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.


Prof. Ingrid Shikova

Prof. Ingrid Shikova, PhD, is the academic coordinator of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence project. Her academic carrier is dedicated to European Studies. One of the founders of the European Studies Department at Sofia University, she has a vast teaching experience and many publications in the field of European integration including textbooks for higher and secondary school level. She has specialised at prestigious universities in Europe –

the College of Europe, University of Limerick, the Netherlands Economic Institute and other. Her specific academic fields are policies of EU, economic integration. She was Head of the Department of European Studies at SU during the period 2006-2010. Prof. Shikova has been a director of the Centre for European Studies and the Information Centre of the EU in Sofia, as well as an advisor at the European Commission Representation in Sofia.

Prof. Shikova is a guest lecturer and member of the managing board of the Diplomatic Institute to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. She is member of the Academic council of the International Centre for European Education (CIFE) – Nice, France. In 2009 she was awarded the Sofia University blue ribbon honorary sign for her contribution to the development of European Studies in Bulgaria.

Prof. Georgi Dimitrov

Georgi Dimitrov is professor of sociology, Dr. Habil. He is one of the founders of the Department of European Studies at Sofia University, the Department of Sociology at the South-Western University and co-founder and president of the Association for social studies and applied research practices (1994-2000). He is the head of the Masters Programme “European Studies and Social Sciences” at the Department of European Studies at Sofia University. He has been awarded a Fullbright Scholarship as a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago and George Washington University in Washington. He has specialized in the field of historical sociology, European studies and governance in higher education in Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium. He has participated in more than 30 research project, primarily as a project leader. He has been a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Social Science Education (2006-2014). Author of numerous books and articles in scientific journals both in Bulgaria and internationally, incl. “European Civilization Process”, “Politics of Science in Sofia University”, “The Cooperation and Verification Mechanism – Shared Political Irresponsibility”. In 2014 he was awarded the National award “Pithagoras” for substantial contribution to social sciences and humanities.

Associate Professor Kaloyan Simeonov, PhD

Associate Professor Kaloyan Simeonov, PhD, is the Head of the Department of European Studies at Sofia University since 2015. He is an expert, Master of European Studies at the College of Europe – Natolin (Poland) and Master of European Economic Affairs from the University of National and World Economy, Sofia. He is a lecturer in “Socio-economic development of Bulgaria after 1990”, “Economic and Monetary Union”, “Participation of Bulgaria in EU decision-making” and other. He has worked at the Ministry of Finance, the administration of the Ministerial Council, he has been a lecturer at the University of National and World Economy, the New Bulgarian University, American University, the European Institute of Public Administration, the Institute for Public Administration – Sofia, the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is the author of over 70 publications in Bulgarian and international journals, co-author of a textbook on European Integration and author of several studies on European topics. Member of Team Europe. He has participated in numerous projects and missions in Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan and other.

Associate Professor Mirela Veleva-Eftimova, PhD

Associate Professor Mirela Veleva-Eftimova, PhD, is a historian, associate professor in history of European integration. At the Department of European Studies at Sofia University she teaches “History of Europe in the XX c.” and “History and theories of European integration”. She has been a Jean Monnet lecturer in the field of Eastern enlargement in the period 2012-2015. She is the author of the studies “History of European integration”, “History of the European idea”, “History of Europe in the XX c.” She has specialized in Maastricht University (the Netherlands) and the European University Institute (Italy). Her current research interests are in the field of the Eastern enlargement of the EU and EU’s politics towards the post-communist countries.

Dr. Linka Toneva

Dr. Linka Toneva holds a PhD in EU Political Studies (2012) from the Department of European Studies at Sofia University. She has a MA degree from Lund University, Sweden (2006) and Bachelors in both Political Science and European Studies from Sofia University. In the past 10 years she has participated in research and advocacy projects for various non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria. Her research interests include public partnerships in EU policy-making, transparency/integrity standards, civic participation in reform processes, the functioning of the CVM in Bulgaria. She has published in international and Bulgarian journals and participated in academic conferences on topics related to post-communist transition, rule of law and civil society.

Dr. Borislav Mavrov

Dr. Borislav Mavrov works an associate lecturer at the Department of “Public Administration” at Sofia University and he is also part of the team of the Jean-Monnet Center of Excellence at the Department of European Studies, Sofia University. His research interests are in the field of International Relations and Foreign Policy, European Integration and Enlargement, etc. Dr. Mavrov is Programme Director of the European Institute in Sofia and has actively participated both as a team leader and a senior researcher in many international scientific and networking projects at EU level, as well as in the Balkans and in the Black Sea region.

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