POLICY PAPER – EU-EMES- 611501-EPP-1-2019-1-EL-EPPJMO-PROJECT
In the framework of its European Governance Programme, the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) expands its activities on the European Union’s (EU) Policies towards its East Mediterranean maritime space, as part of the external aspects of the EU’s energy and security policies, two fields identified to be particularly under-represented at present in the academic community in Greece.
The aim is to promote reflections and enhance knowledge on the subject by supporting a scientific team, giving the opportunity to excelling academics, researchers and their respective departments, as well as to experts in relevant fields, from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Greece, other universities in EU Member States and from dynamic higher education institutions in Eastern Mediterranean Countries (Cyprus, Egypt, Turkey), to unite their strengths and foster dialogue on the EU’s Neighbourhood Policies (especially in the Eastern Mediterranean Neighbourhood) as well as on EU Energy and Security, at large.
This cross-fertilisation project aimed at boosting existing knowledge on the subject, and at analysing recent geopolitical developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region. In view of the abovementioned, three main thematic areas are assessed: (i) EU Energy policy, in relation to new alternative supply routes and sources, new findings as sources of potential conflict and new partnerships with Egypt and Israel, (ii) The application of EU’s maritime policy in the Eastern Mediterranean and (iii) EU Security issues and politics, in relation to dispute settlement and conflict management.
Hence, the project focuses on EU’s actorness in the region (EU as a force of stability in the region), implementing multi-disciplinary approaches in relation to political, economic, security, migration and institutional co-operation aspects in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and in terms of EU’s Resilience Policy and (new) integrated approach. In this vein, alternatives to energy supply from Russia, as well as all sorts of challenges in the EU East Mediterranean space, including environmental challenges, are examined.
Moreover, the project enhances the EU orientation of the involved academic institutes and inaugurates co-teaching for students of the involved parties, by organizing common pilot activities (i.e., one policy-oriented conference with forty participants, and one seminar for researchers/young researchers with sixty-three participants) with a view to explore further academic cooperation and the appropriate tools to support it.
In this context, and in order to foster dialogue between the academic community and experts on the one hand, and policy making on the other, the project involves, both in its activities as well as in its dissemination and outreach, interaction with high-impact policymakers in Brussels, Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Space countries, including international organizations/bodies, such as the European Security and Defence College (ESDC). In the same vein, and in terms of expanding the network of Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA, a more active cooperation so as to establish a solid academic partnership will be sought with the European Public Law Organization (EPLO) and the Hellenic University Association for European Studies.
In brief, the main outputs of the project include: one Preparatory Paper in view of the policy-oriented Cross-Fertilization Conference, a Policy Paper on EU’s Eastern Mediterranean Policies with focus on Energy Security and EU’s Neighbourhood Policies, and a Policy Report on Perspectives for Academic Cooperation in the East Mediterranean Region (edited/collective volume), all documents as an outcome of the policy-oriented conference; and 5 Selected Papers written by the researchers/junior researchers of the seminar.
The “EU Policies Towards its East Mediterranean Maritime Space: Energy & Security” project (EU-EMES) is expected to bring positive and long-lasting effects to the participants involved (i.e., professors, researchers, students, administrative staff of the involved universities, experts, policy-makers, ESDC military officials, journalists and the general public in the involved countries).
The project has attracted approximately sixty-three researchers/junior researchers in the involved East Mediterranean Maritime Space countries, reinforcing the European dimension in their research. It has also increased interest in understanding the functioning of the European Union (short-term indicators of success of the project). In parallel, it has significantly impacted Greek researchers reinforcing their understanding and knowledge or increasing their interest in EU’s policies in its East Mediterranean borders (short-term indicator of success of the project). Moreover, it has supported involved staff, professors and their assistants (young researchers) to carry out research and teaching on the subject, increasing opportunities for academic staff in terms of professional and career development (long-term indicator of success of the project). Furthermore, the project, by providing an EU micro-institutional environment, significantly contributes to the (EU) socialization of East Mediterranean academics, researchers and experts, which results in a long-lasting Europeanisation impact. The afore-mentioned activities of the project are also expected to increase capacity to teach and research on EU matters, increase capacity to attract excellent students in Greece and Eastern Mediterranean countries and reinforce cooperation with partners from other countries, on which the programmes focus, opening further perspectives for multi-level synergies, which is a clear (mid-term) indicator of the project’s success.
