In its meeting of 17 May, the Board of Governors of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel unanimously agreed on the new statutes of the Institute for European Studies. The statutes outline the position of the Institute within university, and its relation to faculties and university management. Whereas previously, the IES operated under the auspices of the Faculty of Law, IES will function as an independent institute under direct supervision of the Board of the University. The more independent course underlines the Institute’s interdisciplinary character and clears the confusion that existed on its research status to date.
IES continues to support the Programme on International Legal Cooperation (PILC) although the academic supervision of this LL.M. remains under the auspices of the Faculty (of Law). The new statutes stipulate that IES will exercise a coordinating function in all European-focused programmes of University. To this end, special committees will be formed with representatives of faculty, IES and the respective programme co-ordinators. The new statutes can be found on the IES website.
The May 17 VUB-Board meeting also approved the IES moral and financial reports of 2004 Both reports have been sent to the Minister for final approval.
Multiculturalism in the EU
On 28 April, the IES lecture series on multiculturalism in the EU came to an end. The IES looks back on nine successful lectures of very high standard.
Dr Duncan adopted a Socratic approach of question and answer and invited the audience to interrupt him at any time – which they did! This made for a lively exchange and comparisons with the approach adopted by Professor Pearson in his discussion of U.S policy in this field. Dr Duncan explained the background to Canadian immigration policy that is based on the kind of points system now being considered in a number of EU countries. Canada welcomes 250.000 immigrants a year for a population of 31 million which is about the same proportion of migrants to citizens as in the U.S. About 85% of landed immigrants become citizens and Duncan explained that if immigrants do not take out citizenship as a result of their not being integrated into Canadian society, this is considered a failure. He added a rider that about half of the remaining 15% are from the United States and therefore do not feel the need to take out Canadian citizenship.
Duncan explained that the Canadian constitution has a charter of rights that protects everyone on Canadian soil including non-citizens. The advantage of citizenship is largely related to voting rights. Interpretation by the courts of constitutional rights has created a corpus of law and protection that has enabled immigrants to feel accepted in Canadian society even before they acquire Canadian nationality. He explained the concept of social capital that has gained credence in academic circles on both sides of the Atlantic. Essentially, social capital is the trust that is built up within society whether in families, businesses or between the agencies of government and the citizen. Such agencies include the police and the judicial system. Immigrants often come from countries where this trust is lacking and thus it is essential to create the same. Without a threshold of trust, society cannot function successfully.
Finally, Dr. Duncan said that in the past the concept of multiculturalism had been built into Canadian society. However, Canadians realise that something else needs to be added which is the trust created by social capital. He compared this with the recent declarations by Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the U.K’s Commission for Racial Equality. Mr Phillips called for an end to multiculturalism in Britain, proposing it be replaced by the idea of “Britishness”. Duncan said that Canadians believed in multiculturalism but that it had to be tempered with other ingredients.
The title of his lecture was Preservation, Integration and Assimilation: Judaism in a Multicultural Europe. The Rabbi’s reflections are based on the dilemma of European Jewry today. As a result of the Holocaust tragedy, he noted, there are barely a million Jews living in Europe out of 12 million in the world. The vast majority live in France and the United Kingdom (whereas before the Holocaust there had been three million in Poland alone). Rabbi Meyer said that it is estimated that 70% of Jews are lost to the faith in each generation through inter-marriage or complete assimilation into the wider community. Conversion is negligible and only children born of Jewish mothers are recognised as Jewish. Thus the first essential task is to preserve the Jewish community with its enormous cultural heritage. He said that Judaism in Europe is very different from Israel or North America. In Europe the transmission of the religion and the culture to the next generation has been cut off because of the Shoah (as the Holocaust is known).
Rabbi Meyer traced the history of the emancipation of Jews starting with Napoleon in France. However, the Emperor’s motives were not all altruistic and the Dreyfus affair put an end to the illusion that Jews were completely accepted as Frenchmen. He asked two questions:whether the mission of the Jews “to be a light to the nations” may be complete and “what did the voice of Auschwicz demand”? His answer is that Jews contribute simply by being present. Their contribution to equity and social justice in the world would outlast them.
