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The Robert Schuman Centre

by Yves Mény and Simon Towle

There are several aspects to the Centre’s research activities. Each year, under the Jean Monnet Fellowship Scheme, post-doctoral research grants are awarded at the RSC to enable academics to conduct research for a maximum period of one year on issues connected with the Centre’s research programme. The RSC also runs the Jean Monnet Chair programme, in which distinguished persons from politics (eg. Guiliano Amato, Egon Bahr, Elisabeth Guigou) or the academic world (eg. Eckhard Rehbinder, Fritz Scharpf, Horst Siebert) are invited to visit the RSC for brief periods to speak on subjects focussing on major research areas at the Centre.

The Robert Schuman Centre supports a number of inter-disciplinary working groups at the Institute which encourage exchanges between researchers, Jean Monnet Professors and both internal and external professors. Additionally, the Centre is responsible for the coordination of research and assistance projects, providing the necessary intellectual, organisational and (in some cases) financial support, whilst at the same time contributing to the strengthening of cooperation networks in Europe and beyond, in are as which form part of its programme.

The Centre’s academic programme takes the form of seminars, workshops, round tables, conferences, and (Jean Monnet Chair) lectures. For the last two years, the Robert Schuman Centre has also organised an Environmental Summer Workshop, in July 1994, „Environment in Europe: The Implementation Challenge“, and in July 1995, „Environment in Europe: In Search of Flexible and Efficient Instruments“. The Summer Workshop brings together policy-makers, environmental experts, practising lawyers and academics, and thr ough a series of intensive lectures and workshops on environmental law and policies, seeks to further the understanding and functioning of the laws and policies under discussion.

The director of the Robert Schuman Centre is Professor Yves Mény, formerly Professor at the Institute d’Etudes Politiques, Paris. The RSC has also instituted a programme creating Joint Professorship Chairs with the four departments of the EUI (economics, law, history, and political science). The first of 10 joint chairs has been awarded to Michael Artis (economics). The team is completed by Simon Towle (Doctor EUI), Research Associate, secretaries, Annette Merlan, Monique Cavallari, and Dorothea Detring. A dditional members of the RSC for 1995 are research associates, Dr. Jonathan Golub (European environmental policy) and Dr. Martin Rhodes (social policy and the future of the European welfare states).

The Research Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre

The Robert Schuman Centre has committed itself to a research programme, or framework programme, as a general guideline for its research activities for the period 1993-1997, the precise content of which is elaborated during this period both according to the evolution of problems and policies in Europe and through collaboration programmes with other research centres. The programme intends to develop as far as possible original, inter-disciplinary, policy-oriented research.

The framework has three principal areas of enquiry:

1) What is Europe?
This area of research, which embodies one of the fundamental reasons for the establishment of the Centre, seeks to examine the question of Europe’s identity, to select and subject to further enquiry the political problems of the Union (public policy, institutions) and to study the relations between the European Union and the outside world, focusing in particular on Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia.
2) Socio-political problems of Europe
In this context, the Centre’s objective is to address the complex issues relating to the social and economic transformations which are rocking the foundations of European society. This is felt by institutions, legal systems, social structures (such as the family, trade unions, parties, etc.), through the destabilisation of elites, the questioning of value-systems and solidarity networks. The economic crisis and unemployment, which result from this destabilisation process, have consequences which go much fu rther than simply to change individual or collective wealth: strain to social welfare, new forms of social exclusion, spatial polarisation of poverty, to mention but a few. The RSC aims to set up research projects, focusing on certain poignant issues in this respect, including emigration and citizenship, insecurity and urban impoverishment.
3) The „import/export“ of policies and institutions
This expression conveniently describes the processes of imitation, exchange or mimicry governing the construction or functioning of public as well as private systems. These phenomena may result from external domination or from innovation by elites (political, legal, economic actors) seeking to modify the economic or political system to which they belong. The research of the Centre seeks not so much to assess the results of such competition, but rather to analyse the groups mobilised in these exchanges or i mitations (lawyers, journalists, policy-makers, etc.).

