for exploring legal, political, and institutional dimensions, shedding light on the intricate dynamics that shape the Rule of Law in the EU.
  • Common Foreign and Security Policy: Papers on this theme could explore the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including the Dublin Regulation and migration reforms, the role of Frontex in border management, cybersecurity and digital security, energy security imperatives, EU-Russia relations, the conflict in Ukraine. Additionally, we welcome papers on this theme on the EU's responses to terrorism and its initiatives in nuclear security, providing a comprehensive overview of the EU's strategies in common foreign and security concerns.
  • The EU as a global actor: Papers on this theme could explore areas such as trade policy, strategic autonomy, decolonisation and relations with former EU colonies, EU engagement with the UN Security Council (including representatives, membership debates, common or uncommon incentives), conceptualisation of Europe as a global actor (such as normative, regional, soft, hard, and pragmatic power Europe) and the EU and the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Environment and environmental politics: Papers on this theme could explore areas such as climate politics, ecological security, the impact of climate change, and climate change policy.
  • Elections and electoral politics: Papers on this theme could explore the dynamics of electoral outcomes relevant to Europe or the European Union.
  • Critical approaches to European studies: Papers on this theme could explore the voices marginalised in dominant narratives within European studies, scrutinise the EU's relations with the global south, the historical trajectory of EU scholarship, and the voices included and excluded in academic discourse.
  • Open theme: If your paper does not align with the above categories, please select this option, and we will assign your paper to a relevant panel. We encourage diverse submissions that contribute to the intellectual breadth of our academic discourse.

Please submit your papers by 23:59pm (GMT) on Monday 26 February