Details of upcoming conferences and workshops to be organised by the Centre for European Politics will be posted here.

CEP hosts seminar on NATO's future

Royal Holloway NATO Seminar 3rd December 2014

The Royal Holloway seminar focused on the agenda emerging from the Wales summit and the impact on NATO member states.


Seminar description:


The September 2014 NATO Wales Summit took place at a time of time of an intensity of security challenges unprecedented since the fall of the Soviet Union. A wide variety of post-Cold War security threats require NATO’s continued attention while the actions of a revisionist Russia has placed an extra burden on an Alliance that is struggling to cope with defence budget cuts and the implications of focus of US defence and security policy on the Asia-Pacific region. The ability of NATO to meet this broad spectrum of security challenges will be dependent on a number of issues which remained largely unanswered at the Wales Summit. These issues include the ability of European member states to increase defence spending and the pooling and sharing of forces and capabilities under Smart Defense as well as the extent to which NATO and the EU are able to overcome institutional roadblocks to cooperation between the two organisations.


The workshop brought together several high-profile academics and practitioners to discuss these and other issues:


13:00-14:00 - Convene and buffet lunch (FW101)


14:00-15:30 – Session 1: Key Issues Following the Wales Summit


Welcome: Dr Alister Miskimmon, Head, Department of Politics and International Relations


Chair: Professor Mark Webber, Professor of International Politics, School of Government and Society, University of Birmingham.

- Dr Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, NATO. 

- Dr Joanna Kaminska, European Parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senior Associated Researcher, Institute for European Studies, Vrije University, Brussels.

- Dr Simon Smith, Research Officer, Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies, University of Bath.


15:30-15:45 – Coffee


15:45-17:00 – Session 2: National Perspectives on the Future of NATO

Chair: Dr Tom Dyson, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway College.


- Professor Andrew Dorman, Professor of International Security, Defence Studies Department, Kings College, London.

- Dr Karl-Heinz Kamp, Academic Director, German Federal Academy for Security Policy, Berlin.

Posted on Friday, October 9, 2015 at 04:39PM by Registered CommenterDr Alister Miskimmon | CommentsPost a Comment

EU Budget Working Papers

Papers from the workshop on the United Kingdom and the EU's Budget for the years 2014-2020, co-hosted and co-financed by the European Commission on 16th March 2012, are now available. Please click here.


Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 12:20AM by Registered CommenterDr Alister Miskimmon | CommentsPost a Comment

Britain decides: a public roundtable on the 2011 referendum

Britain decides: a public roundtable on the 2011 referendum

Wednesday 27 April 2011, 6.15–7.45pm
Management Lecture Theatre, Royal Holloway, University of London

There has only ever been one national referendum in Britain. There is about to be another. On Thursday 5 May you will choose whether the country keeps its existing system for electing MPs or adopts a new voting system. This roundtable is your opportunity to find out more about the issues at stake. Three experts from Royal Holloway’s Department of Politics and International Relations will give short talks on:

• referendums in British democracy (Dr Nicholas Allen)

• the chief differences between the proposed ‘Alternative Vote’ and the current
‘First Past the Post’ voting systems (Dr Giacomo Benedetto)

• the likely consequences of changing the voting system (Dr Oliver Heath)

Patrycja Skurzak, the student president of Royal Holloway’s PIR Society, will offer a brief response. The floor will then be opened for questions.

All welcome

Please note: the event has no links to either the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ referendum campaigns. Its purpose is to
engage the public from an academic standpoint and provide objective information about the choices
on offer.

Posted on Friday, March 18, 2011 at 06:06PM by Registered CommenterDr Giacomo Benedetto | CommentsPost a Comment | References2 References

Review of the EU Budget: What Effect for the UK?


14 May 2009 sees the launch of a report edited by Dr Giacomo Benedetto of the Centre for European Politics on the effects for the UK of the current review of the European Union Budget. The report can be downloaded here:

This is in association with the London Press Club at the St Brides Institute, 14 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ.

This lunch time seminar of 90 minutes, starting at 12.30 will include questions and answers. The briefing presents key findings from eight papers given at a workshop hosted by the Centre for European Politics at Royal Holloway University of London in February.

Each of the authors will speak briefly on their findings. These include the rationale and negotiation of the EU budget, and the effects of budgetary reform on agriculture, regional development, research spending and foreign and security policy.

The authors are experts in their fields:

Vasco Cal, Bureau of Policy Advisors, European Commission

Dr Sara Hagemann, European Policy Centre, Brussels

Dr Giacomo Benedetto, Centre for European Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Simon Hix, Department of Government, London School of Economics

Professor Robert Kaiser, Universities of Hamburg and Munich

Heiko Prange-Gstoehl, European Commission

Dr Alan Greer, University of the West of England

Dr Simona Milio, Economic and Social Cohesion Laboratory, London School of Economics

Dr Alister Miskimmon, Centre for European Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Benedetto, who will chair the event, said, This event brings together the best research in the politics and policy of public spending by the EU and its reform agenda and implications for the UK. He added, The briefing for practioners and the press is the result a genuine debate between academic researchers, think-tanks, interest groups and government departments on the mechanisms and consequences of budgetary reform over the next few years.

Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 05:33PM by Registered CommenterDr Giacomo Benedetto | CommentsPost a Comment

Paper Summaries: Workshop on the Review of the EU Budget, 19-20 February 2009

Below appear summaries of the papers presented at the Workshop on the Review of the EU Budget here at Royal Holloway on 19 and 20 February. The first four papers focus on institutional factors, with the latter four assesseing the effects of budgetary reform on policies dependent on expenditure. Thanks are due to Ana-Iuliana Postu and Albena Kuiumdzheiva for help in transcribing key points of the presentations.

The event was part funded by the European Commission.


VASCO CAL (EUROPEANCOMMISSION):The context of the Budget review

The central element of the presentation was the future strategic vision of the development of Europe as a mechanism for maximising the added value of the European budget. Mr. Cal discussed the 2008/2009 review of the European Financial Framework 2007/2013 as an opportunity to undertake a complete reassessment of what the EU budget actually stands for and as a chance to choose the European way forward. In the light of the budget revision, an important factor for achieving its aims was the consultation procedure launched by the EU commission. It was noted that both the procedure and the impressive response to the consultation is already a first success of the Commission's innovative approach to budget reform.

The context of past negotiations and present challenges cleared the way to the conference discussion. The role of the Lisbon Treaty and its provisions were highlighted as a step towards bringing what is happening in practice now in the unified regulatory framework. The future of the Union’s budget after 2013 and the potential tension on the stakeholders to predict the possible word development was a key issue during the discussions. The participants expressed their views on the next budget perspective and the way it will respond to the challenges of the global governance and sustainable economic growth and environment protection.


SARA HAGEMANN AND FABIAN ZULEEG (EUROPEAN POLICY CENTRE, BRUSSELS): The EU Budget - Policy Ambitions versus Political Negotiations

The presentation outlined three major aspects of the budget negotiation process, which if taken into account in the current budget review and in the forthcoming negotiations for the 2013-2020 MAFF may help to improve the link between EU budgetary tools and policy priorities: Dr Hagemann presented a view on the present checks and balances imposed at national level on governments, influencing the formulation of governments’ policy positions and the subsequent budget negotiations. The current rules for negotiating and adopting the multiannual financial framework (MAFF) were further investigated and analysed. Governments would benefit from a more rigorous use of economic terminology with regard to distinguishing between economic and political ‘rationales’ when identifying areas that require EU public spending.

The question of the role of the national parliaments in formulating the MAFF raised controversial opinions. It was followed by a debate on how future policy implementation should they be regulated by means of the EU budget or by other legal instruments. Following the debate raised by the previous paper, the effectiveness of the communication policy of the Commission regarding the budget revision was questioned and some suggestions for its improvement were made.


GIACOMO BENEDETTO (ROYAL HOLLOWAY): Does the Treaty of Lisbon Make Reform of the EU Budget Easier?

The presentation focused on the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty to the existing financial provision mechanisms in the Treaty Establishing the European Community in the context of shifting the financial powers between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. Dr Benedetto presented his arguments that budgetary reform is less likely to happen if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified than under present procedures, since it makes departure from the status quo trickier. It was argued that contrary to wider perceptions, the new annual budgetary procedure is not a form of Codecision and actually the reduces the powers of the EP. The Commission and EP will therefore find it more difficult to use their pre-existing powers over the annual budget to secure budgetary reform elsewhere in the event of disagreement with the governments.

The presented arguments opened discussion on the most fundamental changes made by the Lisbon Treaty in the budgetary area. It was acknowledged that the ratification of Lisbon Treaty will bring more transparency in the area, as it will give a clearer picture of who is responsible for what in the budgetary procedure. While the leverage of the European Parliament for budgetary reform is curtailed in the annual budget, it is not increased in the formulation of the MAFF or in reform of Own Resources. The new role of the Member States over the elaboration and implementation of the budget was also widely discussed.


SIMON HIX (LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS):The Policy Implications of Intergovernmental Budgetary Politics in the EU

In his paper Simon Hix looked at the budget reform choices and how they shape policy outcomes of the EU budget and then went on to analyse the implications of the existing principles and decision-making rules for the distribution of the budget and gains for the Member States (“Who gets what?”). The findings of the paper seem to point out that the EU budget, despite everything, leads to a redistribution of wealth from rich states to poorer ones. All this being said, Professor Hix concluded that the EU is faced with a classic choice of either intergovernmental or supranational policy-making.