Within this framework, the RSC carries out several projects, amongst others:

  • The Reform of European Institutions:
    the activities of this programme include inquiry into a comparative study into the relationship between legitimacy and democracy in federal system, the ways in which European Union policies can respond to the technical complexity of modern societies, as well as an analysis into the problems relating to the establishment of European Adminstrative agencies.
  • The Policies of Law and Order in Europe:
    This programme undertakes an in depth inquiry into the roles of the police and judiciary and examination of their mutual interaction. Analysis will also be given to the historical evolution of policy functions (public order, criminal investigations) in different countries, on issues such as the influence of drug-trafficking on law enforcement organisations, the culture of police forces and the judiciary of Europe, and organisational strategies against politico-administrative crime.

Assistance / Consultancy at the Robert Schuman Centre

The RSC manages two projects in collaboration with the European Commission, DG-I TACIS:
  • The project to strengthen the Georgian Parliamentary Research Service:
    There are several aspects to this project, which is being administered at the RSC. It involves the creation of a parliamentary library, and the installation of information technology to enable it to provide the requisite parliamentary research and information services, the training of the Georgian PRS staff, through courses organised in Tbilisi and in Europe, through fellowships to Western Parliamentary Research Services. Finally, the project foresees study trips for Georgian MPs to European States to help familiarise them with western democratic traditions.
  • The Russian Duma Project:
    The aim of this project is to train Russian MPs in democratic parliamentary traditions. The project will involve teaching of courses in Russia, and study trips to Western European parliaments, and visits to Russian electoral constituencies.

Working Groups

The RSC supports the following Working Groups:
  • Working Group on Environmental Studies:
    This group was set up in 1987, and has created an extensive network of contacts with environmental institutes around the world. It promotes research seminars and has also organised conferences, such as its 1992 conference on environmental and transport issues in Europe, and in 1994, on access to environmental justice.
  • Working Group on International Relations:
    This group was established in 1993 and seeks to promote the inter-disciplinary study of international relations, providing a specifically European focus for the discussion of international relations. Seminars are held by members of the Institute and external experts, and, in 1994, a workshop was organised on „Approaches to European Multilateralism“.
  • Working Group on Central and Eastern Europe:
    The inter-disciplinary group was established in 1991 with a view to addressing policy problems in Western, Central and Eastern Europe. In 1992, a conference was held on „Impediments to the Transition: The Eastern European Countries and the Policies of the European Community“, and in 1993, workshops were held on „Industrial relations, unions and labour markets in Central and Eastern Europe in Transition“, and „Privatisation and Property Rights“.
  • Working Group on „Gender and Society“:
    Set up in 1990, the group has organised a series of seminars on „Women’s citizenship in Europe from the 18th to the 20th century and the relationship between the public and private spheres“, and workshops on „The rights of woman“ (in honour on Mary Wollstonecraft’s „A vindication of the rights of woman“, and on „Gender and labour law“.

Some RSC Working Papers:

Scharpf, F.W.: Community and Autonomy. Multilevel Policy-Making in the European Union. (No. 94/1)

Horiuchi, T.: Japanese Public Policy for Cooperative Supply of Credit Guarantee to Small Firms - Its Evolution since the Post War and Banks’ Committment. (No. 94/3)

Tarrow, S.: Social Movements in Europe: Movement Society of Europeanization of Conflict? (No. 94/8)

Dimitrijevic, V.: The 1974 Constitution as a Factor in the Collapse of Yugoslavia or as a Sign of Decaying Totalitarianism. (No. 94/9)

Uvalic, M.: Privatization in Disintegrating East European States: The Case of Former Yugoslavia. (No. 94/11)

Weiler, J.: European Democracy and its Critique: Five Uneasy Pieces. (No. 95/11)

Some Jean Monnet Chair Papers:

Amato, G.: Problems of Governance - Italy and Europe: A Personal Perspective. (No. 94/17)

Williamson, J.: Proto-EMU as an Alternative to Maastricht. (No. 95/22)

Schofield, N.: Modelling Political Order in Representative Democracies. (No. 95/26)


European University Institute
Robert Schuman Centre
Badia Fiesolana 1
I-50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Via dei Roccellini, 9
Phone +39 - 55 - 4685.326 or 370
Fax +39 - 55 - 4685.330
Email cavallar@iue.datacomm.it

Yves Mény is Professor of Political Science at the EUI and Director of the Robert Schuman Centre.
Simon Towle is reseearch associate at the Robert Schuman Centre.

EURODATA Newsletter No.2, p.16-17