Jean Monnet Module EU ENVI peaks Europe Day round table and with Student Conference


After starting with home teachers and fantastic mixture of guest lectures from academia and practice, 2017/18 Jean Monnet Module EU ENVI under leadership of assoc. prof. Dr. Ana Bojinović Fenko continues with expert events during the Europe Week and peaks with a Student Conference.

Europe week at the Faculty of Social Sciences University of Ljubljana was devoted to guest lectures, round table, seminars, expert and social events all centered around European Affairs. Tackled in an interdisciplinary manner, the central event was the JMM EU ENVI round table titled Mainstreaming environment in EU policies on Europe Day, 9 May 2018. The speakers were assoc. prof. dr. Marko Lovec, researcher at UNI LJ Centre of International Relations, Dr Per Gahrton, a former MEP and Member of the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament and a Swedish MP of the Greens, Mr Uroš Vajgl, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Sector for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Deputy Permanent Representative of Republic of Slovenia to the EU and Ms Cvetka Poprask, MA in International Environmental Law and Law of the Sea, Alumni of UL FSS, IR graduate. The guests addressed various issues; either internal dimensions of EU environmental policy or mainstreaming of environmental values, goals or instruments into other EU domestic policies. Finally, speakers also turned to the external dimension of the EU environmental policy challenging the (former) role of the EU as environmental hegemon against other rising global environmental actors, such as China.

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On 11 May 2018, 2 guest lecturers added value to the class. The first was teaching assistant Danijel Crnčec, MA, also employed at the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Slovenia in the Directorate for Energy (Department for legal and international affairs). His contribution on EU Energy Union and Climate was highly interactive, grounded on the understanding of international legal framework of climate change and the development of the EU Energy Union. Students discovered also economic, natural resources, historical and political factors framing the adoption and implementation of the energy and climate goals at the EU level and member states' level with the special focus on the Slovenian case. He offered numerous insights into research possibilities for students in terms of governance of the Energy Union (promoting “prosumerism”, energy efficiency and renewable and bioenergy sustainability, etc.).

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A second guest lecturer on 11 May 2018 was a main design engineer dr. Marko Bojinović from a Slovenian leading company in environmental engineering and infrastructure, ESOTECH jsc. He conveyed to the class numerous practical experience of his company in implementation of EU-funded environmental projects in EU candidate countries and Eastern Partnership states; his case studies were projects in Serbia and Ukraine. After presenting his company in terms of technology, capabilities and environmental infrastructure they provide in municipal and industrial waste water treatment, he focused on the business strategy of acquiring EU funding including market analysis, lobby practices, and global competition of traditionally strong players (e.g. companies from Germany and US) and new players with different investment strategy (e.g. companies from China and Turkey). He presented the role of International federation of consulting engineers (FIDIC) and supervision process of the project by the EU hired expert engineers. The most interesting were his practical observations of political and socio-cultural aspects of project implementation on the ground due to local particularities of municipalities, regions or countries in question, pointing to a necessity to complement engineering with knowledge of social sciences and intercultural communication skills. 

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On 18 May 2018, a guest lecture by prof. Dr. Maja Bučar took place titled Environmental issues in the EU development cooperation. As prof. Bučar is Slovenian top experts on international development cooperation especially in terms of the EU as the biggest aid donor in the world, she presented this instrument of EU foreign policy as the external dimension of the EU environmental policy. She discussed the connection between the environment and development, presented to the students the relevant Sustainable Development Goals and their integration in the EU development policy. Students were informed of the basic principles of the EU development cooperation and of the key programmes the EU has in the area of helping developing countries to deal with environmental issues.

Student conference “Internal and External Dimensions of EU Environmental Policy”

At the end of semester, students have gained the opportunity to show and share their knowledge gained in the field of EU environmental policy. In three different occasions, on 25 May, 1 June and 8 June 2018, all on Fridays from 8.00 to 12.00 we have organized a student conference – a similar event to scientific conferences in a modified setting. Students acted in the roles of researchers, paper Presenters, panel Chairs, and paper Discussants, thus building their competence in scientific research, presentation of results and debating. There were 7 panels each encompassing 3 or 4 individual or co-authored research papers. See conference agenda here. Panel titles were:

  • Climate change challenges – substantive views
  • Formulation of EU environmental policy
  • Evaluation of EU environmental policy
  • Air pollution – case studies of European states
  • Waste management – from households to nuclear waste
  • Trade off? Competitiveness vs. environmental protection
  • EU external action - back to the future of environmental hegemony?

Students received feedback on their research paper not only from their teacher – the JMM instructor but also from peer-to-peer assessment and learned how to deliver an assessment of others’ work not only from the viewpoint of expert content but also in an appropriate manner of critical evaluation.

Here is a gallery of some photos from the first student conference day, made by one of our IR students Rok Dolenc.