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Monday, 27 January 2020

Western approaches to South East Europe: Engagement or neglect?

The Hilary Term 2020 Seminar Series – on Security Challenges in South East Europe in a changing geopolitical context – kicked off on 22 January with a session on Western Policy Approaches to South East Europe: engagement or neglect? Chaired by Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College), the speakers were Mirena Pencheva (St Antony’s College) and Jarek Wisniewski (Independent Analyst).

Anastasakis began with an overall introduction to the Seminar Series, which sought to look at geopolitics from a multidisciplinary viewpoint. He recalled the series four years earlier on a similar theme, wondering whether we were now seeing the return of geopolitics with a vengeance. This series would focus on three categories of concern: the role of external actors; new threats common to states; and, internal regional security threats. He highlighted three outdated assumptions: that actors were unified – this was no longer the case for the US, the EU or even within countries; that international security had to be based on territorially defined borders – challenges were increasingly transborder and shared; and that the actors were just states –in fact they now also included economic entities, non-governmental bodies, civil resistants and even migrants.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Life outside the Euro—Monetary and financial issues for the EU periphery and beyond

Conference of the European Political Economy Project (In association with SEESOX)

St Antony’s College, 23 January, 2020

European countries that have not adopted the Euro face a complex set of issues regarding their interactions with those countries that have adopted it, and ultimately have to decide whether and when to join the Euro and the banking union (BU). Similarly, EU member states that have adopted the Euro face complex issues in their relationships with the non-Euro member states. The eight member states outside the Euro are economically and politically important. They have a total population of 105 million people, a significant number and more than any individual member state that has adopted the Euro. They range from among the richest to the poorest EU members.

On 23 January 2020 the European Political Economy Project (EuPEP) of the St. Antony’s European Studies Centre (ESC) hosted a conference that looked instead at monetary and financial issues for those countries that are not at the core, i.e. have not (yet) adopted the Euro—defined as the EU “periphery” in this context. Much research on EU integration looks at the “core” EU member states, defined here as those that have adopted the Euro as their currency, and focuses on them in analysing the speed and priorities for taking forward the European project. This conference sought instead to look at the policy choices and experiences of the countries at present not in the core.

The conference took as a starting point that “one size does not fit all” as regards countries’ monetary and financial management within the EU, and that seeking to fit all member states prematurely within the same shoe may undermine the stability not only of that member state but also the EU as a whole. Early inclusion of Italy and Greece, for example, has likely worsened the economic performance of both countries over the past decade, with adverse knock-on effects on the rest of the EU.