EURINT 2024 | Debating Europe: new approaches, action tools and integration scenarios 24-25 May, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi The European Union has been a successful story for many decades, despite the crises it has faced over time, becoming in years a pole of attraction for other European countries. In general, crises have generated a sense of deepening integration, and the enlargements from EU6 to EU27 were seen as a natural dynamic of the "(re)integration" of the European continent, strengthening, with each stage, the EU power and relevance in the international order. The synergies between the deepening and the widening mechanisms encouraged to look for a federal future of the EU as an “ever-closer union”, a “hard core” of regional and global cooperation, and as a real economic and political power. New opportunities and challenges have emerged in 1990s, in the context of the political transformations in the Central and Eastern Europe. For the countries from this “liberated” part of Europe, the accession to the EU has been identified with their aspirations for freedom, democracy, prosperity and security, a definitive break from the hegemonic tendencies of Russia. In the same logic of European unification, the Union has enlarged from the EU15 to the EU28. The integration of diversity has been achieved based on the community method and on variable geometries, successfully applied to previous enlargements. However, an important transformation of the strategic vision of the future of the EU has occurred. Although maintaining the federalist option, with this wave of enlargement, the federalist future of EU is no longer a widely shared dream and the differentiated integration looks increasingly obvious. Lately   various crises and shocks which have hit the EU in the last two decades have shown the limits of the current system. Additional pressures are generated by the prospect of the Union enlargement to the countries of the Eastern neighborhood and the Western Balkans, which has become a priority in the foreign policy against the background of the war in Ukraine. Therefore, an even more enlarged, but also a more diverse Union is foreshadowed in a timeframe, which albeit not yet politically assumed, already requires a reconsideration of the EU's strategic agenda. The 13th edition of the EURINT conference, organized in 24-25 May 2024 in Iasi (Romania), will focus on three challenging topics for the forward-thinking on Europe from this perspective: 1.Technologic revolution, institutional transformation and sustainable development challenges Technology has been booming in recent years, generating a deep economic and social transformations determined by an accelerated digitization in all areas and the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. Business models, economic and governance systems, social relations, models of democracy, or people's lives are changing in ways unimaginable until a few years ago. In this context, even if the EU technological gaps are increasing, the EU still invests five times less in private R&D in the tech sector than the US. China became also a strong competitor in new technologies. Important disparities at national and regional or individual level in digitalisation and innovation performance are a specific feature of the EU technological landscape and risks to amplify the current inequalities. The impact on the EU future could be critical from this perspective. Understanding the intricate relationships between technological advancements, institutional frameworks, and regional development becomes imperative. This conference section intends to provide a favorable framework for dialogue and analysis for a better understanding of these dynamics and to generate insights that can inform policies, practices, and future research endeavors in this evolving realities. The conference welcomes contributions on the following topics (not being limited to these only): -Technological dynamics and regional development; implications for the core-periphery differentiation; perspectives in an enlarged EU; -Technological transformations and role of institutions in shaping development outcomes; -Law in a digital era; Legal technology and its implications; -Different sides of Digitalization and their Societal, Ethical; -Innovation and entrepreneurship: Ecosystems and clusters Start-up culture; -Social and cultural impacts: digital inclusion and cultural adaptation; -Crisis and digital divide trends; -Catching/levelling up and “left behind places and people” strategies and policies. 2. Resilience and the EU’s neighbourhood countries. Crisis and adaptations Compared to the previous enlargement waves towards the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries, the current geopolitical context is far more problematic and volatile; in this sense, different approaches are needed for the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement strategies, since replicating the previous design applied in the case of CEECs is simply not sufficient, nor realistic. Within this context, reforming, adapting and strengthening the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement strategies translates into designing robust, evidence-based policies able to cope with and overcome critical specific challenges that our proposal aims to address. This conference section are looking to generate debates on: -Rethinking the EU Neighbourhood Policy and the enlargement strategy, through new approaches; integration mechanisms in alternative patterns of enlargement; -The impact of the Ukraine-Russia war; what perspectives for the European stability and security; -EU resilience, drivers and vulnerabilities in alternative geopolitical scenarios; -The democratic recession and resilience drivers in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan countries (ENWBc); new EU forms of engagement and partnership models in multiple geopolitical futures; -Institutions, transformative capacities and  development landscape in ENWBc; -Territorial conflicts in relation with the dynamic of powers of the key geopolitical actors in Europe: UE, USA, Turkey, Russia, and China; -Cross-border cooperation: policy recommendations and best practice; -Evidence-based and forward-looking visions for the political agenda of EU towards European Neighbourhood countries 3. EU and Europe: Governance models and policies in alternative scenarios of