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When the EU launched its Global Strategy in June 2016, it stated that “We need a stronger Europe. This is what our citizens deserve, this is what the wider world expects.” However, in an already fragile world, a range of challenges emerged like beads on a string: Brexit, the election of US President Trump, and the proliferation of authoritarianism, populism, and nationalism in the EUs immediate and wider neighbourhood. The protracted crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel, and continuing uncertainties in the Balkans, are of no less concern.

Together these events have led some to argue that the very liberal world order of free trade, international law, and multilateralism, is in decline. The obvious consequence is that it is becoming increasingly challenging for the EU to balance its autonomy and interests with those of other key stakeholders both on a national, regional and international level.

In this evolving context of new internal and external challenges, what is the EU’s actual toolbox in delivering at home as well as abroad? Can the EU regain the trust of its citizens as well as those living in conflict areas whose rights it wishes to protect or promote? What role can the EU have in the transformation of its Eastern neighbours into peaceful and prosperous democracies? And what lies ahead for the relationship between the EU and other major powers such as Turkey?

To highlight these crucial questions, we discuss findings from four, international and interdisciplinary H2020-funded research projects: EUNPACK, EU-STRAT, FEUTURE, and INFORM. The event is organized by EUNPACK and is part of the project’s final conference which will take place at CEPS 18-19 March 2019.

The roundtable discussion will be chaired by Research Professor at NUPI, Pernille Rieker. Her research interests are European integration (EU) and European foreign and security policy, including French and the Nordic countries' foreign and security policies. She has also done research on dialogue and conflict resolution more generally. She is also a member of the EUNPACK project.

Morten Bøås is a Research Professor at NUPI and works predominantly on issues concerning peace and conflict in Africa, including issues such as land rights and citizenship conflicts, youths, ex-combatants and the new landscape of insurgencies and geopolitics. He is also a member of the EUNPACK project.

Antoaneta L. Dimitrova is a Professor of Comparative Governance at Leiden University and a member of the EU-STRAT project. Her research has developed around the theme of governance transfer from the European Union to candidate states. She investigates the effects of the promotion of rules and norms related to democracy, public administration reform or specific policies by the EU, IMF or other international organizations.

Eric Gordy is a Professor of Political and Cultural Sociology at the University College of London and coordinator and principal investigator for the INFORM project. He is concentrating on Southeast Europe, especially the states of the former Yugoslavia.

Eduard Soler is a Research Fellow and a lecturer at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs and at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). He is a political scientist and holds a PhD in International Relations from the UAB. He is also a member of the FEUTURE project.

Florence Gaub is the Deputy Director of the The European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), where she is in charge of coordinating research activities. In addition, she works on strategic foresight, as well as security and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.

Kyriacos Charalambous is a Member of Cabinet of Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

About the projects

EUNPACK has examined the EU’s external crisis response and whether it is conflict sensitive; EU-STRAT has studied the relationship between the EU and countries in the European Eastern neighborhood; FEUTURE has mapped the dynamics of EU-Turkey relations; and INFORM has studied interactions between formal and informal institutions in the Western Balkan societies.