With regard to integration into European society, he asked whether Jews have the will to be part of society? The Napoleonic idea had been to make Jews “useful members of society” to bring them out of the ghettos where their role had been strictly limited to certain tasks such as money lending. He quoted Rabbi Hillel (1st century of the common era) who said that it is a great sin for Jews to separate themselves from the community. All synagogues have prayers for the government of the countries in which they live and this fact reflects the Hillel tradition. It is also in the rabbinic tradition that the law of the land overrides Jewish law and that recognition of the countries in which Jews live is important. However, he said that Jews were often forced to be separate by law.
On assimilation, Rabbi Meyer said that loss of identity into the wider society is not a Jewish concept. Being a Jew is being different. Furthermore, he pointed out that German Jews were extremely assimilated and had been patriotic Germans. They were nevertheless the first victims of Nazism.
Rabbi Meyer indicated that he was very uncertain what the future might hold for European Jewry. There is no overwhelming will to emigrate to Israel. A balance needs to be struck between what Jews can bring to the wider society and yet preserve their distinctions. He ended by saying that “Jews are like the messenger running without a message.”
In the lively discussion that followed, Rabbi Meyer mentioned that he and his community in Brighton are working with other minority faiths and that he had committed himself to engage with the Tutsi community in Brussels. This led to further questions about what the Jewish experience might bring to other minorities. Rabbi Meyer’s lecture in many senses went to the heart of the issues being raised in this lecture series, namely how can European societies harness the talents and contribution of minorities and yet be tolerant enough to allow them to continue their distinctive way of life whilst fitting into the general framework of the communities in which they live.
Professor Martiniello’s presentation was a model of clarity in giving a breakdown of the issues at stake (The powerpoint slides will be available on the IES website.) He said that there are a wide variety of identities in Europe. He called this phenomenon “a diversification of diversities”. It is not limited, he said, to immigrant populations and he referred to social and economic diversity and the problems facing a permanent European underclass outside the mainstream of society, as well as political divisions, citing Belgium as a good example in this respect. Martiniello said that European homogeneity is “a myth”.
The challenge is to combine a more integrated Europe whilst at the same time giving a positive value to facets of diversity. In this context, do we need a new model of diversity management in Europe? Martiniello said that, although there is no one solution and that such solutions as there are require flexibility, two key issues are the acquisition of citizenship by migrants and social justice for all. If you keep people outside the inclusiveness of citizenship and also as an economic underclass, that is a recipe for the kind of conflict and soul-searching that has been seen in a number of European countries. The matter of citizenship raises questions of national sovereignty over the granting of citizenship. At the same time, the equation requires respect for core values such as democracy, human rights and non-discrimination.
Professor Martiniello mentioned a number of important steps that might be taken. These include financial support for immigrant groups, strong and effective anti-racist and anti-discrimination legislation, promoting multilingualism and a broadened curriculum in schools and accommodation of religious (not just Muslim) diversity.
Jean-Louis De Brouwer said that he was not as optimistic as Professor Martiniello that the right mix could be achieved. The key for migrants is citizenship and that is within the control of the Member States of the EU. He said that Member States were originally reluctant to accept the Union’s involvement in integration of migrants but that situation had changed with the Hague Programme. On the initiative of Member States, issues of integration of migrants are back on the EU’s agenda. However, until there is a Constitutional Treaty, there is no legal basis even if integration is in the political spotlight. There is nothing in EU policy papers about multiculturalism as such. It is considered too “dangerous” a topic. The expression used is inter-cultural dialogue. Mr. De Brouwer considers that the main problem is illegal immigrants. Theoretically, if they are discovered, they should be repatriated, but that is not practical. A way has to be found to integrate the “sans papiers” .
There followed a brief but lively questions and answer session. Professor Martiniello again stressed that there are no easy formulae. One can only take a pragmatic approach. For him, one of the key factors in successful integration is how people receive the same cultural message and what they make of it.
Van Orden observed that the United Kingdom, in particular, has been characterised over the centuries by openness to migrants, many of whom have helped create the rich tapestry that today is seen to be Britishness. In recent years there has been a change, not just in the scale of this migration but also in its nature and impact. This has coincided with a weakening of the core culture of the host society, which many seek to relegate to the position of just one of many cultures.