More particularly, the EU-EMES project aims at promoting excellence in teaching and research, as well as at fostering awareness and dialogue with policymakers, in the field of European Union’s Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Space Policies on Energy and Security, a specific subject which is sidelined in European studies in Greece, despite the fact that it increasingly affects EU politics. These objectives are achieved through cross-fertilization activities between the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA and other academics in Greece, in other EU Member States (e.g., Cyprus, Belgium, France, Malta), the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) and with two academic entities in East Mediterranean countries, i.e., Cairo University (Egypt) and Kadir Has University Istanbul (Turkey), and Israeli Researchers.
The project’s key staff has been selected based on their academic and research excellence in this particular field of study, and from various disciplines, such as Law, Political Science, European Studies/Europeanisation, Environmental Studies, Political Economy, Energy, Energy Security and Business, Regional studies, but also based on their records in promoting European ideas and values in their respective countries (e.g., Jean Monnet Chairs). Besides, the academic coordinator, Professor Yannis Valinakis, has a long experience in teaching and directing multi-disciplinary research teams and a wide knowledge of EU issues and European policy-making and regional security, and has served as Greece’s Minister for European Affairs.
The core subject area of the project lays under the EU and Comparative Regionalism Studies and EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies, Energy Security, Energy and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Studies, as this results from the proposed work programme and the background of the key staff. In particular, the activities of the project, aiming to promote synergies and cross-fertilization, consist of:
(a) setting-up of a scientific team on EU Policies towards its East Mediterranean maritime space, with focus on Security and Energy, by the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA, which encompasses the key staff of the project, as well as a small number of selected doctoral students and researchers with demonstrated interest in the subject,
(b) a two-day, policy-oriented cross-fertilization conference, held in Athens in November 2022: a round table of experts to discuss EU Policies towards its East Mediterranean maritime space, and perspectives for further academic cooperation through the establishment of new innovative schemes (e.g., Memoranda of Understanding/MoUs, Erasmus Mundus Joint Degrees, MBAs). The conference fostered dialogue between the academic world in the involved countries and policymakers in Brussels, Greece, and the target region by inviting -among others- former Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Ministers/Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Members of the Parliament (MPs), ESDC Officials and diplomats, with the aim of enhancing several aspects of EU governance and security at EU’s Eastern Mediterranean borders, such as political, social, economic, business, maritime, energy, security and environmental,
(c) a cross-fertilization seminar for researchers/junior researchers in Athens, bringing together doctoral students and researchers from Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Turkey, ESDC officials and the target region, covering a selection of courses (Elements of EU Governance, EU Security and Energy/Energy Security and Policy Making in relation to EU’s Eastern Mediterranean borders) that supports them in carrying out their research on the subject, increasing opportunities in terms of their professional and career development.
Methodologically, these pilot activities encompass Europeanisation mechanisms, in terms of establishing (a) a common terminology/ontology amongst participants, (b) role-setting (common) comprehension amongst participants, (c) development of EU institutional skillset and understanding to (d) create fertile ground for EU Governance and Security policies to be realized.
In these aspects, the project promotes active European citizenship and deals with the role of the EU in its East Mediterranean neighbourhood and the challenges ahead, enhancing awareness of the Union and facilitating future engagement and people-to-people dialogue across European regions. Thus, target groups that include experts, academics, researchers, students, policy-makers, ESDC officials and civil society bodies are brought together. In that respect, privileged partner, in implementing the project, will be the ESDC, while active participation will be sought for the European Public Law Organization (EPLO), as an international organization with an increasing educational and academic role, and for the Hellenic University Association for European Studies, in terms of forming a network coalition with the network of Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA.
