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EU-STRAT: A New Research Project on the European Union and Eastern Partnership Countries

News from Apr 28, 2016

Why has the European Union fallen short of creating peace, prosperity and stability in its Eastern neighbourhood? How can the EU support political and economic change in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, such as Ukraine, Belarus or Moldova? Against the background of the war in Ukraine and the rising tensions with Russia, a reassessment of the European Neighborhood Policy has become as urgent as challenging. Starting in May 2016, a new Horizon 2020 project named EU-STRAT (“The European Union and its Eastern Partner Countries - An Inside-Out Analysis and Strategic Assessment”) sets out to address these questions and challenges.

In a joint effort of eleven European partner institutions, among them the Center for European Integration at Freie Universität Berlin, the research project will develop a conceptual framework to capture the varieties of social orders in EaP countries and explain the propensity of domestic actors to engage in political and economic change. It will investigate how bilateral, regional and global interdependencies shape the scope of action and the preferences of these actors in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. The project also aims at evaluating the effectiveness of the Association Agreements and other EU instruments, such as scientific cooperation, in supporting change in the EaP countries. In addition, normative discourses used by the EU and Russia to enhance their influence over the shared neighbourhood are examined. By outlining specific scenarios for pathways towards development, the project aims to generate policy recommendations that help to strengthen the EU’s capacity to support change in the region.

The project will be kicked-off in Berlin with a panel discussion on the topic “Looking Inside-out: Strategies for Transforming the Neighbourhood” at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Germany on June 8, 2016. Throughout the ensuing three-day conference, all project partners, invited guests, and the interested public have the opportunity to discuss EU-STRAT’s research questions and agenda.

Funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, EU-STRAT will run from May 2016 to April 2019 with Freie Universität Berlin as its coordinating institution and Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel, Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Center for European Integration, as its project coordinator. EU-STRAT’s eleven-partner consortium includes six universities, three think-tanks, one civil society organization and one consultancy.

For further information or registration for the kick-off conference from June 8 -10, 2016, please contact eustrat@zedat.fu-berlin.de.

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