He noted that the concept of multiculturalism has been imported by Europe from America as a response to large-scale immigration into established societies. The concept is now defined in different ways. Some advocates seek a parallel existence and validity for other cultures at least on a par with the host culture. This approach is now rejected by some mainstream actors in the field. Another view is that the host culture should change to embrace the new cultures and emerge as a new multiculture. Either way, Van Orden sees multiculturalism, at heart, as a rejection of the norms, values and inheritance of a host society.
The last people that have any say in this are the individuals concerned. By its nature, multiculturalism is a group phenomenon in which activists and community leaders, often self-appointed, take a particular position, regardless of the extent that it reflects the true aspirations of individual immigrants.
Van Orden recognised that most people of immigrant origin are busy getting on with their lives as loyal, law-abiding, and hard-working members of society while there is a significant minority that has adopted a different approach. Involvement in terrorism is one topical and high profile example. It is in the interests of the newcomers themselves to limit further large-scale immigration with all the pressure and tensions that this will generate. He refers to the unhelpful role of the EU, an institution whose raison d’etre is the destruction of the nation state.
He suggested that the concept of nationality does not necessarily depend on ethnicity but subscription to core values and acknowledgement of a shared inheritance. Instead of supporting ethnic uniqueness and the institutions of separateness, effort should be concentrated on helping individuals integrate into the wider society. Van Orden suggested it is not individual immigrants that are the problem but their numbers and the influences upon them.
Professor Modood began by a theoretical model of multiculturalism which has to embrace racial equality, socio-economic mobility, an acceptance of difference and identity and a sense of belonging to the society in which one lives. All these factors interact. Modood believes that what is important is not what divides people but what unites them. One of the uniting factors is citizenship, not just in the bare legal meaning of the word but in all senses. He stressed that his and others motivation to study the subject is not just scientific curiosity but a real wish to deal with a living issue.
Professor Modood said that he does not consider multiculturalism
a theory or, as he put it, an “ism”. It is the dynamic outcome
of social and political struggles and negotiation, often involving civil
society outside the confines of the state. He believes that there is
a “catching-up” process by Moslems and indeed other sections
of society both minority groups, such as those with different sexual
orientation or race, but also women. This frequently translates into
pride in the differences with the majority and identity projection by
the minority group. However, he stressed that identities are not fixed
but determined by political context.
With regard to those of different religions, he first said that it was a question of “non-discrimination” but then preferred the term to “comparability” with the majority religion and even-handedness in financial support, for example, in education. He explained that Muslims in Britain had adopted certain strategies. What matters for them has nothing to do with colour (they are often labelled “Asians”) but rather their human rights and particularly religious equality. Modood does not believe that religion is ascriptive, that is a “given” in the lives of individuals which is part of their identity. He also challenged the notion that a secular state is a more tolerant or more accepting state for religious minorities and the belief expressed in Brian Barry’s book Culture and Equality that all liberals should embrace secularism. He believes that Islam (and other minority religions) to a degree defy secular notions of the state.
In a lively question and answer session, Professor Modood said that in the final analysis it was a question of inclusion versus exclusion. Successful multicultural societies need positive policies of inclusion. This informal and amusing, yet profound exposé was a fitting end to the lecture series that in due course will be published in book form.
New lecture series on foreign policy after 9/11
IES is launching a new lecture series this fall entitled “European foreign and security policy after September 2001 and the ‘new wars on terror’: reconstructing global order?”
The aim of this lecture series is to explore the impact of 9/11 and the Western war against ‘international terrorism’ and ‘rogue states’ on the conduct of European foreign and security policy and its underlying norms. Taking into account the international trends that were present prior to September 2001 and the internal dynamics of the European integration process, to what extent was European foreign and security policy substantially transformed by events and decisions taken over the past years? Are we witnessing the creation of a new form of European consensus around the need to fight ‘international terrorism’, deal with ‘failed states’ while simultaneously addressing the deep-rooted causes of external conflicts? Is the EU seeking to reconstruct the international system on the basis of cosmopolitan principles enshrined in international law or is the EU contributing to undermining these principles? To explore these questions the lectures will be organized around three overall themes:
Part one of the series will debate to what extent EU foreign policy makers are adopting the doctrines of ‘pre-emptive and preventive actions’ originally formulated in Washington and London between 2001 and 2002. Is the EU supporting a reform of the UN system to legitimise the doctrines of ‘preventive’ and ‘pre-emptive military action’ or is the EU resisting such changes with a new vision of world order? Through the development of the doctrine of ‘Right to Protect’ are Brussels-based EU institutions involved in developing an EU ‘ethical foreign policy’? What are the positions of Brussels-based institutions and EU capitals toward the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and in the Middle East?
