CENS Changes Name, Revisits Mission

March 21, 2016

Increasing volatility in the European Union has a strong influence on enlargement. In order to respond to recent changes across Europe, from March 2016, the Center for EU Enlargement Studies will be known as the Center for European Neighborhood Studies, while keeping its established acronym - CENS. It will retain its focus on EU enlargement, however, its change in name also brings a revision of its mission.

CENS was founded in 2005 as an independent research unit at the Central European University (CEU). For over a decade CENS has actively pursued its original mission: analyzing and understanding the impact of European Union (EU) enlargement on recent member states, on countries neighboring the EU, and on the Union as a whole. Located in Budapest, CENS leverages its access to the Central European region and aims to provide valuable contributions to the international dialogue regarding the future of the EU.

Two central components of the CENS strategy have contributed to attaining this goal. First, the Center conducts high quality academic and policy research, either as principal investigator or as partner in the framework of numerous externally funded projects. Second, CENS organizes events that serve as an arena for policy-makers, scholars, students and civil society actors to engage in meaningful and free debate on a host of vital issues centered upon the EU.
In the past few years the EU has faced significant internal and external challenges and, consequently, enlargement has become an even more contentious policy. The ongoing refugee crisis has profoundly divided the EU member states and the rise of nationalist and populist rhetoric threatens fundamental principles of the Union.

CENS’ updated mission seeks to address these issues. In the future, the Center for European Neighborhood Studies’ activities will prioritize research into the following areas: the shortcomings of democratic transition and the difficulties of consolidation in the Visegrad countries; the place of Romania and Bulgaria within the EU; the transition, security and foreign policy challenges in the Union’s neighborhoods in the context of enlargement and beyond; and cross-cutting issues that are shaping the future of the European Union, such as Euro-skepticism or increasing mass migration. The Center’s geographic focus remains Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, Turkey, the South Caucasus, and it will increasingly include Russia. Furthermore, the Center for European Neighborhood Studies remains committed to the inclusion of students in every stage of our work and the utilization of our research across a variety of educational endeavors pursued by CEU.