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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Comparative Politics


EUROFORT: How the Rest of the World Affects European Integration

The European Union (EU) is challenged, as perhaps never before, to develop internal cohesion and solidarity while simultaneously opening up its borders in a globalizing world. This creates both opportunities and challenges for Europe: opportunities, because the external pressures emanating from the rest of the world—from competition from emerging economies to the contagious diffusion of international crises—can provide a centripetal impulse forcing European states to accelerate the process of European integration; but also challenges, because the new cutthroat international competition provides centrifugal pressures for EU member states to trample over their European partners and jettison the accomplishments of European integration.

Scholarly efforts to analyze these (very real) dynamics have been hampered by the problem that they intersect classic divisions of academic specialties—International and Comparative Politics, Political Economy and Electoral Studies, Law and Political Theory, to name just a few. These field divisions are handled differently on both sides of the Atlantic, and so are the main perspectives on the impact of the “rest of the world” on European integration. Consequently, we propose a research collaboration that would address these problems by combining the strengths of both Princeton and Humboldt, building on research projects already underway between some of the participants and developing new projects, especially geared towards younger researchers. Key research foci include: 1) European Trade Policy and Transatlantic Free Trade; 2) The European Union as an Actor in International Relations; 3) European Migration, Asylum, and Citizenship Policy; 4) Inbound and Outbound Foreign Direct Investment in Europe; 5) The Euro Crisis and European Cohesion; 6) European Institutions and the Democratic Deficit.

Concretely, the program would provide seed money for research collaboration for faculty and advanced graduate students, summer research grants on a competitive basis for early doctoral researchers, as well as short field research grants for BA students working on their senior thesis and MA students working on their paper. Through mentoring in Berlin and Princeton, students would be given guidance on their particular research projects, contacts to local academic specialists, and logistical help in organizing their research stays—which could take place inside and outside of our university sites, for example in Brussels, Strasbourg or Washington, DC. In addition to local mentoring and logistical help, the faculty and staff of our particular programs (the BGSS and the EUPP) will invite some of the grantees to participate in our annual research workshops. In addition to scholarly publications, the collaboration would provide us with the chance to apply for continued research funding.

Principal Investigators

Humboldt-University: Ellen M. Immergut, Director, Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences

Princeton University: Sophie Meunier, Co-Director, European Union Program at Princeton