Living with the Neighbours Observatory

The UK's relationship with the EU and European countries remains poorly understood. The Living with the Neighbours (LWTN) cross-national Observatory brings together a group of distinguished experts. It hopes to ensure that there is informed commentary on how the UK and its relations with its neighbours are viewed across Europe. The LWTN Observatory plans to produce occasional pieces, combining expert but accessible analytical commentary, with more traditional academic output.

Czech Republic: Dr Monika Brusenbauch Meislová is an Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations and European Studies, Masaryk University, Czech Republic. She is also a Visiting Professor at Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and one of the coordinators of the UACES research network 'The limits of EUrope'. Her research work covers issues of British EU policy, Brexit and political discourse. Her most recent research has been published in various journals, including The Journal of Common Market Studies, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, European Security, British Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, and The Political Quarterly.

Czech Republic: Petr Kaniok works as a professor of the EU politics at the Department for International Relations and European Politics at the Masaryk University and as a Head of its International Institute of Political Science. His research focuses on the EU political system and on Central and Eastern European politics. His most recent work has been published by the East European Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, or European Security.

France: Pauline Schnapper is Professor of British Politics at the université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. Her research has focused on British European and foreign policies and, lately, on Franco-British relations post-Brexit. She is the author of La Politique au Royaume-Uni, (Paris, La Découverte, 2022) and (with Helen Drake) “’We thought we were friends’: Franco-British Bilateral Diplomacy and the Shock of Brexit”, Journal of Contemporary European Research, vol. 17, n° 4, 2021.

Germany: Prof. Dr. Eva G. Heidbreder holds the Chair for Multilevel Governance in Europe at the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg where she also has a Jean Monnet Chair. Her research focuses on EU policymaking at the different levels of the European Union and how the EU evolves as polity. Current projects include the EU coordination in the member and associated states, the role of the German Länder in EU policymaking, dynamics in the EU’s constituent politics, as well as the EU electoral process, in particular the relevance of the Spitzenkandidaten. She directs a BA and a MA in European Studies.

Germany: Dr. Nicolai von Ondarza is head of the EU/Europe division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP) in Berlin. His research focuses on EU institutions, democracy in the EU as well as EU/German-UK relations. As part of his work, he has consulted the German Bundestag, the European Parliament, the EU-Commission and the German government. He is the coordinator of the British-German Outlook Group, a yearly exchange format of the FDCO, the German Foreign Office, Chatham House and the SWP. 

Greece: Spyros Blavoukos is Professor at the Department of International and European Economic Studies, at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) and a Senior Research Fellow at ELIAMEP, where he is the Head of the ‘Ariane Condellis’ European Programme. He is the Director of the MSc. in International Negotiations, organized at AUEB, as well as Director of the Jean Monnet Network on EU-UN Relations (EUN-NET) and a Senior Researcher of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on the Multilateral Diplomacy of the European Union. His research and publications focus on the EU foreign and security policy and more specifically on the EU international interactions with other international and regional organizations, most notably the UN. He has (co)authored and (co)edited six books on various aspects of European integration and EU external relations and more than forty journal articles and contributions to other academic publications. His most recent publications are: “Newcomers in EU foreign policy: The Committee of the Regions as a para-diplomatic actor” (Journal of European Integration, 2023), “Influencing the international transport regime: The EU’s climate action in ICAO and IMO” (Politics and Governance, 2023), and “‘Reforming Suo Tempore: Exploring the unintended consequences of the European Union’s ‘reform actorness” (British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 2022).

Lithuania: Ramūnas Vilpišauskas is a professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University. In 2020, he has been awarded Jean Monnet Chair for 2020-2023. From 2009 to 2019 he was a director of the Institute. In 2004-2009, he has worked as a Chief Economic Policy Advisor to the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus and the Head of Economic and Social Policy Group, he has also been appointed as a Chief of Staff to the President (2006-2009). He is a member of the Lithuanian Progress Council formed by the Government and tasked with the preparation of the long-term strategy Lithuania 2050. He is also a Council member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Institute für Europäische Politik (Berlin). He has worked with different governmental institutions and international organizations such as the World Bank, OECD and the European Commission Joint Research Centre advising on public sector reforms and European integration. He is a regular contributor to public debates in Lithuanian media. His main research interests include public policy analysis and public sector reforms, political economy of European integration, EU public policies, geoeconomics. He has published in journals such as Policy Studies, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Integration, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, German Politics, East European Politics, International Review of Administrative Science, Public Policy and Administration.