The afore-mentioned multi-disciplinary synergies are to the profit of the students and researchers, and of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, which will subsequently enlarge its academic scope in this specific subject area.
With due regard to budgetary constraints, links with teaching and research institutions in other European countries (e.g., the University of Cyprus, the University of Malta, the College of Europe, EGMONT – The Royal Institute for International Relations, the European Energy Institute) are actively pursued, facilitating an exchange of views and studies and for their researchers to participate in the Jean Monnet Centre’s activities along the duration of the project. Besides, experts from institutions in other European countries will also add a comparative/supplementary perspective on the subject and thus constitute valuable additions to the project.
Interplay with the afore-mentioned target groups attracts wide media coverage maximizing the impact of the project (through dissemination of the project’s outputs) to the general public (through, among other means, a dedicated website at http://www.jmce.gr/EU-EMES and dissemination of results through Mass Media/Social Media).
To recap, as a cross-fertilization project, the EU-EMES:
► Contributed to the understanding, advanced existing knowledge and enhanced the dynamic of a multi-disciplinary and international scientific team at the Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA, following a specific need in improving Greece’s research in the subject (EU Policies towards its Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Space in Energy and Security).
► Aimed at jointly developed content and co-teaching for selected doctoral students and researchers from the involved universities, in subjects related to several aspects of EU Governance, including political, economic, social, business, environmental, maritime and energy security.
► Facilitated participating institutions in examining the issue of organizing further common academic activities and the preparation of tools supporting them (including through Erasmus Mundus Joint PhD Degrees, and/or joint consortia for other schemes of European funding).
► Promoted synergies in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, by removing artificial and conceptional boundaries through better understanding of existing and new aspects of Eastern Mediterranean Region dynamics in terms of Energy Security and EU Energy Strategy.
The ideas, conclusions and recommendations presented below are the output of the cross-fertilizartion Workshop (seven online session held from 15November to 6 December 2021) and the policy-oriented International Hybrid Conference, held Athens on 3 and 4 November 2022. Both activities were organized and animated bu the European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA in the framework of the EU-EMES project. Devoted both to the general theme of EU Policies towards East Mediterranean: Energy and Security, the Workshop and the Conference brought together dozens of academics, top experts, researchers, policymakers, students and civil society from Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Libya, Spain, Turkey and the US, and engaged them in constructive dialogue and exchange of views.
More particularly, on the first day of the Conference, two study groups, comprising academics and top experts (with no audience participation), delved into the issues of Energy and Security in the East Mediterranean Sea. On the second day, the broad audience participation (either in-person or virtual) made evident the relevance of the topics discussed. The issues were first presented by the speakers, and then thoroughly discussed and examined in context from various perspectives. After expressing own views and opinions, the speakers concretized them by making specific recommendations and policy proposals, suggesting indicated course of action in order for their ideas to materialize in tangible solutions. What is more, after discussing and debating on certain controversial issues, they converged on some of them, while questions from the audience enabled productive interaction to take place and nuanced approaches to be expressed.
The presentation of conclusions and recommendations that follow, originate from (and encapsulate) the presentations and debates during the two above formal events and their preparatory meetings. They cannot be assigned in their totality to one or more of the academics and researchers involved, neither to the Jean Monnet European Center of Excellence of the NKUA.
In addition, the present Policy Paper contains specific papers on concrete issues affecting EU policies and actions towards the East Mediterranean region. These papers have been elaborated in the framework of the research activities of the EU-EMES project and have been presented orally and discussed in one of the events organized by the European Centre of Excellence of the NKUA for the implementation of the project (cross-fertilization workshop, policy conference and in the meetings held for the preparation of the workshop and the conference). These papers focus on particular issues and shed light on challenges facing the EU Institutions and Member States in the crucial neighbouring space of the East Mediterranean.