enlargement and geopolitical dynamics Even if, for a long period, many European and national leaders have called for an “ever closer” Union, each enlargement wave has tended to increase differentiated integration, asking for a strong institutional reform and changes in the EU governance systems. With the Eastern enlargement and in the perspective of the next enlargement towards Eastern neigbourhood countries and the Western Balkans, new patterns of integration and European cooperation are requested. Debates on the differentiated integration have reactivated concepts such as: multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe, the Europe of concentric circles, Europe “à la carte” or “European Political Community” (proposed by the French President in 2022 as pattern for a pan-European integration in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war). In addition, the war between Russia and Ukraine has become a litmus test for the EU’s actorness and have led to critical evaluations of the decision-making process at the level of the EU institutions and member states regarding the development and deployment of the CFSP/CSDP. Specifically, the mechanisms which prop up the functioning of the CFSP/CSDP, as well as what the main bottlenecks in the process of carrying out the CFSP/CSDP, have been under investigation. This has been particularly obvious as the calls for the EU to enhance its support to Ukraine and develop for itself proper military and defence mechanisms have been persistent ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This section of the conference is looking at where we are compared with the scenarios for Europe by 2025 included in the White paper on the future of Europe (2017) of the European Commission, and where we could be in the perspective of the Europe by 2050. Expected contributions, but not limited to, could be on: -EU resilience: drivers and vulnerabilities; -Scenarios for European (Dis)Integration; centripetal and centrifugal drivers; -Alternative governance models in various scenarios of geopolitical dynamics; -National and supranational in the EU of the future: towards a new des(equilibrium) of powers? -European policies for a differentiated integration; - Democracy and European Elections 2024; -Still is or still can be the Single Market the 'hard core' of European integration? -Socio – economic inequalities and perspectives for the twin green &digital transition in an enlarged EU; what future for the European social pattern? -Law, institutions and democracy issues. -EU’s actorness, CFSP/CSDP, EU’s military and defence transformation. Covering these topics the 2024 EURINT conference aims to facilitate interdisciplinary debates, bringing together scholars, policymakers, practitioners and experts for critical thinking and find ways for EU as an integrative power in a flexible perspective of alternatives scenarios of enlargement and governance patterns. We look forward to receiving your contributions and to welcome you in an atmosphere of academic excellence and friendship, in Iasi, a wonderful city during the month of May, located in the Eastern border of the EU, to connect our ideas, aspirations and solutions to a common future.
EURINT 2024 | Debating Europe: new approaches, action tools and integration scenarios 24-25 May, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi The European Union has been a successful story for many decades, despite the crises it has faced over time, becoming in years a pole of attraction for other European countries. In general, crises have generated a sense of deepening integration, and the enlargements from EU6 to EU27 were seen as a natural dynamic of the "(re)integration" of the European continent, strengthening, with each stage, the EU power and relevance in the international order. The synergies between the deepening and the widening mechanisms encouraged to look for a federal future of the EU as an “ever-closer union”, a “hard core” of regional and global cooperation, and as a real economic and political power. New opportunities and challenges have emerged in 1990s, in the context of the political transformations in the Central and Eastern Europe. For the countries from this “liberated” part of Europe, the accession to the EU has been identified with their aspirations for freedom, democracy, prosperity and security, a definitive break from the hegemonic tendencies of Russia. In the same logic of European unification, the Union has enlarged from the EU15 to the EU28. The integration of diversity has been achieved based on the community method and on variable geometries, successfully applied to previous enlargements. However, an important transformation of the strategic vision of the future of the EU has occurred. Although maintaining the federalist option, with this wave of enlargement, the federalist future of EU is no longer a widely shared dream and the differentiated integration looks increasingly obvious. Lately   various crises and shocks which have hit the EU in the last two decades have shown the limits of the current system. Additional pressures are generated by the prospect of the Union enlargement to the countries of the Eastern neighborhood and the Western Balkans, which has become a priority in the foreign policy against the background of the war in Ukraine. Therefore, an even more enlarged, but also a more diverse Union is foreshadowed in a timeframe, which albeit not yet politically assumed, already requires a reconsideration of the EU's strategic agenda. The 13th edition of the EURINT conference, organized in 24-25 May 2024 in Iasi (Romania), will focus on three challenging topics for the forward-thinking on Europe from this perspective: 1.Technologic revolution, institutional transformation and sustainable development challenges Technology has been booming in recent years, generating a deep economic and social transformations determined by an accelerated digitization in all areas and the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. Business models, economic and governance systems, social relations, models of democracy, or people's lives are changing in ways unimaginable until a few years ago. In this context, even if the EU technological gaps are increasing, the EU still invests five times less in private R&D in the tech sector than the US. China became also a strong competitor in new technologies. Important disparities at national and