The second part questions how the events of September 11 and the subsequent wars against ‘terrorism’ and ‘failed states’ changed the relationship between the EU, NATO and the UN in crisis management. It will investigate if the division of labour established between the EU and NATO in Afghanistan is a model for future Western engagements in the Middle East and will look if the EU is supporting a central role for the UN in the fight against international terrorism, as suggested by the High Level Panel’s report presented in December 2004. Is the fight against international terrorism becoming a key focus for the national security strategies of EU member states and of EU institutions?
Finally, the lecture series scrutinizes the significant modifications in European foreign and security policy towards the Middle East and other regions since 9/11. It will investigate if there is a process of substantial rethinking and if the reformulation of policies are linked to the doctrinal debates, or, as others claim, if it is merely driven by the agenda of other non-EU countries.
The new IES lecture series will take place every Thursday starting 6 October 2005. The lectures will take place in room D.2.01 of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and are organised under the auspices of Senior Research Fellow Giovanna Bono. More information will be available from our website
Proposed Collaboration with Uzbekistan
During his visit, Anthony discussed the possibilities of future collaboration with Rector Sodyq Safaev and provost Bakhodir Khodjaev. His main task, however, was the preparation of a joint application for the Jean Monnet Action of EC’s DG Education. IES further assisted in preparing UWED for other EC-grants with the involvement of the International Relations Department of UWED.
The University for World Economy and Diplomacy (UWED) was established
in 1992. It offers undergraduate and MA programmes in World Economy
and International Economic Relations, Legal Studies, and International
Relations. It also serves as diplomatic academy for Uzbekistan’s
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: UWED hosts approximately 1.500 students,
and runs a PhD programme that delivers approximately 100 doctoral
diplomas per year.
For the preparation of the grant applications, Anthony could draw upon the assistance of UWED-researcher Jamshid Normatov and International Relations student Ulugbek Shukurov; both were valuable collaborators!
The IES visit to Uzbekistan preceeded the tragic events in Andijan. It remains to be seen whether the EU will keep Uzbekistan on its list of fundable countries. Although we would understand such measures, it would be a pity for the Uzbek academic world in general, and for our collaboration projects specifically. To be continued ....
2nd Inter-University Summer School on the European Decision-Making Process
From 4 to 17 September, the IES, the University of Vienna and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna are organising two weeks of intensive study on the European decision-making process, geared towards students that have a background in (international) politics and/or (European) law.
Registration fee is set at € 620 for students from accession (or recently accessed) and CEE countries, € 850 for other EU students, and € 1.050 for overseas students or for any person who graduated before 2004.
Registration fee includes daily lunches in Brussels and daily lunch and dinner at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, travel between Vienna and Brussels (return bus ticket), and study visits. It does not include housing. However, we strongly recommend you to enroll for our additional accommodation programme both in Brussels and in Vienna (€ 150 per week). Particularly in Vienna, where the Academy will provide single rooms for all participants at a very competitive price. We do understand, though, that people living in Brussels or Vienna may wish to stay at their own place.
Registration can be done via the registration form, to be downloaded from the IES website summerschool/ Programme and details can be found on the same address.
IES Discusses Romania in Czech Centre
IES participated in a series of lectures organised by the Czech Centre called “Beyond the Present EU”, where on a monthly basis, one potential new EU-country is highlighted.
Richard joined other speakers on this event, which got the subtitle “Romania: Latin Roots, multicultural influences, European identity”. Host of the event was Pavel Cernoch, director of the Czech Centre, and other panel members included Maité Abram, Director of the European Movement Belgium, H.E. Ion Jinga, Ambassador of Romania to Belgium, Wenceslas de Lobkowicz, Head of Unit for Romania at the European Commission, and Leon Bakraceski, Network Development Director of the European Students Forum “Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe” (AEGEE-Europe). The panel talk was followed by a series of questions from the audience, and by a tasty buffet-reception at the Czech Centre, organised by the Romanian Mission.
