Jean Monnet Guest Lecture: Ever Larger Europe

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By Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, PSIA Assistant Professor & Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies


YEREVAN – On January 31, 2014, the American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Political Science and International Affairs (PSIA) program hosted a guest lecture entitled “Ever Larger Europe.” The lecture was delivered by Professor Eiki Berg from the University of Tartu in Estonia for students taking the “European Integration” and “The European Union and the World” courses. It was organized by Dr. Syuzanna Vasilyan, Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies and PSIA Assistant Professor.

After being introduced by Dr. Vasilyan, Professor Berg started the talk by stressing that the University of Tartu is known in Armenia because Khachatur Abovyan, a famous Armenian writer, studied there back in the 19th century. He moved on to elaborate on the European Union’s enlargement policy by looking back at the waves and the changes (territorial, demographic, economic, etc.) that have occurred throughout the history of European integration as a result of the expansion of the bloc from 6 to 28 member-states (with Croatia being the latest to accede into the Union in 2013). Professor Berg drew distinctions among the potential candidate countries in terms of the time required to join the Union and the specific challenges, described the stages and the criteria for accession, as well as the current state of affairs with the candidates. He closed the lecture with the lessons to be learned. Afterwards he answered questions posed by PSIA students about the lengthy process of joining the Union, the overseas territories of the member-states, how the “Europeanness” of a country is determined, whether federalism is feasible, etc.

Dr. Vasilyan explained, “Through enlargement, the EU changes the ‘face’ of the aspiring candidates by improving their economic, political, social, environmental, etc. standards. The EU’s enlargement is an external policy exercise, which is subsequently internalized. Therefore, it is a highly interesting subject matter for students of International Relations and European Studies.”

Eiki Berg is Professor of International Relations at the University of Tartu. Since 1996, he has worked at the Institute of Government and Politics, generally focusing on critical geopolitics and the studies of borders and border regions, in particular. Among his recent research activities, his studies about territoriality and sovereignty issues in contested states have gained more prominence. He has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals on bordering practices, identity politics and power-sharing in post-conflict settings. He is co-editor of Routing Borders Between Territories, Discourses and Practices (Ashgate, 2003) and Identity and Foreign Policy: Baltic-Russian Relations and European Integration (Ashgate, 2009). During the years 2003-2004 he served as a Member of Parliament (MP) in Estonian Parliament and observer to the European Parliament, EPP-ED faction, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Common Security and Defence Policy.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

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