Has the EU’s Eastern Enlargement Brought Europe Together?

The research project “Maximizing the integration capacity of the European Union: Lessons and prospects for enlargement and beyond” (MAXCAP) aims to assess the process of EU’s Eastern Enlargement. The leading notion of the 9 renowned European universities and expert organizations is that the assessment of EU’s approach towards the integration of the countries of the Eastern Enlargement has the potential to inform the current enlargement process, including Western Balkan countries and Turkey, who aim at EU accession. This multifaceted assessment can help build a foundation for policy recommendations to improve the integration capacity of the EU in the future. By presenting the research findings as well as opinions and discussions from the international seminar in Sofia, this publication is a continuation of the productive dialogue among academic circles and institutions, which is at the heart of the MAXCAP project. The approaches towards future EU enlargements have to be sensitive to the diverse trajectories of the societies of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, which are not necessarily only negative, as the debate in Sofia has shown. This calls for innovative research instruments which can register the specificities in the different national cases, including public attitudes towards integration. The texts in this publication are primarily aimed at the solution of this methodological task.

The publication „ Communication Strategy for the Accession to the European Union”

The publication „ Communication Strategy for the Accession to the European Union” is the result of a collaborative research project with the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and Hanns Seidel Stiftung. The aim of the research is to study the experience of the implementation of the communication strategies for EU accession of countries like Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia, candidate countries – Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, in order to provide specific recommendations for improving the communication with the citizens. The book was presented on 22 February 2017 at the EU House, Sofia. Among the participants were ambassadors and diplomats of the Western Balkan countries, representatives of state administration, young diplomats and students.


EU Policies – Simulation game

Prof. Ingrid Shikova The objective of the simulation is to take students close to the practice of negotiations and decision making process in the European Union.  The simulation methodology comprises preparatory lectures, readings, writing of position papers, simulation exercise. The simulation will present the EU as a negotiation system, the main actors: institutions, lobbies, public opinion, the EU negotiation culture etc.  The topic of the simulation game is decided every academic year according to the recent developments at the EU. This simulation will help students to: - gain an intellectual understanding of negotiators’ behavior and of the central concepts in negotiations as they apply in the European Union institutional context; - improve their ability to analyze the negotiation situation and learn how to develop a toolkit of useful negotiation skills, strategies, and approaches adapted to work in the European institutional context.

Empirical studies of the EU integration

Prof. Georgi Dimitrov This optional 30 hour course in the BA program gives a chance to the students of European Studies to become acquainted with some best foreign examples of empirical research on EU integration and to participate themselves in an actual research process in a comparative cross-country study. The course is meant to change annually its focus of research interest. For the first year the accent will be on a comparison of the integration trajectories of Bulgaria-Serbia-Slovakia; for the second year – Croatia-Serbia; for the third – Bulgaria-Romania-Macedonia. The students who take this course will:

  • have advanced knowledge about the processes of the enlargement of the EU in their historical dynamics and national varieties;
  • have sound knowledge of some major research trends in the Europeanization literature in comparative perspective;
  • be trained to take part in studies of the Europeanization processes as researchers;
  • be encouraged to pursue higher levels of academic career;
  • be prepared for the work necessary for a successful defence of their master and dissertation theses.

Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)

Assoc. Prof. Kaloyan Simeonov The course Economic and Monetary Union is thought from several years. At the same time at EU level many reforms of the EMU were introduced after the crisis from 2007-2008 and several modifications of the functioning of the EMU were implemented. These reforms and modification lead to the need to introduce amendments in the course on EMU that is thought in the third year of the bachelor programme of the European Studies Department. One of the future amendments will be about the impact of EMU on the countries from South-East Europe. There are specific issues such as the unilateral euroisation of Montenegro and Kosovo, the currency board arrangement in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the substantial impact of the EMU on all countries in the region. The current syllabus of the EMU course focuses on the theoretical aspects of the EMU, the creation and the functioning of the EMU in the first years after the introduction of the euro. The update of the course will introduce several topics related but not limited to a) the substantial amendments of the EMU in the recent years, b) the debates for the future EMU development and c) the impact of EMU on the countries from South-East Europe.

History of EU Eastern Enlargement

Assoc. Prof. Mirela Veleva The main aim of the History of EU Eastern Enlargement course is to enhance student understanding of the current nature and operation of EU, to increase the chances of the students to pursue careers in areas related to EU administration policy making and politics at national or EU level by providing them with professional transferable skills and in more abstract terms to stimulate their European identity by including Eastern Europe and particularly Bulgaria in European integration historical narratives. The course is targeting advanced students, who would like to go deeper into the exploration of the nature and character of the EU, as well as the prospects for its future development. The students may be already acquainted with elements of EU studies from the point of view of history of European integration and current history of Europe. The core objectives of the course are twofold. The first it is designed to acquaint the students with the evolution and unfolding of eastern enlargement process and the factors that drove this process forward with special accent on the norms which are decisive in shaping the eastern enlargement and the main instruments of EU to “europeanize” Central and Eastern Europe.  Secondly, regarding the need of annual actualisation of the teaching content - the students will be provided with an opportunity to explore the issue of the chronological and institutional framework of eastern enlargement by the case of Bulgarian participation in it – the normalisation of the relationship with the EU, their institutionalisation, the official application for accession, and the process of negotiations – the main political factors in the domestic decision making process on EU issues, the impact of “Europe’ on domestic institution, the Bulgarian progress to membership according European institutions  - Council, Commission, Parliament. In the framework of the Centre of Excellence project, an actualization of the teaching content is foreseen, which will enhance student understanding of the nature and operation of the EU by institutionalization of the using of Electronic archive of the EU accession. Also, the new teaching content will enhance the European identity and the sense of European citizenship by developing a common historical narrative to Eastern and Western Europe and therefore stimulate the citizen activity at European level.