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Enhancing VIsibility of the Academic DialogUe on EU-Turkey CooperaTion (VIADUCT)

Coordinated by Prof Wolfgang Wessels and Dr Funda Tekin at CETEUS, University of Cologne, the Jean Monnet Network VIADUCT was launched on 1st September 2017 and will run for a period of three years till 31st August 2020. It was selected for funding from among a field of more than 320 applications submitted to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission.

Following an intergenerational, interdisciplinary, international and intertemporal approach, VIADUCT represents a network of 40 partners and one extended network partner from all EU countries, Turkey as well as from Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Norway, and Switzerland.

VIADUCT’s general objective is fostering substantiate academic and policy dialogue as well as building knowledge on EU-Turkey relations as a ‘moving target’. To this end it aims at improving and enhancing teaching and research on this topic. VIADUCT’s target groups are academics, students and practitioners, together with the wider public and civil society.

To research and analyse the future of EU-Turkey relations, VIADUCT identifies four possible scenarios:

  1. Managing the fragile status quo – this would imply that the EU and Turkey try to preserve their relationship despite Turkey becoming an increasingly autocratic presidential system, the EU’s preoccupation with BREXIT negotiations and persisting conflicts in the neighbourhood.
  2. Extending and upgrading existing forms of cooperation such as the Customs Union and refugee deal – this would be facilitated by increased differentiated integration of the EU in the wake of ‘Brexit’.
  3. Reactivation of the accession process – although currently a highly unlikely scenario in light of the dissolution of democratic values in Turkey, the unresolved Cyprus conflict and a general stagnation in the EU’s enlargement process, it cannot be neglected in academic discussion.
  4. Dealing with a difficult or even hostile neighbour – this would imply a conflict scenario, i.e. relations between the EU and Turkey could be driven by growing estrangement which might even preclude any forms of flexible cooperation.

Further information, including a finalised timetable, will be available at the project’s website www.viaduct.eu from the end of November 2017 onwards. For questions, please contact VIADUCT’s Project and Financial Manager Marieke Eckhardt (Marieke.eckhardt(at)uni-koeln.de) at the coordination office in Cologne.