Cooperation with Universities in Istanbul
Senior Research Fellow Richard Lewis visited Istanbul from April 4th to April 8th at the invitation of Jean Monnet Professor Kemal Kirisci of Bogaziçi (Bosphorus) University, Istanbul. He also visited Yeditepe University on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and was hosted by Professor Bülent Sözer of the Law Faculty.
He made presentations in both universities on the theme of where the limits to Europe lie. On the assumption that Turkey will be a Member State of the EU in the foreseeable future, he posed the question to his audiences of where the boundaries of Europe should be drawn and what affect this would have on both the institutions and the policies of the EU fifteen to twenty years hence. He asked students to consider the position of Turkey when asked in the future to pronounce on the prospective membership of the Ukraine or Belarus and what position they would take. In imagining a response, they might then understand the opposition that Turkey is facing in its own application.
Lewis analysed the arguments that opponents of Turkish
membership are putting forward which are mainly centred around the issue
of whether Turkey subscribes to European values and is culturally part
of Europe. The opponents of Turkish membership cite the fact that Turkey
is an Islamic country, albeit a secular state, and make great play of
Turkey’s low gross national product (GNP) per capita in comparison
with the current EU average. In response to these arguments, Lewis said
that although there are common threads to European culture and values,
they are interpreted very differently from the North Cape to Sicily.
Turkey is no different. Furthermore, Spain, Portugal and Greece, all
former totalitarian regimes, joined the EU partly to reinforce their
democratic credentials. If those countries, why not Turkey? There are
already 12 million people of Turkish extraction living in the EU so
that there is no reason to think that, as some would have it, Turkey
would become a ‘Trojan horse” for Islam. On the contrary,
it could help bridge the gap in understanding. On the economic side,
Turkey is enjoying high growth and has a dynamic manufacturing economy;
it is already in a customs union with the EU. It is true that the GNP
per capita is low but not much lower than that of Bulgaria and Romania,
both due to become members in 2007. Richard Lewis’ presentation
will shortly be available on the IES web site.
Both universities have impressive facilities and campuses. Bogaziçi started as Robert College in 1863, the first American university abroad. It was inaugurated under its new name in 1971 as a full part of the Turkish higher education system. However, classes are still taught in English. The university has a splendid location overlooking the Bosphorus, about 15 kilometres from Istanbul city centre towards the Black Sea.
Yeditepe - a university with which our Institute already collaborates for a few years - has an equally impressive ultra modern campus in a landscaped location about 25 kilometres due east of the city centre. The campus was inaugurated only five years ago and has a highly reputed medical faculty amongst others. It should be remembered that these are but two of the nineteen universities of various kinds in greater Istanbul. They serve a city population of 12 million people, 20% more than that of Belgium! This alone, should be reason to ponder the enormous potential of Turkey economically and intellectually.
New researchers at IES
Romanian Ionut Sasu started simultaneously with his research on the project “The EU after the constitutional treaty: effective and legitimate?”, a project headed by politics professor Dr. Maarten Theo Jans. Ionut investigates the way in which domestic institutions filter and mediate the processes of European integration. The research project starts from the assumption that, as governance levels increasingly interact, events at one level substantially affect events at other levels. Its purpose is to demonstrate that, despite the complexity involved in the processes of system integration and transformation catalyzed by the Constitutional Treaty, the converging and homogenizing effects of EU institutions are filtered, edited and significantly altered when faced with local structural specificities.
New PILC Professor
Earlier this year, Prof. Dr. Bernd Martenczuk joined the PILC-team to teach the course “External Relations of the European Union” (formerly given by Dr. Youri Devuyst). Dr. Martenczuk is German and received his PhD in Law from the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. He currently works at the Legal Service of the European Commission in Brussels where he is a member of the “External Relations” team, responsible inter alia for external aspects of Justice and Home Affairs, trade policy, development cooperation, ACP countries, law of the sea and fisheries. He is also aan agent for the Commissien in cases before the Court of Justice, the Court of First Instance and the WTO.
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