I must say that I very much enjoyed the UACES conference in Cambridge last week, especially some of the finished and ongoing research I was able to witness. Listening to the presentations, discussions and interventions, I’d say some of the people who were there would make pretty good EU bloggers.
Here are some of the issues I found interesting and that I either saw or read at the conference:
- Gijs Jan Brandsma’s paper (PDF) on agreements between the EU institutions on how they share information;
- Amy Busby’s presentation (abstract) on her ethnographic research on the role of assistants and interns in the EP;
- Mathias Dobbels’ and Christine Neuhold’s paper (PDF) on the role of European Parliament committee staff, especially the part on the Fisheries Committee (one of the rare looks into EU fishery policy dynamics);
- Katja Seidel’s presentation (abstract) on her research into the early days of DG Agriculture and how this has affected the development of the Common Agricultural policy of the EU;
- Oana Stefan’s presentation (abstract) outlining plans to do research into transparency rules and practices at the EU Court;
- Anna Hyvärinen’s paper and presentation (abstract) on the influence of Finnish diplomats during the negotiation on the EU Telecoms Package and the Consumer Credits Directive.
- Jeffrey David Turk’s and Tatiana Bajuk Sencar presentation (abstract) on their interview series with Slovenian diplomats and officials right after their presidency.
An interesting remark came from Amy Brusby in the final panel session of the conference where she remarked that there seems to be a raising interesting in the role that information play in the policy-process at EU level and how rules and practices shape how officials, policy-makers, societal organisations get access to and filter relevant information. I also found this point noteworthy and some of the papers/abstracts linked above actually take up these issues quite directly.
As my research goes into this direction, it was encouraging to see the different perspectives taken on the role of information and expertise. I think it is also nice to see, as one could see in a number of paper, that more research seems to look into the actual role that non-elected officials (inside but especially outside the Commission) play in the policy-process at EU level, dynamics I find interesting both as a researcher but also as a blogger.
Altogether, these were 3 1/2 very refreshing days with a lot of interesting perspectives (also a number of less interesting perspectives – but that’s normal, I suppose). Definitely worth going if one is interested in EU affairs.