IUA Institute for European Studies publication
Last spring the Institute for European Studies at International University Audentes (IUA) published a collection of research articles “Europe – after historical enlargement”. This 400 page book came out as the third issue of the Proceedings of the Institute.
The Institute for European Studies was founded in 1998 as an independent private research body and was obtained by Audentes Ltd. in late 2003. The core of the institute was formed by the then working group of the Institute for International and Social Studies, led by the present day director of the Institute, Dr. Aksel Kirch. The main focus of the activities of the institute has been on sociological research, comparative social studies and the perception of European consciousness. During the last couple of years the institute has aimed to enlarge its scope of activities to other areas such as economic research and legal issues.
European Union and the historical enlargement
The last peer-reviewed interdisciplinary collection takes a critical look on the problems arising from the context of being a member of the European Union for couple of years already, comprising the contributions from various authors with distinct academic and professional background. Half of the papers were originally presented to the 5th annual international Spring Conference of International University Audentes “Europe’s Role in the World and the Future of European Union: enlargement – two years on” held in April 2006. Other articles were gained during the successful completion of the call for papers, which was basically open for anyone with sufficient scientific background and, of course, relevant topic. The editor-in-chief of the collection was the former vice-rector for IUA Prof. Ivar Raig. From 2007 on the Proceedings of the Institute for European Studies are included into the EBSCO Publishing databases.
The authors represent basically different European countries, mostly from its Eastern part (i.e. Finland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and USA. Together with foreword the collection contains 21 writings from 25 different people. Besides academic research papers in its strictest meaning, mostly in the fields of economics, sociology and legal issues the current edition includes also some works of essayistic nature. This concerns mostly the authors like Paul Goble and Mait Talts. In addition to these work International University Audentes is also represented by social scientists Aksel Kirch, Tarmo Tuisk and Siobhan Kattago, economists Ivar Raig, Ülo Ennuste and James O’Neil and media specialist Maia Sule. The latter (alumni from former Media School of IUCA) won the Swiss Baltic Net Graduate Award 2005 for the best research work by a junior researcher from Audentes.
Insight to the content
However, the majority of the articles of this collection is dedicated to the problems of economy, mostly concerning the economic transition of Eastern European countries. The researcher Sándor Meisel (the Institute for World Economics at Hungarian Academy of Sciences) analyses the development of the economy of Eastern European transition countries after the EU’s 2004 “big bang” enlargement. The economists from Lithuanian Vytautas Magnus University Violeta Pukelien and Kristina Šinkunien deal with the ambiguous nature of taxation as one of the key aspects of the economic success of different countries.
Mindaugas Dapkus from the same university is trying to work out a new model for the dept redemption in global scale. The article of the director of Pan-European Institute at Turku School of Economics and Business Administration Kari Liuhto deals with the economic development in Russia’s Kaliningrad region before and after the neighbouring countries joined the EU. James O’Neil from IUA Business School discusses the economic situation in Germany from the viewpoint of his own original debt-culture theory.
The largest and at the same time the most valuable contribution to the collection is the article by the Professor of Economic Theory Ülo Ennuste “Dual market transition in Estonia 1987-2006. Institutional mechanism analysis approach”, where the author analysis the role of institutions in the successful economic reforms of the beginning of 1990s and not so successful reforms after the turn of millennium.
One of the unifying features of the vast majority of the contributors of this collection is the concern about the future of European Union. Will the union evolve into a special kind of super-state or in the direction of loose confederation of sovereign nation states, will the citizens gain more decision-making power over the European affairs – these are the questions dealt in the article of the director of Estonian Institute for Futures Studies Erik Terk. The member of European Parliament Mrs Siiri Oviir focuses on same problems from the viewpoint of the fate of Europe’s constitution. However, the European project is unique because of the principle that this is the project that doesn’t have a blueprint or precise master plan. Therefore, despite widespread belief, the fate of Europe should remain in our hands.
Secretary for research,
Institute for European Studies at IUA
(One of the editors of the collection.)
Europe after historical enlargement