In this Encompass opinion piece Nick Wright and I synthesize our research findings about the impact about the institutional Lisbon Treaty changes on the involvment of member states in European foreign policy-making.
Reflecting on our reserach which has just been published: Maurer H., & Wright, N. (2020). Still governing in the shadows? Member states and the Political & Security Committee in the post‐Lisbon EU foreign policy architecture. Journal of Common Market Studies (early view): https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.13134
Maurer, H., & Wright, N. (2020). A New Paradigm for EU Diplomacy? EU Council Negotiations in a Time of Physical Restrictions. The Hague Journal of Diplomacy, 15(4), 556-568. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/1871191X-BJA10039
Can diplomacy work without physical presence? International relations scholars consider the European Union (EU) the most institutionalised case of international co-operation amongst sovereign states, with the highest density of repeated diplomatic exchange. In a year, the Council of Ministers hosts on average 143 ministerial and 200 ambassadorial meetings, along with hundreds of working group meetings. These intense diplomatic interactions came to an abrupt halt in mid-March 2020, when the spread of COVID-19 forced the Council to approve — in a manner unprecedented in European integration history — the temporary derogation from its rules of procedures to allow votes in written form, preceded by informal videoconferences between ministers or ambassadors. This argumentative essay reflects on how we can use these extraordinary months of intra-European diplomacy to assess the viability of virtual diplomacy in the EU context and what lessons it provides as we seek more sustainable means of international engagement.
On 25 June 2020, Prof Natalia Chaban from the University of Canterbury (NZ) invited me to share my thoughts for her course on public diplomacy. In 20 minutes I reflect on the questions by Prof Chaban and talk about the relevance of researching diplomacy, how the concept of “soft power” relates to public diplomacy, and what is “new” (or not) in public diplomacy.
In my short introduction to this roudtable about the impact of Brexit and Covid-19 on teaching I share the following observations:
Like any change, Brexit and Covid-19 can be perceived as threat and disruptive or as enriching opportunity
Both, Brexit and Covid-19, pull politics to the surface in all kinds of areas. For teaching in terms of getting students interested, motivated and connecting key concepts with the world that the care about it is an opportunity.
In my view, the current 2020 situation should remind us as educators of 3 things:
The added value of thinking academically; disagreement is key but also active listening and the will to understand the other;
Equipping our students with the tools to make sense of the world: Critical thinking so key but means more than criticising; Should ensure our students understand the difference between data, information and knowledge aka check your sources; But also in a complex world it needs multidisciplinary approaches to understand;
Learning needs to be uncomfortable, but also very careful handling when it includes subjective experiences. How to balance objective expertise as academic, with subjective interpretations of direct effect; objective analysis, subjective interpretations – how much room is there/should there be?