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Next Conference: "The European Union at a Crossroads: Problems and Prospects"

September 23-24, 2017
The Ashburn Institute, an independent NGO committed to the promotion of democracy and international peace will convene a graduate student conference on the topic of "The European Union at a Crossroads: Problems and Prospects."
Democracies have faced a number of challenges to their political and economic stability. The 2008 financial crisis put a lot of strain on governments forcing them undergo socially painful austerity policies. The anti-austerity protests in Greece have demonstrated that even consolidated democracies are not immune to instability when they face economic or immigration pressures. The refugee crisis revealed vulnerabilities within all eastern and western European democracies, as discourse of xenophobia, bigotry, and racism became a prominent response by radical political parties who are ready to deny refugee rights guaranteed by international agreements. 

These challenges pose important questions about the European Union, the very future of the EU, and transatlantic relations.  We call for papers from graduate students (doctoral and master’s) engaged in research addressing the following subthemes/questions from normative or empirical perspectives: 
a)     The current organizational structure/ decision-making procedure of the EU. How functional is the EU, What can we do about it? The EU law and decision-making process shared by the EU main bodies.
b)    Deepening vs. widening discussion. What is next? Can the EU further deepen the integration process? And / Or which nations should be the next members?
c)     The EU as a “global actor.” Foreign relations of the EU: How common is the CFSP? Can the EU be a strong global actor without a common foreign policy? 
d)    Common Security and Defense Policy of the EU (CSDP): How “common” is the CSDP? What kind of security threats is the EU facing? Specific EU institutions such as the European Defense Agency.  


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