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The Canadian Centre for German and European Studies
CCGES > Current Projects > Building A New EU Citizenship: Migration and Integration in Germany and the European Union

Building A New EU Citizenship: Migration and Integration in Germany and the European Union

The European Politics & Society Working Group at CCGES is planning a series of transatlantic workshops for German and Canadian scholars working on migration and integration in Germany and the European Union. Harmonizing immigration and asylum policies within the European Union has been a key challenge of EU member states. Most recently, the EU Pact on Immigration and Asylum (signed on Oct 16, 2008) engendered mixed reactions. Throughout the negotiations, Germany’s Interior Minister, Wolfgang Schäubele remained one of the Pact’s most vocal critics, while the U.K. opted out altogether.

The European Communities were founded on the ideals of peace through unification, and the economic and social prosperity that has been achieved in Western Europe in the past fifty years is testament to the success of this great experiment. Now, with the end of the Cold War, the European Union has a chance to fulfill its mandate by embracing countries from the Eastern part of the continent. The great promise of enlargement is accompanied by critical challenges for both applicant states and current EU members. The new applicants, primarily from the former Eastern Bloc, are far more numerous, and more economically and institutionally distinct from current members, than was the case during previous rounds of enlargement. The current enlargement process presents an enormous challenge to the existing EU institutional framework, and has spurred a heated debate within current member states on the costs and benefits of an enlarged Union. For the thirteen countries vying for EU membership, when, and to what type of European Union, they will be admitted remains an open question. Indeed, a consensus on accession among the citizenry of applicant countries is yet to emerge as publics debate the pros and cons of sacrificing so much hard-won sovereignty, so soon after it has been re-gained. How European societies choose to address deep social and economic divides that mark the continent will be a key part of the answer.  These are questions that must be answered within the next five years. It is these questions that the proposed conferences seek to explore.

The mainstream of the enlargement debate, both by practitioners and by academics is dominated by policy considerations. Of these, convergence of economic conditions and policies between members and applicants is particularly dominant. Furthermore, even this literature becomes quickly outdated because of rapidly changing circumstances in Eastern Europe and because of new decisions that are constantly being made by both applicants and member states. This conference intends to address these weaknesses in the literature by bringing together graduate students currently doing, or recently having finished, research in the field. This new and exciting work will include important economic concerns, but will mainly focus on the largely unconsidered social implications of bringing applicants into the European Union.

The conferences will be transatlantic in both participation and scope. We look forward to inviting several participants from Europe, particularly from Germany. We will also welcome participants from other EU countries. The conference will also provide a valuable opportunity for young scholars and for scholars from a variety of disciplines to discuss key issues in the emerging field of European integration studies. Many of these issues have implications that reach far beyond the geographic borders of the continent. Participants will have an opportunity to debate problems of a trans-continental nature, such as OECD trade policy, international security and human rights.  Our strong core of local participants will bring Canadian perspectives and experience to bear upon key European social challenges, such as integrating new immigrant populations into increasingly diverse societies.

Research Directors: Prof. Willem Maas, Political Science and Public and International Affairs (Glendon College)
Prof. Heather MacRae, Political Science
Prof. Dagmar Soennecken, Political Science
Prof. Burkard Eberlein