regional or individual level in digitalisation and innovation performance are a specific feature of the EU technological landscape and risks to amplify the current inequalities. The impact on the EU future could be critical from this perspective. Understanding the intricate relationships between technological advancements, institutional frameworks, and regional development becomes imperative. This conference section intends to provide a favorable framework for dialogue and analysis for a better understanding of these dynamics and to generate insights that can inform policies, practices, and future research endeavors in this evolving realities. The conference welcomes contributions on the following topics (not being limited to these only): -Technological dynamics and regional development; implications for the core-periphery differentiation; perspectives in an enlarged EU; -Technological transformations and role of institutions in shaping development outcomes; -Law in a digital era; Legal technology and its implications; -Different sides of Digitalization and their Societal, Ethical; -Innovation and entrepreneurship: Ecosystems and clusters Start-up culture; -Social and cultural impacts: digital inclusion and cultural adaptation; -Crisis and digital divide trends; -Catching/levelling up and “left behind places and people” strategies and policies. 2. Resilience and the EU’s neighbourhood countries. Crisis and adaptations Compared to the previous enlargement waves towards the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries, the current geopolitical context is far more problematic and volatile; in this sense, different approaches are needed for the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement strategies, since replicating the previous design applied in the case of CEECs is simply not sufficient, nor realistic. Within this context, reforming, adapting and strengthening the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement strategies translates into designing robust, evidence-based policies able to cope with and overcome critical specific challenges that our proposal aims to address. This conference section are looking to generate debates on: -Rethinking the EU Neighbourhood Policy and the enlargement strategy, through new approaches; integration mechanisms in alternative patterns of enlargement; -The impact of the Ukraine-Russia war; what perspectives for the European stability and security; -EU resilience, drivers and vulnerabilities in alternative geopolitical scenarios; -The democratic recession and resilience drivers in the Eastern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan countries (ENWBc); new EU forms of engagement and partnership models in multiple geopolitical futures; -Institutions, transformative capacities and  development landscape in ENWBc; -Territorial conflicts in relation with the dynamic of powers of the key geopolitical actors in Europe: UE, USA, Turkey, Russia, and China; -Cross-border cooperation: policy recommendations and best practice; -Evidence-based and forward-looking visions for the political agenda of EU towards European Neighbourhood countries 3. EU and Europe: Governance models and policies in alternative scenarios of enlargement and geopolitical dynamics Even if, for a long period, many European and national leaders have called for an “ever closer” Union, each enlargement wave has tended to increase differentiated integration, asking for a strong institutional reform and changes in the EU governance systems. With the Eastern enlargement and in the perspective of the next enlargement towards Eastern neigbourhood countries and the Western Balkans, new patterns of integration and European cooperation are requested. Debates on the differentiated integration have reactivated concepts such as: multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe, the Europe of concentric circles, Europe “à la carte” or “European Political Community” (proposed by the French President in 2022 as pattern for a pan-European integration in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war). In addition, the war between Russia and Ukraine has become a litmus test for the EU’s actorness and have led to critical evaluations of the decision-making process at the level of the EU institutions and member states regarding the development and deployment of the CFSP/CSDP. Specifically, the mechanisms which prop up the functioning of the CFSP/CSDP, as well as what the main bottlenecks in the process of carrying out the CFSP/CSDP, have been under investigation. This has been particularly obvious as the calls for the EU to enhance its support to Ukraine and develop for itself proper military and defence mechanisms have been persistent ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This section of the conference is looking at where we are compared with the scenarios for Europe by 2025 included in the White paper on the future of Europe (2017) of the European Commission, and where we could be in the perspective of the Europe by 2050. Expected contributions, but not limited to, could be on: -EU resilience: drivers and vulnerabilities; -Scenarios for European (Dis)Integration; centripetal and centrifugal drivers; -Alternative governance models in various scenarios of geopolitical dynamics; -National and supranational in the EU of the future: towards a new des(equilibrium) of powers? -European policies for a differentiated integration; - Democracy and European Elections 2024; -Still is or still can be the Single Market the 'hard core' of European integration? -Socio – economic inequalities and perspectives for the twin green &digital transition in an enlarged EU; what future for the European social pattern? -Law, institutions and democracy issues. -EU’s actorness, CFSP/CSDP, EU’s military and defence transformation. Covering these topics the 2024 EURINT conference aims to facilitate interdisciplinary debates, bringing together scholars, policymakers, practitioners and experts for critical thinking and find ways for EU as an integrative power in a flexible perspective of alternatives scenarios of enlargement and governance patterns. We look forward to receiving your contributions and to welcome you in an atmosphere of academic excellence and friendship, in Iasi, a wonderful city during the month of May, located in the Eastern border of the EU, to connect our ideas, aspirations and solutions to a common future.