The discussions that followed as a result of the findings of the paper focused mainly on the way in which Member States look at the gains obtained from EU integration and, based on that, the level up to which they are willing to contribute. Here, Professor Hix stressed the fact that the budget review system should be more transparent rather than it being aggregated at a higher level, and made the point of the Netherlands currently being one of the states paying in more than the rest, a fact that might have contributed to the “No” vote on the Constitution in 2005.



The main focus of the paper presented by the two speakers was the evolution of the Research and Development (R&D) policy at European level from the perspective of a re-evaluation of the EU budget. Robert Kaiser first pointed out that a rethinking of the budget priorities in this context would lead to a gain in leverage for the R&D sector, especially when this is considered to be at the heart of the Lisbon strategy. That is to say that more funding is needed for this sector and this could be obtained through several means such as the use of credit facilities of the European Investment Bank, re-allocation of funding within the Seventh Framework Programme and across budget lines or open national programmes. Given these possible outcomes, Heiko Prange-Gstohl went on to present the results of the public consultation organised by the Commission in 2007 in order to identify, based on the contributions made by the Member States, areas for consensus and disagreement as to what should be the result of a budget review on the R&D policy. Finally, three scenarios of Community R&D were envisioned based on the results that different circumstances might have on the existing structure of EU R&D policies.

The approach chosen by the two speakers gave way to a debate where opinions were expressed regarding the need to rethink the investments on agricultural R&D at EU level and refocus rural development funds and regional development ones towards this field. Another point was made for the different perspectives across Member States as to the added-value of R&D at EU level, as well as the level to which the national recovery plans across Europe have introduced, and should introduce, R&D as a component.


ALAN GREER (UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND): Budegetary review and the Common Agricultural Policy

The presentation made by Dr Greer looked at the place of agriculture and rural development in the framework of the EU budget, at the way in which resources have been allocated within the budget for agriculture and at the 2008 “health check” of the CAP. After analysing the results of the consultation on the budget review he concluded that in spite of the existing consensus on the further reduction in agricultural spending, there is no will to see a “re-nationalisation” of the existing common agricultural policy but rather a re-thinking of CAP that would allow for a better coordination with the future EU aims and priorities.

Following the presentation, discussants at the workshop have addressed the question of whether or not the budget review might have as a consequence a possible incremental reduction of the CAP and a foreseeable re-nationalisation. The future of the direct payments and the redistributive consequences from shifting payments towards rural developments, were another set of aspects seen as being of great relevance to the evolution of the CAP and its budget.


SIMONA MILIO (LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS): Budgetary Review and the Challenges for Structural Funds

In the context of the reduced nature of the EU budget and the great conflicts that exist between Member States as to how it should be distributed, Simona Milio’s paper focuses on the results and the necessity of a cohesion policy and, based on that, on the type of adjustments that this policy should experience in order for it to be in accordance with the current EU developments. She singles out a number of key aspects, such as the huge gap in the European Social Fund’s ability to address minority rights and social cohesion in an enlarged Europe, as well as the fact that many of the Old Member States are still among the ten most financed countries by the structural funds. All this on the backdrop of the absorption of the EU funds that remains to this day an issue for both New and Old Member States.

The opinions raised as a follow-up to the presentation have discussed the mechanisms of allocation of funds to poor regions in rich Member States in contrast with the poor regions in poor states, as well as the need for the structural funds to ask for a much higher contribution from the national level. The social aspect was also highlighted as being one of the essential points that structural funds should try to address instead of simply focusing on investing in infrastructure.


ALISTER MISKIMMON (ROYAL HOLLOWAY): Effects of Budgetary Review on CFSP and ESDP

The presentation discussed the development of the EU Common Foreign Security Policy in connection with its budget. It outlined the broad principles of the financing of CFSP and highlighted the difficulties that exist in the context of the current review of the EU budget. Further it argued that despite that the current financing of CFSP is mostly ad hoc particularly in the area of military crisis management there have been some efforts to cover common costs through the EU budget that has resulted in a growing role of the European Parliament in external affairs.

Meeting the costs of the EU military operations was the main topic of discussion along with the aspect of solidarity and the different views of the member states as to what cost should be jointly covered by the EU budget. It was reflected that currently only the administrative costs are borne by all member states through the EU budget and the military costs are covered only by the parties involved in the operation. There were some opinions expressed that the credit crunch might boost the CFSP by building strategic partnership between the Member states and joining the peace keeping efforts. It was acknowledged that in some of the responses to the EC consultation procedure the need for reforming the EU budget in this direction was clearly stated.


Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 06:22PM by Registered CommenterDr Giacomo Benedetto | CommentsPost a Comment | References12 References
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