EU Day 2016

Learn about EU Day and the keynote delivered by His Excellency Henne Schuwer, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the U.S. on the 14th Annual EU Day on February 29th.

Master of Arts in European Union Studies

The European Union Center at the University of Illinois offers the only Master of Arts in European Union Studies (MAEUS) program in the Western Hemisphere. Learn more here.

EUC Dimensions of New and Heritage Language Education

Dr. Liv Thorstensson Dávila discussed langauge education as a part of the EUC Faculty Lecture Series.

Whose Legacy? Museums and National Heritage Debates

Watch the online roundtable discussion sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

2015 recipient of the Larry Neal Prize for Excellence in EU Studies

Read about the 2015 recipient of the Larry Neal Prize for Excellence in EU Studies, Michelle Egan, and her book Single Markets

Videos of Previous Lectures

Missed an EUC-hosted lecture? Our blog's video tag has archived previous EUC-sponsored lectures.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

MillerComm Lecture Series: Putin’s Russia: The past and future of Kleptocracy

By Raphaela Berding

On Thursday, April 21, the EU Center co-sponsored the talk “Putin’s Russia: The past and future of Kleptocracy” given by Karen Dawisha, Walter E. Havighurst Professor of Political Science and Director at the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies at Miami University in Ohio. Dawisha started her lecture by defining the term “Kleptocracy.” According to her, it is a system in which the risk is nationalized, and the reward is privatized. With regard to Russia it means that the immediate group around Putin wins, and the risk is taken for the sake of the Russian state. That being said, Dawisha went on to elaborating on various actors that care about the above mentioned situation. There are many actors in Russia that care; however, if they make their voice heard, they pay a price. The case of Deputy Prime Minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov who was murdered for being in an opposing position to Putin, can be seen as an example for how the opposition is dealt with.

Besides internal actors, there are also external, international actors who care about the Russian situation, namely the US and the EU. Dawisha mentioned the illegal annexation of Crimea in March 2014, after which the US and the EU used sanctions as a tool against Russia. Even though it was the first time in Europe after WW II that country borders had been changed with force, there was no military response. Instead the EU and the US sanctioned Putin’s circle. According to Dawisha, the EU and the US thereby signaled that they knew how Russia’s system worked, and this created mistrust within Putin’s circle.

Dawisha then went on to talk about the impact the Russian system has on the West. Russia contributes to weakening the international system because they pump money into the underground economy and weaken the post-Westphalian state, on which the Western countries are dependent.

Dawisha concluded her lecture by pointing out that the current situation in Russia did not occur because of an accidental process, but was already laid out in a document in 2000 which contained a plan for the system. For example, according to that leaked document every election under Putin was organized in such a way that the opposition did not have a chance. Dawisha also warned that the answer to the question “When did we lose Russia?” asked by every new US administration is “Russia lost itself.”
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Monday, April 25, 2016

VIDEO-Videoconference Panel Discussion (with U. of Pittsburgh): "The Continent is Cut Off!" British Referendum in the EU

By Raphaela Berding

On Tuesday, April 19, the EU Center co-sponsored the last videoconference for this semester, organized by the European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.

A panel of experts discussed the upcoming British referendum about an exit from of EU which is a highly important issue throughout the European Union right now, given the recent nature of it.

Four panelists contributed to the vivid discussion, which was led by the Director of the European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh, Ronald Linden.  Michelle Egan, Professor at the School of International Service at American University, Amelia Hadfield, Jean Monnet Chair in European Foreign Affairs at Canterbury Christ Church University, and Tim Oliver, Dahrendorf Fellow on Europe-North American Relations and Alan Sked, Professor Emeritus of International History, both from the London School of Economics shared their expertise on the topic. They addressed questions about the UK’s role in the EU, implications of the referendum for the UK, and in the end were asked to make a prediction about the outcome of the referendum.

The EU Center will continue to co-sponsor the Conversation on Europe series in collaboration with the European Studies Center at Pittsburgh next semester. If you missed the last videoconference, you can watch the video below. The EU Center would like to thank everyone for contributing to interesting discussions and hopes to see you in the Fall for more Conversations on Europe!


Watch the video of the virtual conference here, or watch it on Youtube:


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Friday, April 22, 2016

The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Trade, Agriculture, and Politics

Photo by Maxime Larive
By Carlo Di Giulio

"The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Trade, Agriculture and Politics" was an exciting event hosted by the European Union Center on April 8, 2016 in Chicago. The roundtable at the Federal Reserve Bank shed light on the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (better known with its acronym “TTIP”), the preferential trade agreement colossus and younger cousin of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) signed in the Fall by the United States and eleven Pacific countries.

The goal of these agreements is to reduce tariff and, even more important, non-tariff barriers to trade. The US and the EU, old and well established commercial partners, are looking to remove bureaucratic burdens while not lowering safety and qualitative standards for products and services. Although EU and US standards are both aimed to seek the best possible protection for consumers, they are often assessed following different procedures and thus are not fully recognized from each side. TTIP is also aimed to reduce these incongruences by recognizing equivalent rules and standards.

The high-profile panel offered an enlightening insight on the negotiations, with Prof. David Bullock as a moderator and a great number of questions from the public. But the event in Chicago was not only about the TTIP. Earlier in the afternoon, a lunch-buffet was accompanied by an informative session on the Master of Arts in European Union Studies (MAEUS) brilliantly conducted by Dr. Neil Vander Most, Visiting Coordinator of Academic Programs at the European Union Center of the University of Illinois. Perspective students and all those interested in the program had the opportunity to learn more about the MAEUS, and had many question answered during the presentation and the direct testimonials of current students.

The reception at the end of the event offered a chance to ask further questions of the panelists, as well as to discuss more informally among the participants on the future of the TTIP and Transatlantic relations. Nonetheless, great food and a friendly atmosphere made the event an even greater success.

In addition to this article, two collections of tweets from April 8 can be found below or can be found on our Twitter.  

Tweets from TTIP Day 2016
  

Tweets about #MAEUS from April 8, 2016

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

EUC Washington DC Trip 2016: Part Five

Photo by Emma Duan
By Emma Duan

As a part of the professional development of our MAEUS students, the European Union Center offers students the opportunity for a trip to Washington D.C. in the Spring semester. This year's trip happened from March 21 to the 24. This article is Part Five of a series of posts written by different MAEUS students. In this article, Emma Duan writes about the final day of the trip, March 24. Previous entries in this series can be found here.


On the morning of March 24, led by the Associate Director Dr. Larivé, MAEUS students had a very informative meeting with officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It began with a short presentation on the mission and organizational structure of the Foreign Agriculture Service. The undergoing TTIP negotiations were also touched upon. It was interesting to note that the term "biotechnology" was used instead of "GMOs." I guess that the choice of word reflects the different positions of the negotiating parties.


Photo by Emma Duan
The students also had a lovely conversation with two economists at the Agriculture Research Services. They shared with us their backgrounds and research methodologies, from data gathering to model building and refinement. To me, this was eye opening, as it was the first time that I had the chance to know how big data and the predictive analytics were used for non-business purposes. USDA also offers several pathway opportunities for students and recent graduates. Internships can be a stepping stone to full-time employment. Other suggestions offered by them? Get the job done; be nice to everyone and network.

This year the National Cherry Blossom Festival - the biggest springtime celebration at D.C.- started on 20th March right before our arrival. We could not afford to miss that. A walk surrounded by cherry blossoms from Jefferson Memorial to Martin Luther King Memorial is a unique offering of the Nation's Capital around this time of the year. We were just so lucky!


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