Current Projects

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Constructing Europe's Borders

Directors
Prof. Frank Schimmelfennig
Dr. Marie-Eve Bélanger

Researchers
Dr. Liudmila Mikalayeva
(more to come!)

Duration
2017-2020

Funding
This research is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Chair of European Politics at ETH Zurich.

Summary

This research project traces and maps the transformation of the political discourses on Europe’s borders and membership, both in the European Union (EU) and in its contested neighborhood. It is designed to show how the positions and arguments of political parties on membership issues have shifted over time in a range of European countries, and how these changes influence membership practices. In doing so, it contributes to a better understanding of the historical changes that the region of Europe is currently undergoing, above all the contestation of “Europe” and the move toward “differentiated (dis)integration” in the region.

In this project, we seek to establish how membership discourses are structured, how they diffuse among European actors, and how they impact membership decisions. To address these questions, we focus on three aspects: (1) the content of membership discourse; (2) the aggregation of membership discourses into discourse coalitions; and finally (3) the effects of discursive shifts on institutional practices of membership.

This research makes four important contributions to the study of European territorial integration. First, it examines the most recent political discourse after the “big bang” enlargement of the mid-2000s and studies the impact of the current changes in the internal and external European context. Second, it broadens the scope of analysis to include Eastern European “contested territories” and Russia, which have not been part of comparative studies of membership discourses and politicization so far. Third, it builds on discourse network analysis, an innovative methodological tool, to analyze actor and party positions on membership issues, the frames they use, and the formation and change of national and transnational discursive coalitions over time, based on an extensive dataset of parliamentary debates. Finally, it connects shifts in membership discourses to a new range of membership practices, via the discourse institutionalization model.

Internationalisation and representative democracy

Directors
Prof. Francis Cheneval (University of Zurich)
Prof. Frank Schimmelfennig
Dr. Thomas Winzen

Researchers
Jofre Rocabert

Duration
2013-2017

Funding
Swiss National Science Foundation in the context of the National Center of Competence in Research: Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century

Summary
Many believe that policy-making beyond the nation state undermines domestic representative democracy. Moreover, representative democracy beyond the state is considered improbable because for the foreseeable future there will be no world government that could be accountable to a global parliament and no global demos. Scholars have instead focused, first, on alternative forms of accountability based, for instance, on civil society or markets; and, second, on the virtues of international cooperation that may outweigh representative democratic deficits.

While a global parliament is unlikely, representative democracy may nevertheless manifest itself in international politics in at least two ways: (1) the re-creation of more modest representative institutions at the global and regional international level; and (2) the adaptation of national parliaments to international policy-making. Both processes have received less scholarly attention than the dominant view that internationalisation and representative democracy are not easily compatible. Consequently, we know little about the extent and determinants of the national and international parliamentarisation of international policy-making.

We pursue three goals in this project. First, we aim to map and explain the existence of representative institutions in IOs and the strength and types of their authority. Second, we extent our previous analyses of national parliaments in the European Union, examining how and why parliaments use their formal powers to become involved in EU decision-making. Third, we study the connection between the legitimacy and parliamentarisation of international organisations. Normatively, we develop standards to assess current patterns of parliamentarisation. In collaboration with other projects in the NCCR Democracy, we analyse whether parliamentarisation affects individual and media awareness and perceptions of IOs.

Reputation-seeking and capacity-building?

Compliance with EU rules in Western and CEE member states across different policy areas


Directors

Dr. Asya Zhelyazkova
Prof. Frank Schimmelfennig

Researchers

Cansarp Kaya
Reini Schrama

Duration

2013 - 2017

Funding

This research is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Chair of European Politics at ETH Zurich.

Summary

Research on member states’ implementation of EU legislation into national settings is abundant, but has mostly focused on the 15 Western member states with regards to their efficiency (speed) in adopting the EU requirements. However, there is little understanding whether national legislators and implementers in the enlarged Europe actually meet the European standards in a correct and appropriate manner. To fill these gaps in knowledge, the project addresses the following research questions:

Descriptive questions: Do we observe systematic variation in compliance (a) between different EU member states, (b) between different forms of compliance with EU law such as efficient and correct legal and practical implementation?
Explanatory questions: What factors account for variation in compliance across (a) EU member states and (b) different forms of compliance? For example, do the same mechanisms that explain variation in the 15 Western member states also influence the countries from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) or patterns in the latter group are explained by a different set of factors? How can we explain why some member states may notify timely measures that do not correctly meet the EU standards?

To address such questions, the research project aims to analyse a comprehensive data set substantive compliance with EU rules in 25 member states (15 Western member states + 10 CEE countries) regarding directives from four policy areas: Internal Market and Services, Environment, Social Policy (employment and anti-discrimination) and Justice and Home Affairs.

Research Proposal (PDF, 441 KB)

EU Enlargement Strategy in the Western Balkans

Effects on the Rule of Law in Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia
 

Researchers
Prof. Frank Schimmelfennig
Dr. Asya Zhelyazkova
Ivan Damjanovski
Zoran Nechev
Sena Maric

Duration
2014 - 2017

Funding
This research is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation as part of the program "Scientific co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland" (SCOPES).

Summary
In this research project, we assess the effects of the European Union’s enlargement strategy towards the Western Balkans. In contrast to previous waves of enlargement, in order to obtain membership in the EU, the Western Balkan countries are required to have the most difficult acquis effectively and sustainably implemented before accession. Their accession process is even further complicated by the widespread “enlargement fatigue” among the member state societies and due to legacies of civil war, ethnic conflict, and recent statehood.

The project thus starts from the research question how the EU’s enlargement strategy has worked under these comparatively unfavorable circumstances. Can we explain its effects on the basis of existing theoretical approaches and factors that have proven relevant for Eastern enlargement? Or do we have to adapt our models and explanations to the circumstances of enlargement to the Western Balkans? Finally, which strategies and instruments have worked effectively?
The project will undertake three country case studies focusing on the EU´s political criteria and the rule of law issues covered in chapters 23 and 24 of accession negotiations: the judiciary, fundamental rights, and "Justice, Freedom and Security".

 
 
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Sat Jun 24 03:50:06 CEST 2017
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