European Union Policy Studies

JMU Max Weber Graduate Symposium Spring 2017


SUMMARY: The Past, Present, and Future of the EU: Multidimensional Perspectives

This year, the Max Weber Programme and James Madison University’s Master in European Union Policy Studies presented their 10th Joint Graduate Symposium on European Policies. As in past editions, the symposium gave JMU’s MA students in European Union Policy Studies an opportunity to present and discuss their own research with Max Weber Fellows and the wider EUI community in an academic setting. The current cohort’s 10 students presented their graduate papers, encompassing a range of questions about the past, present, and future of the EU through multidimensional perspectives including economy, national/international security and European/foreign affairs. Their work was evaluated by EUI Max Web Fellows, who offered advice on how to improve and expand their analysis.

The day was divided into topical panels and concluded with a keynote lecture by Professor Stefano Bartolini, Peter Mair Chair in Comparative Politics, Department of Political and Social Sciences at the EUI. For those unable to attend the day-long event, here's a play-by-play of the day's presentations:

Panel 1 - Conventional and Unconventional Security Issues in Europe

Laura Benbow analyzed HR/VP Federica Mogherini’s new “Winter Package on European Security and Defence” and the shifts in the European security landscape since 2003 that have led to the promotion of this new, coordinated strategy. By looking at key moments in European defense policy starting with the 2003 European Security Strategy, this paper examined the various influences, key provisions, inherent issues and challenges, and future implications of the “Winter Package”. Katelyn Weeks assessed Russia’s sphere of influence in the Mediterranean region; Europe, northern Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. A historical analysis of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries determined that Russia’s spheres of influence in the Mediterranean have expanded over time to expand the limits of this regional’s power influence wider today than ever before.

Natalia Muniz took an in-depth look at the factors that have led to Islamic Radicalization in Europe through a case study on the discrimination and marginalization of Muslims in France and the United Kingdom. This paper gauged the effects of failed integration, conservative agendas, nationalistic sentiments, and socio-economic disadvantage and analyzed the contribution of each aspect to producing higher rates of Islamic radicalization. Anna Sullivan examined the effectiveness of the Common Agricultural Policy in eliminating food waste. The topic of the paper was prompted by the European Commission’s opening of public consultations. Examining the shortcomings and inefficiencies of CAP in being a comprehensive and modern policy, this paper resolves that there is not sufficient merging of social infrastructure to support the agricultural convergence that the policy requires to be fully implemented. The concluding findings are that the high costs of this outdated policy are not worth the low effectiveness.

Panel 2: Political Economy and the EU

Nori Rubin analyzed labor market problems in Hungary by drawing a parallel between corruption and government mismanagement. Discussing the ebbs and flows of the labor market within Hungary, the paper highlights that following the financial crisis, government policies largely failed to address labor market issues, resulting in higher rates of brain drain. At the same time, Hungary is experiencing severe labor shortages as citizens move abroad for more prosperous opportunities. The government’s main focus should be on increasing spending in areas such as education, health care and focusing on active labor market policies. Emily New-Cruse studied the link between globalization and income inequality in European Union member states. The paper sought to demonstrate the connections between the increased participation in globalization by EU member states and the perceived rise of income inequality in Europe from 2000 to 2015. The results of fixed effect models were not statistically significant and indicated that further research wold be required to define the relationship between globalization and income inequality. Erika Campoverde examined why the EU-US Privacy Shield is worth preserving in the changing realities of the security and technology sectors. The digital economy is developing rapidly worldwide. In the new digital era, companies can record consumer data in various, new ways. This paper looks at the validity of the present concerns about how personal information is being used in the interconnected, transatlantic flow of data and resolves that the EU-US Privacy Shield is worth preserving as it provides companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union to the United States.

Panel 3: Foreign Affairs of the EU

Jennifer Richards presented on the effectiveness of soft power in the European Union’s neighborhood policy through a case study of Tunisia. With its lack of military might and its reluctance to make use of economic sanctions in the Mediterranean, the EU has demonstrated its preferred use of soft power tools such as financial assistance through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). Based on the assessment of economic development and the development of the education system in Tunisia from 2007 to 2013, the paper determined that soft power has been largely ineffective in advancing the objectives of the EU in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Alexander Muydinoff surveyed the Russian Energy Strategy vis-à-vis the European Union and the rise of the “Turkish Stream”, specifically how Russia has used energy as an instrument of foreign policy. The paper argued that Russia’s foreign policy has three main goals: economic and political domination of the CIS, economic and political domination throughout Eastern Europe, and finally, to weaken the European Union by the monopolization of suppliers to key countries. The concluding findings of the paper are that the absence of a policy action to further diversify the EU energy supplies might lead to the continuation of overreliance on Russia and turn Turkey into a major energy hub country on the European periphery. Jesse Giammarino studied China’s Grand Strategy and the EU by analyzing Chinese geo-economics towards member states’ stances on the South China Sea. This paper examined the effectiveness of China’s foreign policy tools used to influence the positions of the Czech Republic, France, Poland, and the United Kingdom. The findings suggested that China’s Grand Strategy has been ineffective for the four countries surveyed due to increased diplomatic or economic relations with China over time with globalization.

A link to the event on the EUI website can be found here:

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Published: Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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