Project duration: 1/2007 – 4/2008

Client: European Commission, Program PHARE 2005 Multi-beneficiary Programme on Small Projects

Project coordinator: Višnja Samardžija, PhD

Project partner: Institute of European Affairs (IIEA), Dublin

Project associates:  University of Cologne, Jean Monnet Chair – Wolfgang Wessels, prof. PhD, University of Rijeka, University of Osijek, Faculty of Economy University of Split, National Foundation for Civil Society Development

The project EU IMPACT – Academic Network for Communicating Integration Impacts in Croatia aims to contribute towards building institutional capacity for dialogue between academic community, researchers, policy makers, public administration institutions and organized civil society on impacts of the European integration process on Croatia.

The objectives of the project are:

i) to enable better networking of representatives of academic community in Croatia with the purpose of encouraging dialogue and dissemination of information on the European integration of Croatia and the EU enlargement;
ii) to explain how the accession process works and to raise awareness on different impacts of negotiations and EU membership, including the role of civil society organizations in the European integration process;
iii)   to encourage formulation of informed and motivated opinions and positions based on in-depth analysis on impacts of EU integration;
iv) to generate interest for the wide spectrum of issues included in the thematic scope of the debate;
v) to open the possibility of virtual debates on the EU accession by using the electronic media.

The project will include strengthening of dialogue between academic and wider community on EU integration issues, research, and dissemination of information and knowledge. Its goal is to raise the awareness on the impacts, new rights and new opportunities of the EU membership, as well as fostering synergy between key actors within the academic society in Croatia in the process of EU integration. Expected results should be observed through the establishment of an academic network of experts on EU integration issues coordinated by the Institute for Development and International Relations in Zagreb, Croatia, in partnership with the Institute for European Affairs (IIEA) from Dublin, Ireland. The experience on how to communicate Europe will be transferred between international partners and associates and the knowledge will be created among local participants in the project. Based on the activities envisaged as well as previous IRMO experience, the project should lead to the establishment of a virtual Centre for European affairs in Croatia.

Main Activities:

The project will include integrating activities (kickf-off conference and three regional forums), common research (joint book), transfer of knowledge (transnational – between Academic Network partners, and national – within the academic and the wider civil society) and dissemination activities (web content).

    • kick-off conference of the Academic Network with representatives from the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) from Zagreb, the Institute of European Affairs (IIEA) from Dublin, the University of Cologne and some leading representatives in the field of EU studies in Croatia, debating the role of academic community in communicating EU accession to the Croatian public;
    • first forum of the Academic Network in Rijeka, discussing impacts of the EU accession of Croatia in the field of education, research and science;
    • second forum of the Academic Network in Split, discussing impacts of the EU accession of Croatia in the field of environment protection;
    • third forum of the Academic Network in Osijek, discussing impacts of the EU accession of Croatia in the field of consumer protection and food safety;
    • preparation of reports on each forum
    • book with comparisons of Croatia and Ireland (the chapters of the book are planned to deal with: communicating European integration issues; education, research and science; consumer protection and food safety, and environment protection);
    • wide dissemination of the book (in paper and electronic form);
    • development of a web page of the Academic Network and online virtual forum for debates on the impact of the EU accession in Croatia.

Target Groups and Beneficiaries:

The most important target group are representatives of the academic community – lecturers, doctoral candidates, postgraduate and graduate students and researchers. This target group has been chosen with regard to, on the one hand, its capacities of an enlightened audience with affiliation for conceptual and strategic analysis, and, on the other hand, its emphatic orientation to the future, which in the case of Croatia would mean participation in the “future of an enlarged and united Europe”. Furthermore, a number of Croatian Universities have developed European Studies programmes which are focal points for dissemination of knowledge on EU integration issues and therefore both students and lecturers are relevant target groups of the project. The representatives of academic community will be involved through participation of some Croatian universities, while representatives of civil society organisations will be identified and invited with the assistance of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development.

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