Project Team publishes a new article with International Spectator


Dr. Maryna Rabinovych and Dr. Anne Pintsch are out with the article “Sustainable Development: A Common Denominator for the EU’s Policy towards the Eastern Partnership”, published recently with the International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs.

Using document analysis with a focus on region-level documents and the cases of Ukraine and Azerbaijan, the article demonstrates the EU’s tendency to shift from an emphasis on European integration and common values to the sustainable development concept. This tendency can be seen as the EU’s response to the challenge of the heterogeneity of the Eastern Partnership countries’ cultures, political regimes and foreign policy aspirations, persisting since the 2004 enlargement. With respect to this tendency, the article stresses the need to balance sustainable development, integration efforts and democratization in the Eastern Partnership countries amid increasing differentiation and geopolitical challenges in the region.

Project Team Gave a Keynote Speech at the National Conference in Political Science

On 9 January 2023, Dr. Anne Pintsch and Dr. Maryna Rabinovych were honoured to give a keynote speech, titled “Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Geopolitical Europe and the New World Order”. The annual Norwegian National Conference in Political Science was organized by the Department ofPolitical Science and Management of the University of Agder between 9 and 11 January 2023. The conference is an important venue for scholars from Norwegian universities, colleges and research institutes to discuss research results and ideas.

The Project Team’s keynote speech focused on the EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, including the EU’s “geopolitical awakening” that was declared by the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell soon after the invasion. The main argument was that, while the EU already did much to prevent the Kremlin from winning in Ukraine, it needs to do much more, if it seeks being a geopolitical power in a networked global order. This includes unprecedented sanctions against Russia, multi-faceted support for Ukraine and changes to the affected policies of the EU, such as countering energy dependency with Russia.

Yet, to be genuinely geopolitical, it is critical for the EU to identify its vulnerabilities and develop more autonomous and thought-through policies in the trade, technological, climate and many other sectors. Building a more geopolitical and more autonomous Union also inevitably involves reconsidering the policies towards and relations with other countries – be it allies or perceived sources of threats. It is beyond the doubt that elaborate economic, digital and climate policies and reliable coalitions will help Europe go through crises and withstand the rise of autocrats worldwide.

Yet, it was emphasized that all these new sector policies and changes in relations with specific countries and their groups are not enough for the EU to survive and help others in an increasingly dangerous world, where autocrats militarize everything: energy, space, food and human sufferings. The Project Team concluded with stressing that the EU shall use its aspired geopolitical power, strategic autonomy and resilience to bring the rules-based order back. This will, in turn, only be possible following the restoration of justice after the biggest and most destructive war in Europe since the World War II and the trial over the war criminals – processes, wherein Europe shall take a lead, whatever efforts and time it will take.

The one-hour speech was followed by a questions and answers session.

Project Team took part at the UKRAINETT seminar “Contemporary Ukraine and its Future” at the OsloMet University


On 28-29 November 2022, Project Leader Dr. Anne Pintsch and Project Post-Doc Maryna Rabinovych participated in the seminar “Contemporary Ukraine and its Future”, organized by the Norwegian Network for Research on Ukraine (UKRAINETT). The event was hosted by the OsloMet University.

In terms of the seminar, Dr. Anne Pintsch presented the paper, titled “Great oaks from little acorns grow. How the dynamics of EU-Ukraine cooperation contributed to the EU’s reaction on full-scale war on Ukraine”, co-authored by the Project Team. Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr. Maryna Rabinovych talked about her paper “EU Security Cooperation with Third States: A New Momentum for Differentiated Integration”, co-authored with Hanna Shelest (Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”.

Except for paper presentations and discussions, the seminar served as a platform for debate about the future of Ukrainian Studies in Norway.

Project Team with a guest lecture at the University of Oslo

Source: University of Oslo

On 28 November 2022, Project Team Dr. Anne Pintsch and Dr. Maryna Rabinovych gave a guest lecture “EU, Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership in War and Post-War Times: Quo Vadis?” at the University of Oslo. The event was hosted at the Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages.

The first part of the lecture focused on the presentation of the “Lowering the Bar?” project and an insight into the role of compliance negotiations in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

In the second part, the talk zoomed in on the European Union’s response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Project Team highlighted, inter alia, the role of pre-war EU-Ukraine networks in the EU’s strong response to Russia’s aggression.

In the third part, the presenters elaborated on the challenges of shaping EU future policies to a highly heterogenous and conflict-prone Eastern Partnership region (i.e. Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus).

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session with many intellectually challenging questions from the audience.

A more detailed description of the event is available at the website of the University of Oslo.

Project Team at the “Ukraine on the way to EU membership” symposium at the University of Bergen

On 28-29 October 2022, “Lowering the Bar” Project Team took part in the symposium “Ukraine on the way to EU membership”, organized at the University of Bergen (UiB).

