Fieldwork is the bridge between academia and practice. Often, this bridge is not crossed due to lack of guidance, time and practical experience. Academics are left on their own to guess what would work best. In facilitating this, this article assesses the methods used in a case study of doctoral fieldwork at the European Parliament within the civil service. Findings include identifying optimum methods to plan, develop and execute doctoral fieldwork.
This research is structured in four parts, which covers a literature review on fieldwork in the social sciences, the case study, the methodologies used, and a problem-solving section giving tips to succeed at fieldwork. Findings include a selection of methodologies which include participant observation and note-taking. These methodologies assist in improving skills such as time management, working under high pressure and delivering quality reports with attention to detail, which are fundamental for a successful academic career.
The experience covered in this article will assist academics in designing their fieldworks at all levels of their careers. The methods described are transferrable to fieldworks across legal, political and policy-making institutions.
In the 21st century, warfare has evolved into a challenge that many countries are ill prepared to face. In contrast to the warfare of yesterday, victory is not defined by defeating an opposing military force, but rather defeating their ability to pursue political objectives by violent, often unconventional, means. Increasingly, these unconventional means are based on asymmetries between the two opposing forces.
A plethora of definitions for the term ‘asymmetric conflict’ exist, but they can largely be summarized by a general idea that one side in a conflict, due to its own failings or its opponents’ strength, is unable to achieve its political aims through conventional (i.e. symmetric) military means. Because of this, the weaker side uses new ideas, weapons and tactics in a manner that is not expected, exploiting surprise to undermine the relative strength(s) of their opponent (Lele, 2014). The character of contemporary asymmetric threats can be analyzed through a framework of several key characteristics, which will be described in this paper. Understanding this framework, particularly in light of the horizontal transfer of technology, tactics, organization structure and procedures between emerging asymmetric threats may contribute to better understanding of such threats.
For a long time considered, improperly, a sort of ‘nuclear’ option, Article 7 TEU is the key EU Treaty provision in the field of values enforcement. In the context of the Union’s current rule of law crisis, such a provision deserves the greatest attention, especially after the European Commission’s proposal in December 2017 to trigger the procedure against Poland, under Article 7(1) TEU. This article contributes to understandings of the provision by reviewing its main features and contextualising its deployment in the general Polish rule of law crisis, with the aim of evaluating whether it can now be considered as an operational instrument for values enforcement. Although the Commission’s (late) decision to activate the Article 7(1) TEU procedure should be welcomed as a major effort in restoring the rule of law within the European Union, the (perceived and real) limits of Article 7 TEU and the inertia of the EU institutions cast a shadow over the procedure’s effective implementation.
When ethnic groups negotiate self-government arrangements, ‘ethnic sovereignty’ lies boldly at the heart of their security considerations. The constitutional nature of self-determination and the extent of territorial control can determine the degree of ethno-territorial sovereignty attributed to groups. However, in competitive contexts influenced by fear and mistrust, groups interpret these pillar elements in ways that increase their own sense of security. The present study argues that legal and political positions on sovereignty in Cyprus are largely built around the competitive security assumptions held by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaderships, and explains how the divergent viewpoints and understandings of sovereignty reflect the underlying security fears and suspicion of parties. The analysis finds that the two ethnic leaderships in Cyprus have sought to accumulate a distinct ‘sovereignty capital’ in an effort to safeguard their own and overpower each other’s perceived security intentions in the event of federal collapse, making thus the attainment of settlement in Cyprus particularly elusive.
Interparliamentary conferences and other permanent forums for interparliamentary cooperation are blossoming in the European Union. Following more or less lengthy negotiations between national and European parliamentarians, two new conferences and a new joint parliamentary scrutiny group for Europol have been created since 2012. Against this background, this article examines to what extent the Joint parliament scrutiny group is comparable to the previously existing interparliamentary conferences. Beyond that, it asks the question as to whether any better-defined guidelines or procedures could be adopted to rationalise the process of creation of new forums for interparliamentary cooperation. It makes some concrete proposals in that direction.
COSAC has played an active role in fostering and developing interparliamentary he central question addressed here is to assess whether COSAC is currently structured to allow NPs to obtain more information and access to the policy and decision-making circuits at EU level and, therefore, if NPs are benefiting from COSAC or are they, on the contrary, lagging behind and lost amidst so many interparliamentary meetings?
It is argued that COSAC occupies a key role in the multipolarised system of with the “global picture” and therefore in a unique position to bring coherence to the overall system. This paper therefore aims at putting forward some ideas and approaches regarding the role of COSAC in the effectiveness of interparliamentary cooperation, covering not only its present proceedings and output, but also some thoughts for further reflection on the future strengthening of COSAC.
Environmental protection and sustainable development are competences that the EU is entitled to integrate into the definition and implementation of its policies. However, shared competences in these areas are still a reality, as a margin of discretion persists for Member States, aimed at maintaining a high level of decentralisation, particularly where issues related to national policies and more (nation) specific sectoral legislation are concerned. This paper intends to analyse the application of the principle of subsidiarity to environmental issues within the EU, to examine the characteristics of a possible path to the future of green federalism in Europe.
The aim of involving state members in reforming federal constitutions is to guarantee them the autonomy that they have been constitutionally granted. It also prevents reform from being carried out unilaterally by the central government and means the structure of competences can be modified as necessary. In this study, we will consider how federations manage, to a greater or lesser extent, regional intervention in constitutional reform. However, we will see how recently, in Spain, the anticipated routes for territorial participation in the constitutional text have proved to be clearly insufficient, and have developed into the recent crisis in this ‘State of Autonomies’, which is now facing the breakdown of national unity.
The provision of Article 13 TSCG to create an Interparliamentary Conference was the starting point for long discussions after which national parliaments and the European Parliament eventually reached a compromise. This article pursues a two-fold objective: It first examines the different phases of interparliamentary negotiations from 2012 to 2015. On the basis of a distinction between three competing models for interparliamentary cooperation, the article shows that the two models of EP-led scrutiny and creating a collective parliamentary counterweight did not prevail: Parliaments agreed that the new Interparliamentary Conference on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance (SECG) would follow the ‘standard’ interparliamentary conference (COSAC model). In terms of national parliaments’ actual participation, the lowest common denominator compromise has not changed the numbers of participating MPs: Attendance records are stable over time, the size of national delegations continues to vary and participating MPs are still twice as likely to be members of Budget or Finance committees than to be members of European affairs committees.
Parliamentary administrators have to cope with a complex and ever-changing procedural framework, as well as with conflicting demands from the policy side. Nevertheless, their role in inter-parliamentary cooperation is rather under-researched. This article focuses on the actors of Administrative Parliamentary Networks and introduces two entirely new entities: European Programmes; and networks of Parliamentary Budget Offices, which seem to have escaped scholar’s attention. Administrative duties and roles are discussed in the context of inter-parliamentary cooperation and a new role is attributed to parliamentary administrators, that of the researcher. Existing findings from previous studies are put under a new light and analysed with the support of empirical data.