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European Commission grants five million euros for international project on European foreign policy: Research consortium to be coordinated at Freie Universität Berlin

Participation by 14 institutions in 12 countries

№ 346/2017 from Dec 21, 2017

The European Commission has approved five million euros for a research project to assess foreign policy of the European Union. It will be coordinated at Freie Universität. As of March 2018 the involved researchers will investigate security issues and contested orders in the region east of the European Union and in the Mediterranean region. Among other things, the researchers will address the possibilities of the EU and its member states to foster resilience in the neighborhood of the EU, in order to deal with security risks and threats in areas of limited statehood. The project is being funded under the EU's Horizon 2020 program. Entitled "Europe’s External Action and the Dual Challenges of Limited Statehood and Contested Orders" (EU-LISTCO), the project involves 14 institutions in 12 countries.

The EU-LISTCO project is being coordinated by Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel, director of the Center for European Integration, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse, director of the Center for Transnational Relations, both at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science. The project will be funded by the European Commission from March 2018 through February 2021.

The institutional partners of Freie Universität include highly regarded research institutions such as the European University Institute in Florence, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, Bilkent University in Ankara, and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), as well as renowned think tanks in Berlin, Rome, Brussels, Warsaw, Barcelona, Kiev, Tbilisi, and Ramallah and the foreign policy advisor to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy within the EU. Institutionalized exchange of knowledge with partners in the German, French, and Italian Foreign Ministries as well as the European External Action Service in Brussels will be a special feature of EU-LISTCO. The project will thus Europeanize the already existing cooperation between political scientists at Freie Universität Berlin and the German Federal Foreign Office.

Two risks characterize the European Union's regional and global security environment and pose fundamental challenges for European policymakers: on the one hand, EU states are partially surrounded by areas of limited statehood, i.e., states whose governments are too weak to enforce generally binding rules and the monopoly of force. On the other hand, the liberal and democratic values on which the EU is founded are challenged by authoritarian governments and illiberal populists both from and within member states of the EU itself. Together, areas of limited statehood and contested orders represent vulnerabilities and risks that can pose security threats to the EU. The researchers in the EU-LISTCO will investigate under which conditions governance problems and contested orders in areas of limited statehood can become security risks for Europe and how the EU and its member states can respond effectively.

The researchers will combine risk scanning and foresight methodologies with comparative case studies to identify tipping points at which risks turn into threats. They will also assess the strategies, capabilities, and policy instruments of the EU institutions and selected member states, taking into account the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Global Strategy. They will share their findings via various publication formats including articles in scholarly journals, briefing papers, and blog posts.

More Information

Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse, Project Coordinator, +49 30 838-55527, Email: thomas.risse@fu-berlin.de