The key themes of the Symposium included the implementation and the future of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement; perspectives on Ukraine’s EU membership application; approximation of laws on the way to European integration and experience of the EU integration – Eastern Enlargement of 2004. The Symposium brought together speakers both from academia and public institutions from the EU/EEA and Ukraine.

Project Team presented two co-authored project-related papers, namely “From the 2014 Annexation of Crimea to the 2022 Russian war on Ukraine: Path-Dependence and Socialization in the EU-Ukraine Relations between the Critical Junctures” and “Compliance Negotiations and the EU Association Relations with Third Countries. The Case of Ukraine”. Talks’ streaming to online audience and the facilitation of discussion was ensured by conference organizer Dr. Liliia Opprysk, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Bergen.

Project Post-Doc Maryna Rabinovych gives a talk under “Meet an Agder Researcher” initiative

On 9 November 2022, project post-doc Maryna Rabinovych took part in the “Meet an Agder Researcher” initiative, whereby high school pupils and teachers can meet a researcher from the University of Agder and get insights into various topical themes. Maryna’s talk was also part of the outreach activities, conducted by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence “Laboratories of Differentiated Integration” at the University of Agder.

Titled “Understanding Ukraine: War, International Politics and External Relations”, Maryna’s talk aimed to provide teachers of the Kristiansand Katedralskole Gimle with background knowledge about Ukrainian history and politics and discuss internal politics and foreign relations perspectives as to the current war. The event was attended by more than 30 teachers and followed by an intense discussion.

Project Team conducts Jean Monnet mini-modules on EU- and Ukraine-related topics at the University of Agder

In terms of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence “Laboratories of Differentiated Integration in a Post-Brexit Europe”, coordinated by Project Leader Anne Pintsch, the Project Team recently conducted two mini-modules on topics related to the EU and Ukraine relations. The idea of Jean Monnet mini-modules is to share knowledge about European topics within various courses, taught within the University of Agder, mixing disciplinary perspectives and approaches.

On 28 September 2022, Project Leader Anne Pintsch gave a lecture on “European refugee policy and practice, with a particular focus on the war in Ukraine” in the course “Critical Perspectives and Current Debates in Global Development” for students, focusing on development studies. Policies vis-à-vis Ukrainian refugees are currently broadly debated and researched both in the EU and in EEA countries, such as Norway, with a prospect to develop new ‘best practices’ for asylum law and collective protective regulations.

The mini-module by Post-Doc Maryna Rabinovych, offered to the master students of Media Studies, was titled “Key narratives of the EU media systems vs Russian hybrid information warfare”. Maryna conducted it on 18 October under the auspices of the course “Social Science Ways of Thinking: Driving Forces in Societal Change”. The mini-module covered the peculiarities of and current developments in the media landscapes in the EU and Russia with a focus on how the EU and other democracies counter Russian disinformation, in general, and with respect to Russia’s war against Ukraine, in particular.

Department of Political Science and Management at UiA joins “Invisible University for Ukraine” initiative

Source: CEU

Russia’s war against Ukraine led to massive displacement of Ukrainian students. Some of them continue studying online or in a hybrid mode at the government-controlled territories of Ukraine. Many continued their studies at universities abroad, including Norway. Others remained at occupied territories, though the occupants threaten students, who wish to resume their education at Ukrainian universities. Launched by the Central European University (CEU) , the non-degree programme “Invisible University for Ukraine” (IUFU) brings together junior and senior undergraduate (B.A) and graduate (M.A and Ph.D) students from Ukraine, whose studies were affected by the war. The programme does not duplicate or replace existing educational programmes at Ukrainian universities, yet seeks to fulfill students’ zeal for a deeper understanding of current events and phenomena related to the war and the future of the European security architecture.

The Department of Political Science and Management at the UiA joined the second edition of the IUFU, offering teaching support to the initiative’s module “Ukraine and/in Europe” and the possibility of individual tutorship/mentorship to Ukrainian students. In particular, Stefan Gänzle and Maryna Rabinovych will teach on Ukraine’s differentiated European integration amid the war; Anne Pintsch will co-lead the session on Central and Eastern European countries’ enlargement experience and its applicability to the Ukrainian case, and Romulo Pinheiro will speak about the European higher education space and the prospects for Ukraine to join it. Maryna Rabinovych will co-lead the academic aspects of the module together with Marta Mochulska, Assistant Professor at the Law Faculty of the Ivan Franco National University, Lviv, Ukraine.

With more than 250 student applications for five exciting modules, the autumn edition of the IUFU promises to be a success. We thank IUFU Programme Director Ostap Sereda (Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv /Recurring Visiting Professor, CEU Department of History) for the opportunity to contribute to this insightful programme and help Ukrainian students in the country and in exile.