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European accolades for Exeter

The European elections saw an increase in votes to Euro-sceptic candidates and a decrease in voter turn out.  The University of Exeter’s Centre for European Governance investigates issues surrounding European politics.  
Its position as a key player of research activities at the core of European politics and European Union public policy has now been cemented with prestigious grants and a Centre of Excellence status.

The Centre for European Governance is now a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.  Exeter is a part of the Jean Monnet programme that facilitates dialogue at world-level, executive training in the public sector, and supports research based advice to decision makers with fresh ideas. In contrast to the conventional view that the only way to produce practical knowledge is to abandon theory, the Centre focuses on knowledge grounded in sophisticated theories of public policy, voting and decision-making can generate impact in the real world.

European and EU research at Exeter is concentrated on theoretical and policy analysis, markets and competition, European election studies, European media and communications, and EU Socio-Legal studies.  Academics from Politics, Law and Economics make up the high number of European Union experts at the University who are integrated into wider national and international research networks.

University Professor Claudio Radaelli, Director of the Centre for European Governance and Jean Monnet Chair of European Public Policy, and Dr Claire Dunlop, lecturer in Politics, have been awarded 945,000 Euros from the European Research Council.  The four year comparative project employs new methods to explore if, how, where and when policymakers and public organisations learn by using new tools in rulemaking and the preparation of laws..

Professor Radaelli explains why it is such a critical time to look at the EU governance.  He said, ‘EU politics and public policy are under pressure: from citizens, political parties, international organizations and last but not least ‘internally’ from the different institutions of the Union. The overall purpose of integration has become less clear than in the past.

He added, ‘On the one hand, the recent European Parliament elections have shown that dissatisfaction and alienation to the EU project are increasing. The exceptionally low turnout is accompanied by the rise of parties that explicitly contest the EU, leaving the vast majority of EU citizens that decided not to cast a vote without a say in European Parliament elections. On the other, conventional plans aired in academic circles about “what should be done” are relatively blunt and useless given the scale of the challenges facing European integration.’

Dr Alison Harcourt, a senior lecturer in Politics at the University who specialises in the regulation of communications markets in Europe has been appointed as the Jean Monnet Chair in the Information Society.  This prominent position was awarded by the European Commission with a grant of 60,000 Euros to support research up to 2012.

The Politics department at Exeter hosts two leading European journals, the European Journal of International Relations edited by Professor Wight and the European Journal of Political Research (EJPR).  Professor Radaelli is the co-editor of the EJPR, rated between 3rd and 7th for political science world-wide over the last three years.  Professor Castiglione, also member of the Centre, has been appointed editor of the ECPR Monographs and Classics series. 

The Centre for European Governance has an exchange programme for students and staff with Centres d,’etudes europeennnes de Sciences-Po in Paris, the VUB in Brussels and the University of Siena to ensure stronger and immediate links with mainland Europe.

Date: 26 June 2009

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