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Call for Papers for the Early Career SGEU Workshop: 'Western Fatigue’ and the Politics of European Support for Ukraine

We are pleased to announce a call for papers for vacancies at the Early Career SGEU Workshop entitled 'Western Fatigue’ and the Politics of European Support for Ukraine, taking place on 18 June at Universidade NOVA in Lisbon/Portugal.

This workshop is tailored for emerging scholars at the beginning of their academic careers, including advanced PhD students, Postdocs, and Assistant or Associate Professors. It will feature in-depth discussions based on a number of pre-circulated papers.

Our objective is to delve into the politics of the EU's response to Ukraine two years post-invasion. While a political consensus was initially established, it is crucial now to evaluate its strength in the face of recent challenges. With the Kremlin counting on ‘Western fatigue’ to perpetuate the conflict and weaken European resolve, the politics and politicization of the issue have significant strategic consequences.

We are particularly interested in exploring the following areas: energy issues, corruption, Ukrainian EU membership and shifts in public opinion within the EU.

The SGEU is generously supporting the participants of this workshop by providing return flights (max. EUR 250) and one night’s hotel accommodation (max. EUR 100).

In line with our thematic focus, we promote diversity by actively inviting scholars from Central and Eastern Europe and ensuring balanced representation of both female and male academics.

► If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit your 300-word abstract, a short biography, and a short motivation letter to Adam Holesch at aholesch@ibei.org by 29 February 2024.

Workshop Description

The European Union (EU) has offered both financial and military assistance to Kyiv since the full-scale invasion by Russia in 2022, pledging ongoing support for the war-torn country. The scale and ambition of the EU’s response has made it a major player in the conflict, enabled by a high degree of consensus between and within the member states.

Yet, cracks have appeared in the EU (and Western) façade in recent months as the ongoing conflict has caused numerous casualties on both sides, reaching hundreds of thousands. Despite a summer 2023 counter-offensive that failed to bring the anticipated decisive shift in favor of Ukraine, the frontline appears to have stabilized, and the costs for the West are rising. Giorgia Meloni, the Italian Prime Minister, was among the first to express concerns about war fatigue. On the other hand, Putin supporters, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, have strengthened their anti-Ukraine stance, threatening to block support for Ukraine in the European Council. Meanwhile, the shadow of a second Trump presidency in 2024 looms over European efforts.

These episodes speak to the challenges of maintaining a consistent and coherent EU/Western line over a sustained period of time and in the face of potentially divergent political and electoral incentives. With the Kremlin banking on ‘Western fatigue’ and seeking to extend the conflict to drive down European resolve, questions of politics and politicization take on significant strategic implications.

This workshop aims to explore the politics of the EU response to Ukraine two years after the invasion. Much time has lapsed since the initial context in which an enabling political consensus was built, yet now is the time to assess how robust this is in light of recent challenges. The workshop aims to understand the risk and impact of ‘Western fatigue’ by tackling head-in key research questions, including:

  1. What are the positions of populist, Eurosceptic, and other challenger parties on the conflict in Ukraine? Have these positions changed since the invasion, and do they pose a threat to the common European response?
  2. How does the politics of the Ukraine War differ across different political systems and strategic cultures? How did it change European narratives?
  3. Did the full-scale Russian invasion bring about altered enlargement dynamics in the European neighbourhood, and if so, what factors contribute to these changes?
  4.  How does the interaction of ideology, government-opposition dynamics and electoral politics influence the politics of the Ukraine War?
  5. How have EU leaders actively sought to maintain cohesion amidst Russian efforts to break apart the EU/Western position?
  6. To what extent does the conflict remain a depoliticized site?
  7. Where politicization is observed, is the focus on the conflict itself, on divergent strategies, or on the frameworks (e.g. EU, NATO, national) countries choose to work through?

Organisers

  • Adam Holesch, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI), Barcelona
  • Benjamin Martill, University of Edinburgh
  • Monika Sus, Hertie School, Berlin & Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw
21 February 2024
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