2019 marks the 25th anniversary of ARENA Centre for European Studies, and 25 years of studying European integration. It is also 25 years since the referendum on Norwegian EU membership and the EEA Agreement came into force.
The Europeanisation of the nation state has come a long way, and the non-member Norway is also deeply affected by the integration process. Yet, the breadth and depth of Europeanisation is not very well known among the population at large. Meanwhile, the EU in 2019 is dealing with a number of external and internal challenges, including Brexit; geopolitical strains in the Union’s relationship with both Russia and the United States; challenges to the freedom of the media and the rule of law in some member states; continued difficulties in the reform of the monetary union; and populist challenges to representative democracy and expertise on which the Union depends. At the same time, as Brexit demonstrates, there is a lack of knowledge of how the EU actually works among officials as well as the population at large.
In marking the 25th anniversary of ARENA with a conference to address the current crises and challenges to the Union, we also asked: how can researchers advance knowledge of key processes of integration and disintegration? How can ARENA contribute to further that research?