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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Thursday, November 28 • 11:00am - 12:30pm
EU global engagement after Brexit and under the new EU leadership

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Serena Kelly
The EU’s new leadership: what impact on EU foreign policy?
In the last five years the European Union (EU) has had to confront a number of challenges including, irregular migration, the Eurozone crisis, the rise of populism and the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU (Brexit). Yet, there are also a number of positive developments on the horizon – a newly elected European Parliament, new EU leadership appointments and continuing EU solidarity on the Irish “backstop”.The new leadership in the European Union is notable for a number of reasons, notwithstanding Ursula von der Leyen who was elected to what is arguably the most important role of the EU, the Commission President, previously serving as the German Minister of Defence and by-passing the tradition of electing the European Parliament’s ‘Spitzenkandidat’, and making up one of 13 (out of a total 27) female Commissioners. Another nomination of note is former Agricultural Commissioner and Irishman, as next trade commissioner. This paper assesses the possible ramifications of the EU’s new leadership on how the EU engages with the Asia-Pacific.

Milenko Petrovic, Daviti Mtchedlishvili 
EU Enlargement and the Eastern Partnership after Brexit: new prospects or new challenges
While it remains preoccupied with unresolved internal political issues, the EU seems to have completely forgotten its eastern neighbours who are (still) hoping for an ‘EU future’. The hopes that Western Balkan accession had returned to a high place on the EU enlargement agenda after European Commission President Junker’s optimistic State of the Union speech in 2017 and the adoption of a ‘new’ Enlargement strategy in February 2018 have so far largely evaporated. Even the long awaited resolution of the naming dispute between Greece and (now) North Macedonia and the removal of Greek veto over the latter’s progress in EU accession by the Prespa agreement of June 2018 have not yet resulted in the opening of accession negotiations with this country (although the Commission had originally recommended it exactly ten years ago). Brexit and the election of the new EU leadership can hardly be expected to bring a break through in the EU’s relations with the countries in its immediate eastern neighbourhood. Both the political elite and wider public in (most) EU member states increasingly tend to look at these countries as threats and challenges rather than friends and (potential) members of the same club. Neither the Eastern Partnership nor enlargement to the Western Balkans were a topic in the campaigns for the European Union elections. The major competing parties largely bypassed the topic either due to its unattractiveness to European voters or because they tried to avoid playing into the hands of far-right populists. Considering EU-internal struggles related to Brexit and different views regarding the future of EUropean integration, it is unlikely that either the new Parliament or the new Commission will make any serious attempts to bring their European neighbours closer to the Union in the next few years.

Wang Xiwen
The impact of Brexit on EU-China relations
It has been 3 years since the UK voted for leaving the European Union in 2016. Until now, the UK hasn’t reached any clear and definite withdrawal agreement with the EU. The new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems determined to withdraw from the EU even under the circumstance of “no-deal” with the EU. The future of the UK is full of uncertainty so far and so is of its foreign relations. As the EU’s second biggest trading partner in the world, China has also been an important trade partner with major western EU countries. Not only the UK plays a significant role in formulating EU’s common strategy towards China, China always sees the UK as its important partner in Europe and an gateway to European single market. The future uncertainty of the UK raised a question with regard to how Brexit will impact on the China-UK relations and that between China and the EU due to intertwined relations among the EU, China and the UK. This paper aims to elaborate on the topic and will specifically focus on elaboration of the impact of Brexit on UK-China and EU-China economic relations.

Natalia Chaban, Svitlana Zhabotynska, Michele Knodt.  
Ukraine’s European Choice: Framing of Ukraine in the Russian Online Media 
There is an emerging debate among scholarship concerning the conceptual relationship between frames and strategic narratives. Informed by the intersection of two theories – Cascading Activation Framing (Entman 2003) and Strategic Narrative Theory (Miskimmon et al. 2013) – our paper proposes innovative synergy of the two models, with the concept of cultural resonance in the center. Assuming its key role in a successful take-off of new narratives which depart from historically and culturally established frames, we explore how historico-cultural resonance becomes a means to mis-/dis-inform. Empirically, we trace frames and narratives on Ukraine created and projected by popular Russian e-news platforms. These have a wide reach in Russia and among Russian-speaking population world-wide. We analyze a set of new narratives emerging in reaction to Ukraine’s most recent (2017) advances in its relation with the EU, and among those acquiring a visa-free travel to the Schengen zone. In its methodological innovation, the paper accounts for cognitive and emotive elements in image formation and offers a new comprehensive method to trace and measure cultural resonance – rarely debated, but barely operationalized concept.


Robert Patman

University of Otago


Natalia Chaban

University of Canterbury

Serena Kelly

National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterury

Milenko Petrovic

NCRE, University of Canterbury

Xiwen Wang

National Center for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury

Daviti Mtchedlishvili

NCRE, University of Canterbury

Svitlana Zhabotynska

Cherkasy National University, Ukraine

Michele Knodt

TU Darmstadt, Germany

Thursday November 28, 2019 11:00am - 12:30pm NZDT

Attendees (8)