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Sciences Po and the IPLI Foundation co-organise a merit-based competition open to our Master in European Affairs students

  • © Sciences Po© Sciences Po

Sciences Po and the IPLI Foundation, which supports research projects dedicated to public policy in Europe, have joined forces to co-organise a merit-based competition open to students of the School of Public Affairs' Master in European Affairs programme. This competition will share the vision and ideas that these students present regarding the future of European integration.

Like in the Age of Enlightenment, the applicants will be asked to answer the following question: "How can the desire for independence of European nations be explained when the interdependence between them is the strongest it has ever been in the European Union?" They will be writing an article of several pages in English.

A jury will select three winners in the Spring, each of whom will be awarded a €5,000 scholarship by the IPLI Foundation.

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Enhancing Policy making in the Western Balkans

a School of Public affairs programme for young civil servants
  • © Sciences Po - 2018 cohort © Sciences Po - 2018 cohort

For the third year, Sciences Po School of Public Affairs hosts from the 3rd to the 14th of December, 2018, a delegation of 30 young civil servants from six countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of Macedonia and Serbia.

This executive training, the "EU Scheme for Young Professionals in the Western Balkans", takes place in the context of the Berlin process and in the framework of the European Union’s Connectivity Agenda for the Western Balkans. 

It aims to contribute accelerating the accession process and to deepen regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. Its main intention is to bring updated insights about EU policy making and best practices for administration reforms and cooperation process, connecting the participants with the key actors of those fields, both among European and international organisations and national administration and Parliament.

What could be expected of such a transnational training programme? Answers with Pierre Mirel, Director Western Balkans at the European Commission from 2006 to 2013), who has met with the participants. 

What is the current state of relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans?

PM : Looking at a map is striking: Western Balkan countries are an enclave in Europe, surrounded by member states. Their stability is therefore part of our security. That was precisely the purpose of the Stabilisation and Association Process, with membership perspective, offered by the EU after the Balkans wars and agreed at the Thessaloniki summit in 2003. 15 years later, only Croatia has joined the EU. Montenegro and Serbia are engaged in accession negotiations, which should be opened also with Albania and Macedonia in 2019. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are in an early pre accession phase, the latter even not recognised by 5 member states. 

Their economic integration with the EU is at 70%, thanks to the Association agreements. But the overall socio economic development is weak, with high unemployment and a brain as well as skilled workers drain on the rise. The continued weakness of the rule of law, widespread corruption and the lack of effective checks and balances, including by the parliaments and the media, concur to a disillusionment of citizens. This situation, as portrayed by the European commission in a communication on 6 February 2018, entails the risk of external destabilising influences; unresolved bilateral issues and minority’s claims offering additional opportunities. Hence the re engagement of the EU at the Sofia summit in May, along the European commission proposed six flagship initiatives and building on the Berlin process.

What has the Berlin process already achieved?

PM : Launched in 2014 by Chancellor Merkel, the Berlin process initially focussed on ‘connectivity’ in transport and energy, badly needed in the WB and also as a response to increasing investments from China and Russia. A multi annual Action plan for a Regional Economic Area was afterwards agreed at the Trieste summit in 2017. The necessary involvement of civil society and of solving bilateral issues quietly was emphasised at the Vienna summit in 2015. The Paris one in 2016 focussed on Youth exchange. At all these meetings, rule of law related reforms were the overarching principle, not least for an investment climate conducive to economic growth.

These agreements were encompassed in the six flagship initiatives, endorsed at Sofia and by the June European Council, on the rule of law, security and migration, good neighbourly relations and reconciliation, connectivity, socio-economic development and digital agenda. So, the WB have now a clear reform and investment programme, with the reinforced support of the EU. The next summit, scheduled in Poland in July 2019, will take stock of the progress.

What does such a group of civil servants look for in this EU focussed programme?

This group is at Sciences Po as part of a three-year pilot programme for young professionals in the WB, which was decided at the Paris summit in 2016. This is the third edition. Its objective was two-fold: to introduce tools and policies useful in their work in the EU accession context, and to get acquainted with best practices from France and other European countries. The focus is therefore on EU accession related reforms, such as public administration, financial planning and sustainability, internal security and ecological transition. The training methods aim also at developing negotiation and communication skills, notably through role plays. Discussions with practitioners, including through visits, constitute also an important part of the programme.

