The workshop opened with the speech of Dr. Samia Hilala, Vice President for Community Outreach, as she emphasized the importance of Birzeit University in discussing political and national issues, and the significance of viewing the political, economical and legal experiences of other countries. She further added that “the objective of this course, which the workshop is derived from, is to identify the EU as a regional organization, shedding light on the evolution of the EU after World War II, in addition to EU institutions and the process of decision making on all levels.”
From his side, Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Barghouthi, director of IALIIS, mentioned the importance of studying the experience of the EU as a unique case of integration and bloc. He also referred to the significant economic power and strategic weight of the EU in the context of international interactions, stressing on the importance of this course in deepening students’ knowledge of the EU and international cognitive.
Moreover, Mr. Marc Franco, Former Head of the European Commission delegation in Cairo, referred to the importance of this workshop from two angles: the first is presenting crucial information on the EU, its history, institutions and countries, which deepens Palestinians’ knowledge of the EU in general, and students in particular. Whereas the second significance of the workshop addresses the EU, where he indicated that through this workshop the EU will identify Palestinian students’ perspectives, what they think and feel towards the EU. Mr. Franco thanked IALIIS for organizing this workshop and expressed his delight for being at Birzeit University and thanked IALIIS students for presenting their research papers.
Regarding the papers that were presented in this workshop, they were presented in two main sessions. Each session consisted of three MA students at IALIIS, as they discussed their research papers under the supervision of the professors of this course: Dr. Roger Heacock, Dr. Asem Khalil, and Dr. Nayef Abu-Khalef. After students presented their papers, they were commented by a number of experts in the field such as, Mr. Amir Khalil, Academic assistant and PhD Candidate at the Center for Private and Economic Law (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Mr. Bashir Assi, Visiting Researcher at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS), Mr. Marc Franco, Former Head of the European Commission delegation in Cairo, and Mr. Gianmatteo Arena, EU Coordinating Office for Palestinian police, as they commented on students papers and gave their comments on issues related to format, content and methodology.
Among the students who participated in this workshop, Rami Al-Alami’s paper entitled “The EU and Settlement Products”, addressed the EU’s position which opposes the building of Israeli settlements. He emphasized that the EU has expressed this position through adapting a number of diplomatic policies, trying to underpin the reasons which led the EU to take such a position despite its good relations with Israel. Then Amna Al-Natsha presented her paper on “The (Dis-)Unity of the EU in Facing the Financial Crisis”, in which she explored the reasons which led to the financial crisis in Europe. Following Amna’s presentation, Rabab Sabbah’s paper examined “The EU and China: Partners or Competitors?”, as she discussed the relations that binds China to the EU; whereby both are considered one of the largest partners in the commercial world. In addition to the centrality of both the EU and China in the international system, on both the political and economical level.
The second group of students began with Ibrahim Saif, who spoke about “The Future of Relations Between the European Union and the USA”. He shed light on the nature of this relation and put forward plausible scenarios in light of the international changes on the ground. After that, Ghada Hamed covered “The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)” through discussing the nature and structure of the EU, in addition to the potential role it could play in peacekeeping and crises management. Finally, Eman Judah presented her paper on “The Impact of Migration on Arab-European Relations”, as she elaborated on the nature of the political, social, and economical relations that bind both sides and she revealed changes that occurred within the political and economical global changes.
Dr. Roger Heacock concluded the workshop by presenting a number of recommendations and concluding remarks emerged from the workshop and thanked everyone who contributed in the success of it from participants, organizers and attendance.