Here is a sample of the type of research projects the students will be working on during the trip to Belgium and Germany. To view all the students research proposals click here.
Research question: Since joining the EU, have the Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) converged toward EU average?
Title: Baltic convergence: steep and yet stable?
Research Method. I will replicate the paper on “Baltic convergence” by Siegfried Steinlein and Kristine Vlagsma (2005) and see how my results compare with theirs. In their research, they have used data from EuroStat for the year 2004. They show that the Baltic nations, that have low GDP per capita compared to the EU-average, have experienced high growth. In my paper, I will analyze the convergence of the Baltic nations using the recent data available from EuroStat. I will also use the data from International Financial Statistics. I will use macroeconomic indicators such as current account deficit, interest rates, inflation for the recent year to analyze whether the nations have reached the EU convergence or not. I will run a regression analysis of average GDP growth on variables such as GDP per capita, long-term nominal interest rates, HICP inflation, government deficit, government debt, and current account deficit.
The Evolution of the CFSP. The European Union has defied all expectations and managed to integrate, both politically and economically, the interests of its 25 member states into its areas of competency. Despite its critics, the European Union has become one of the world’s largest economies and has effectively created a system of government over independent states that confounds common thinking on government systems and international organizations. The competencies of the Union cover many of the traditional policy concerns of a state, ranging from agriculture to trade and even to social policies, but one primary policy area was conspicuously absent during the beginning of the Union’s development- Foreign Policy.
Traditionally reserved as a power of states, independent foreign and security policies are important to a state’s relations with others in trade, diplomatic and defense matters. In its unusual role confounding the common definitions of government and international organization, the European Union has already taken on competencies in most areas of trade and in some areas of diplomatic relations between member states, but the question persists as to whether it would be possible to aggregate the foreign and de fence policy interests of the diverse member states? Attempting to answer that, the European Union has made steps towards creating a common outlook on foreign relations and security policies. The aptly named Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), outlined in the 1993 Maastricht Treaty, was the first codified step in working towards a common foreign policy for the states of Europe. The policy has since been modified in both the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice, expanding its breadth, and was to be further extended in the now defunct European Constitution.
The purpose of this paper will be to study the evolution of the CFSP since 1993 and to determine if a common foreign policy is possible in the diverse cultures of European states. By examining the policy itself to better understand its sources in the contributing political cultures and the actions on the policy over time, I hope to at the very least better understand the issue and at best to answer the question posed.
The research in this paper will be two pronged. The first portion will focus on a broad analysis of the collective foreign policy by seeking to explain if there is a trend in the number of common positions, joint actions and declarations issued from the Council since the institutionalization of the CFSP in the Maastricht treaty of 1993. If the CFSP is in fact taking off, there would be a predictable increase in simply the amount of legislation on the topic, so there should be an upward trend observed. The data for this portion of the research will be drawn from prior journal articles and books on the common foreign policy (Whitman 1998 and Ginsberg 2001 to name a few) and further detailed data should be available from the EU web site.
The second portion will delve further in depth into particular issues of foreign policy importance and will focus on a case study of the European response to those issues. The obvious issue choices will be on the Balkan crises from 1992-99 in Bosnia, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which were partly the impetus for a common foreign and security policy, the ongoing issue of Russia and non-proliferation and finally the war in Iraq for a look at a divisive foreign policy issue among the members. Data for this portion will come from similar sources, but with a more directed focus than the breadth of data sought in the first research study.