A FLAS Fellow's Semester Abroad in Amman

Audrey Dombro, an agricultural and consumer economics student and 2019-20 FLAS fellow, reflects upon her experience studying in Jordan.

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.

Reading Contagion through Boccaccio's Decameron

Dr. Eleonora Stoppino discusses the moments of social and ethical breakdown described by Boccaccio, as well as the potential for reconstruction after the plague.

Conversations on Europe

Watch the collection of online roundtable discussions on different EU issues sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh.

COVID-19 and Liberal Democracy in Hungary

Dr. Zsuzsa Gille responds to the "Enabling Act," passed by the Hungarian Parliament on March 30, 2020.

Videos of Previous Lectures

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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Conversations on Europe: EUC Videoconference series with University of Pittsburgh “Free Trade or Protectionism? Isolationism Amidst Globalization”

By AnnaMarie Bliss
September 20, 2016

For the first installment of the Conversations on Europe series for 2016-17, our panel of experts—Dr. Alasdair Young of Georgia Tech, Dr. Elvira Fabry of Norte Europe- Jacques Delors Institute, and Dr. David Cleeton of Illinois State—discussed the debate over free trade that has gained political traction in both the EU and the U.S. of late. What are the arguments being made for or against protectionism or fair trade on both sides of the Atlantic? How do we account for the rising hostility to NAFTA and TPP here in the U.S. and to TTIP and continued economic union in Europe? What are the post-Brexit vote implications?

Anti-free trade rhetoric is resounding in the current U.S. presidential election campaigns. Ratification of TTP is also a prominent issue running concurrently with the election race. Economists today have a consensus on the benefits of opening up markets, says Dr. Cleeton. The EU has a different framework for trade than the U.S., with small open economies and a shared currency that must maintain high productivity to maintain competition--Germany would be a prime example. We see job loss or gain through competition and innovation in the economy. Slow investment in both the public and private sectors is one issue. Technology is also impacting job skills and the supply is limited as we do not provide training for the necessary skills to utilize technology. Intermediate products, not final products, are more common in the U.S. economy. Trade negotiations will be more reliant on how we give access to service providers. We have spent decades lowering tariffs and realize that this will not make a difference.

EU general trade policy is very active and conducted by the European Commission, Dr. Fabry says. A similar backlash against trade policies is occurring with elections in France and legislative elections in Germany. Criticism of trade is more intense in some countries, including Germany and Austria, as globalization is being engaged where there is a larger mix of ideas and pro or contra sentiments. The higher level of interdependence may be more widely received, especially with reflection on the refugee crisis in Europe.

In the U.S. the opposition to trade is traditional. In Europe, the opposition to TTIP is much less traditional and more about the interlinked economy and movement of people, says Dr. Young. Protests in Germany against TTIP and CETA are prevalent. These agreements, however, differ widely in their ambitions. Globalization has to do with increased competition between partner states. Some industries have come down to minimal competitive companies and supply chains. All of the agreements try to address different issues in how we undertake competition. Trade now is likely to produce more influence with higher competition. Strong interest in multi-national corporations exists, especially with potential gains and open markets. We will continue with trade pacts in this vain. We may see some major strategic changes in TPP and TTIP negotiations in Congress following the U.S. elections.

Allyson Delnore of the University of Pittsburgh moderated the discussion.

The videoconference can be viewed on a new webpage or viewed here:


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Larry Neal Prize for Excellence in EU Scholarship Lecture: "From Single Markets to Transatlantic Markets: Lessons from the United States for Europe"

By Carlo Di Giulio 

For its opening lecture this year, the European Union Center at the University of Illinois hosted Michelle Egan, Professor and Chair at the School of International Service, at the American University in Washington D.C.

Egan was the 2015 recipient of the Larry Neal Prize for Excellence in EU Studies; this award was initiated in honor of Professor Emeritus of Economics Larry Neal, the founding director of the European Union Center at the University of Illinois, to recognize excellent research conducted by affiliated faculty of the EU Centers located throughout the United States and Canada.

Professor Egan offered an overview of similarities and differences between the EU and the US, such as their evolution and the comparable path they are following in their unity-building process. Her lecture shed lights on current difficulties in international negotiations, the stance of the two actors, and their internal struggles inevitably casting shadows on the international stage.

The EU is working through an integration process that the US already experienced in the 19th century. At that time, new territories had to be included in a common market under common rules. In the 19th century, the US Federal Government had to support states that had hard times keeping pace with financial requirements (Pennsylvania). In the 21st century, it is the EU's turn to support financially weaker states (e.g. Greece).

At the same time, differences between the US and EU exist and must be recognized. Regulatory integration is required in the EU with full acceptance of the acquis by new Member States; higher independence at a state-level is assured in the US. The difference in distribution of competences can be understood by observing the opposite perspective as well, as Federal-owned territories in the US cover a surface that would be the equivalent of multiple Member States in the EU.

The idea of independence and sovereignty is differently shaped in the EU and the US. Still, these ideas lead to similar conclusions, and fragmentation results in a decisive way for the outcomes of international negotiation and the issues being negotiated.

The 4 year long negotiation of a moribund Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is an example of irreconcilable differences leveraging on circumstances created through the process of integration. The federal/state level competence in the US, as well as the Supranational/National competence in the EU create a web of bureaucracy and conflict on rules and regulations. Issues, such as regulation of professions and authorizations or taxations, move between multiple layers and make the finalization of such a broad and comprehensive agreement nearly impossible.

At the end of her lecture, Professor Egan received the prestigious Larry Neal Prize for Excellence in EU Studies from Professor Emeritus of Economics Larry Neal, the founding director of the European Union Center at the University of Illinois, in recognition of the excellence of her research among the affiliated faculty of the EU Centers in North America.

The video of the lecture can be viewed on Media Space Illinois.


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