The Jean Monnet Module “Patterns of Europeanization in Central and Eastern Europe” focuses on a debated, yet insufficiently explored, field of the European studies – the mechanisms of Europeanization in the “newest member-states”. This becomes of topical importance in the current context, which places the EU under multiple pressures (i.e. the conflict in Ukraine, the “refugees crisis”, populist discourses and extremist movements), which impact upon how citizens relate the EU and to the benefits of European integration. This urges academics in the field of European studies to propose projects, which could stimulate the feeling of belonging to the EU and resurrect the trust in the European project, at such.
The Module is premised on the tacitly acknowledged fact that the “younger” member-states, such as Romania, undergo a European integration process, which is inherently influenced by both their recent history and current geopolitical position. However, most of the teaching, debates and research on Europeanization employ the concepts and theories developed by scholars in Western and Northern EU, thus matching the explanatory requirements and integration logic of those regions. Teaching, debates, and research on Europeanization of the CEE countries is rather scarce.
The Module will be dedicated to students enrolled at the MA in Communication and EU Affairs, being hosted by the Center for EU Communication Studies (CECS). This Module builds on an extensive study drafted by CECS fellows and Institute for European Studies (Free University of Brussels) specialists, focusing on the qualifications and competencies required from university graduates to improve their access to the European job market, and, more specifically, to professions dealing with EU Affairs. The Module adds academic value through several key elements:
- it helps fostering and promoting the idea of European integration, in a contextualized manner, adjusted to the patterns of Europeanization in the CEE, by focusing on both core fields (i.e. Europeanization) and corollary notions (i.e. public opinion, EU identity);
- it creates new teaching and debating activities, which strengthens the new “EU Affairs expert” academic qualification, that was launched by our university in Summer 2016, through the Master in Communication and EU Affairs;
- it promotes some transversal competencies deemed essential for an EU affairs specialist, such as communication, team work, negotiation, conflict management, or leadership;
- it promotes new teaching methods (i.e. blended learning, simulations, debates);
- it supports our university in training specialists who will actively contribute to preparing Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, scheduled for 2019;
- it engages the civil society, policy-makers, and the academics in Romania and other CEE countries in fruitful debates on the benefits of Europeanization and on how these benefits could be best conserved and capitalized upon;
- it promotes transdisciplinarity and internationalization, by creating opportunities for participation in joint activities for scholars in CEE (i.e. academic conferences and research).