International Conference: The Future of EU and Eastern Europe

May 27, 2017 | Sofia, Bulgaria, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Aula Magna

Schedule of the conference

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Political Science Department of University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridsky”

The EU has been of crucial importance for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe since 1990. It has provided an overriding goal for their political development, and it has projected its “soft power” in the shaping of their institutions and political practices. Some of these countries, including Bulgaria, have already become members of the EU and for them its influence has been much more direct and visible. Others are aspiring members. Still others – like Russia – have taken a path of their own but their development has also been influenced and structured by interaction with the EU.

At the moment the EU is undergoing a variety of crises some of which are quite serious. The financial architecture of the Eurozone has been put to the test. Although the peak of this crisis was probably in 2012, there are unresolved issues concerning fiscal coordination and integration, which continue to trouble the EU. The public debt management in the Southern periphery of the EU continues to be an issue and it casts its shadow over political processes in Greece, Italy and Spain.

The Brexit referendum was probably the most serious hit which the EU has taken in its recent history. The exit of the second largest economy and the country with the most serious military capability among the EU members will no doubt affect future political developments.

The so called migration crisis also adds pressure and affects political processes in the core countries of the EU – Germany, France and the Netherlands. Combined with the rise of terrorist activities this crisis provides a fertile ground for national-populist parties whose openly states aim is to dismantle the EU.

And finally, the deterioration of the global security situation is quite visible not only because of unresolved military conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Ukraine, but also because of the rise of the authoritarian tendencies in key regional players such as Russia and Turkey. When the unpredictability factor of the Trump election in the US is added to that, the future of the EU and Eastern Europe become topics in need of serious academic discussion.

In this relation, the department of Political Science at the University of Sofia invites papers which should fall in some of the thematic areas listed below:

  • Generalizing on EU prospects: enlargement or shrinking?
  • EU democracy in crisis or in decline: how effective is EU in protecting and promoting democracy?
  • The impact of the financial crisis on the institutional architecture of the EU and its political implications.
  • Refugees, migrants and populists: who is the biggest danger?
  • Merkel or Orban: the impact of populism on the future of the EU?
  • The issue of corruption: is it going to be forgotten due to security considerations?
  • Foreign policy or foreign policies of the EU: Ukraine, Russia and the Eastern Europe.
  • What is Eastern Europe 27 years after the fall of the Berlin wall?
  • The Western Balkans and the EU: a return of the regions?
  • Turkey: a potential member or a rival of the EU?
  • The Syrian crisis after the Trump election in the US: where does Europe stand?