Which main outcomes can be expected?

A direct outcome would be to have a much better understanding of what EU related reforms and EU membership entail for the governments and civil servants, and to introduce new working methods in their work back home. In that context, lessons from previous accessions and current issues impacting the process, on both the EU and WB sides, are essential.

Another expected outcome is to contribute to mutual understanding between these young civil servants who, in spite of sharing identical tasks in the context of similar accession paths, come from countries where deep nationalist rhetoric, or blame game with neighbours, are often used, which tend to reinforce old prejudices. By being together for several weeks, participating in role plays and sharing common countries accession issues, should help them developing good personal relations indeed. It is hoped that this should facilitate direct contacts in their career, in particular when their countries may be faced with difficult relationship. This is, I am convinced, the most important outcome of the programme.

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Pasts and futures of the Left. Learning from history, rethinking progressivism

  • © Ed Miliband, House of Commons & Member of Parliament© Ed Miliband, House of Commons & Member of Parliament

For the first time this semester, the School of Public Affairs offered the course “Pasts and futures of the Left. Learning from history, rethinking progressivism” taught by Ed Miliband, Member of the UK Parliament and former leader of Labour Party and Jenny Andersson, CNRS Research Professor and researcher at CEE.

The course combined historical perspectives on the political theory and economy of the Left in Europe and the US with perspectives on contemporary debates that define Leftist thinking. The course set actual experience of politics in theoretical light, mixing historical analysis with concrete innovative policy ideas for the future. On a weekly basis students had the opportunity to meet and discuss with Jenny Andersson and Ed Miliband to tackle  different key issues for the Left and not only: among others, environmental protection, inequalities, globalization.

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The Euro-Atlantic solidarity against terrorism

Precious Insight into a Pressing Issue
  • © Alexandros Michailidis - Shutterstock© Alexandros Michailidis - Shutterstock

On Thursday, November 8, the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs welcomed Bernard Cazeneuve, former Minister of the Interior and former Prime Minister of France, and Jeh Johnson, former United States Secretary of Homeland Security, for a conference on "The Euro-Atlantic Solidarity Against Terrorism". We interviewed one of our students for feedback on this event. Antoine de La Roche Kerandraon, in the first year of his Master's degree in Public Policy, with specialisation in Security and Defence, has accepted to answer our questions.

Can you first tell us about the context in which this meeting took place?

ALR: Mr. Cazeneuve has offered a fascinating course this semester - on the fight against terrorism in France! Security and Defence students are usually the only ones who can register for this course, which is unfortunate given the importance of the issue. Every semester, Mr. Cazeneuve would invite a guest lecturer to the school, thereby opening his teaching to a wider audience. This conference is indeed a course of its own, and not a mere supplement to his course. This semester, Mr. Cazeneuve brought in Mr. Johnson. We couldn't have asked for better! 

What themes were of particular interest to you?

ALR: There were so many! Let me focus on the new challenge that is raised by reticular terrorism - or homegrown terrorism. It exists in the United States as well as in our country and fundamentally changes the situation for the Department of Homeland Security, as it was precisely intended to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into the American territory. The threat from people born in the United States had not been anticipated - nor in France, for that matter. 

Both speakers of the conference being lawyers by profession, they also spoke at length about the balance between the respect of rights and law enforcement. I particularly enjoyed this part of the conference: I find that it is too often forgotten - namely in the public debate - that terrorism threats can also come from the State itself. 

In short, I think that this event was beneficial for all, including those outside the academic community. It enabled a better understanding of the modalities of the fight against terrorism outside the French framework and of the common challenges that we and our allies face.

What will you remember most about this conference? 

ALR: The particular way in which Mr. Johnson took our questions: he came down from the stage to stand directly in front of the student asking the question. It was terribly intimidating! But I think many of us appreciated his flamboyant and "out of the box" ways that made our exchanges all the more frank.

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The second edition of the Sciences Po Review of Public Affairs is online!

  • © Sciences Po Review of Public Affairs© Sciences Po Review of Public Affairs

The School of Public Affairs is pleased to announce the release of the second edition of the Sciences Po Review of Public Affairs

No fewer than 28 authors from the School of Public Affairs, the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), the Doctoral School have participated in its production. Following its founding goals, the Review illustrates the diversity and the richness of public affairs at national, European and international levels. 

We wish you a pleasant reading!

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