Centre for European Studies Holds Third Lecture Series

Prof. Ransford Gyampo, Director of CES delivering his welcome remarks

The Centre for European Studies (CES) has held its third Lecture Series on the theme The State of the European Union Today.  The event which was chaired by Ambassador Giovanni Favilli, Italian Ambassador to Ghana, was held at the Kofi Drah Conference Hall of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana.

In his welcome remarks, Prof Ransford Gyampo, Director of the Centre noted that CES since its inception in 2016, has been relentless in its efforts to inspire interest in European studies among faculty and students of the University of Ghana and beyond. According to Prof Gyampo, the Centre has been able to organize two lecture series this year, on topical issues germane to European Studies with the support of key stakeholders such as the European Union (EU) Delegation and other EU Member countries in Ghana. These, he noted, have culminated in the preparation and distribution of Policy Briefs to EU- Member countries as well as other key stakeholders and policy makers in Ghana.

He observed that even though the EU is a powerful bloc in contemporary politics, some people have doubts and are paranoid about its current state following Brexit and other challenges. Given the importance of Europe in world politics, Prof Gyampo was of the firm belief that an understanding of what is happening in the EU in contemporary times would help put issues of European Studies in proper perspective and shape the knowledge of students.

He added that the third lecture series was organized following extensive evidence-based research focussing on the European Union as a body.  He urged all participants to bring their viewpoints to bear on discussions to ensure a firm understanding of the state of the European Union today. Prof Gyampo also thanked the European Union Delegation for its continuous support of the Centre’s activities.

In brief remarks, Ambassador Giovanni Favilli, Italian Ambassador to Ghana commended the CES for the enthusiasm and hard-work in keeping and sustaining the name and image of the Centre in the hearts and minds of the EU-Member countries in Ghana. He also mentioned that the headquarters of the EU in Brussels had taken note of the establishment of the Centre, and happy with the vibrant activities the Centre had so far undertaken.

He stressed the importance of the theme for the lecture to the EU and commended the CES for fashioning out a theme which is very relevant and topical in the EU’s scheme of activities and thought. He pledged to work with the EU-Delegation in Ghana to institutionalize support and collaboration between the CES, the University of Ghana as a whole and the EU-Member Countries in Ghana. He commended Prof. Ransford Gyampo for his leadership role in keeping the Centre vibrant.

Ambassador Giovanni Favilli, Italian Ambassador to Ghana and Chairman for the Third CES Lecture Series

Presenting the outcome of his research, Dr. Bossman Eric Asare, Adjunct Fellow of CES & Head of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana noted that despite its stature in global politics as a powerful bloc and its contribution to the socio-economic and political development of many Third World countries including Ghana, the EU has in recent times been shaken by several developments that call into question the prospects of the Union in the not too distant future.

According to him, BREXIT is a clear case of domestic political interests trumping regional or international interests. Similarly, there is an obvious indication that some EU member countries are beginning to make demands that are counterintuitive to regionalism. More specifically, nationalism according to the lead researcher is gaining prominence as some member states are beginning to think that the EU is not concerned about their domestic, internal issues but rather more about EU-wide issues.  Also, serious immigration challenges as well as the emergence of ultra conservatives in the domestic politics of EU member states apparently suggests the influence these parties are exerting on several individuals in their countries in a manner that undermines EU integration.

Dr. Asare said however, that from a broader perspective, the EU remains a formidable force in the global political economy.  He noted for instance, that the unexpected emergence of the US President, Mr. Donald Trump on the global political scene has given EU leaders several reasons to work collectively as a unit. Many EU leaders according to Dr. Asare, have expressed reservations about the US leaders’ open rebuke of international institutions that have been at the forefront of championing global peace, economic stability.

Dr. Bossman Eric Asare, Adjunct Fellow, CES and Lead Researcher Delivering his findings at the Third CES Lecture Series

Concluding his presentation, Dr. Asare said for the EU to remain a force to reckon with in global politics, the EU leadership must address inequality in a way that shows that there are concerns for the vulnerable countries in the Union; There must be a proactive approach to addressing conflicts in countries outside the EU as a means of reducing the number of refugees entering Europe; The EU must be committed to the economic and political transformation of poor countries especially in sub-Saharan Africa such as Eritrea whose citizens unceasingly go to the Europe and there is the need for a deliberate agenda to reduce the influence of the far right in the European body politic.

The lecture was attended by over four hundred participants comprising representatives and ambassadors of the European Union member countries in Ghana, civil society, media practitioners, faculty and students of the University of Ghana.

Cross Section of Participants