Norway: John Erik Fossum is Professor, ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo. He has worked and published widely on issues of identity, democracy, and constitutionalism in the EU and Canada, and on Norway’s EU affiliation and implications for the UK post-Brexit. He was project co-ordinator for the H2020-project EU3D–— Differentiation, Dominance, Democracy (2019–2023), is PI for the Horizon Europe projects REGROUP and REDIRECT, and was substitute co-ordinator for the 5-year EU FP6-funded RECON (Reconstituting Democracy in the European Union, 2007–2011) project, and co-director of the NORCONE project, which focused on the Europeanisation of Norway. His most recent books are: Handbook on the European Union and Brexit (Edward Elgar, 2023), co-edited with Christopher Lord; Towards a Segmented European Political Order: The European Union’s Post-Crises Conundrum (Routledge, 2020), co-edited with Jozef Bátora, and Norway’s Experience and Lessons for the UK; co-authored with Chris Lord, Fay Farstad, Arild Farsund, Merethe Leiren, Espen Olsen, Marianne Riddervold, Johanne Saltnes, Øyvind Svendsen and Jarle Trondal, Routledge 2023. His most recent articles are: “In What Sense does Right-Wing Populism Pose a Democratic Challenge for the European Union?” (2022) Social and Legal Studies; “The EU and Third Countries: Consequences for Democracy and the Political Order” (2022) Journal of Common Market Studies.

Poland: Dr Natasza Styczyńska is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of European Studies of the Jagiellonian University. Her academic interests include party politics, nationalism, populism and Euroscepticism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She leads the JU team in Horizon Europe REGROUP Rebuilding Governance and Resilience out of the Pandemic research project and is a director of studies of Joint BA in European Studies at Jagiellonian, which was developed within Una Europa University Alliance as the first ever joint BA programme. Previously, she participated in numerous research (Polish National Science Center, UK Economic and Social Research Council, Jean Monnet Networks, Horizon 2020) and educational projects (Jean Monnet, Erasmus Plus Capacity Building, Visegrad Fund).

Poland: Volodymyr Posviatenko is a Research Assistant at the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University, in the international research projects “SHAPEDEM-EU: Rethinking and Reshaping the EU's democracy support in its Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood” (Horizon-Europe) and “Politicisation of the Eastern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Germany and Poland – a comparison of foreign policies (EU-East-G-PL)”. His research interests focus on the regions of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and the Balkans and their European integration, EU enlargement, EU foreign policy, democratisation in the EU neighbourhood, as well as cultural and linguistic diversity and the protection of national minorities.

Portugal: Laura C. Ferreira-Pereira is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Department of Political Science of the University of Minho. She has published extensively on EU’s foreign policy (CFSP/CSDP) and Portuguese foreign and security policy in the journals International Politics, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Integration, Cooperation and Conflict, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, European Politics and Society, and European Security, among others; and in several edited books. She is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Contemporary Politics, Global Society and Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional. She is a founding member of the European International Studies Association (EISA).

Spain: Ignacio Molina is Senior Analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute and Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the same university, an MA in Social Sciences from the Juan March Institute (Madrid), a Master’s in EU Law and two BA in Law and Political Science from the University of Granada. He has been visiting fellow at several universities: Trinity College Dublin, Harvard (as a Fulbright scholar) and Oxford. He has lectured or presented papers in more than 30 graduate centres and policy institutes and has participated in more than 20 national and international research projects.​ He has served as an external expert or consultant to several institutions including the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Spanish Council of State, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Spanish Institute for Public Administration (INAP) or the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Spain: Enrique Feás is Senior Analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute, independent consultant, Adjunct Professor at the IE University and IE School of Global and Public Affairs. He is a State Economist and Trade Expert (Técnico Comercial y Economista del Estado), currently on leave. Previously he has worked as Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Embassies of Spain in the Philippines and in Egypt, Deputy Director General for Trade Policy with Mediterranean Countries, Africa and Middle East, Senior Advisor for Economic International Affairs for the Vice President and Minister of Economy, deputy head of the Trade Research Department of the Ministry of Trade and Deputy Director of the economic journals of 'Información Comercial Española'. He is founder and co-editor of the economic policy blog Blog 'NewDeal', columnist in the digital newspaper Vozpópuli and co-author of the book 'La Unión hace la fuerza: Europa ante los desafíos del siglo XXI'. He is also a frequent contributor to the Spanish and international media.

Switzerland: René Schwok is a full professor at the Global Studies Institute and the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Geneva. He was previously Director of the Global Studies Institute and of the Master in European Studies. He is Director of the Master of Advanced Studies in International Security. He holds a Jean Monnet Chair in Political Science. He specializes in issues related to the external dimension of the European Union, Swiss-European Union relations and security in Europe. He has published some 20 books and hundreds of articles, mainly on European integration issues.

Switzerland: Stefanie Walter is a full Professor for International Relations and Political Economy, Department of Political Science, University of Zurich. Stefanie Walter’s research examines distributional conflicts, political preferences and policy making related to globalization, European integration, and financial crises. Current projects examine the backlash against globalization, the contestation of global governance, and challenges to international cooperation more generally. 

United Kingdom: Professor Hussein Kassim is Principal Investor on the Living with the Neighbours project. He specializes in the EU, where my research examines four main areas: the EU institutions; EU civil servants; EU-member state relations; and Brexit. I have co-authored or co-edited six books and six special issues, and my work has appeared in top journals in politics, public administration, and EU studies. I have been principal investigator or co-investigator on research funded by grants from the British Academy, the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, and the EU (‘EMU Choices’). Much of my work has been collaborative across institutions and disciplines. As well as projects on the EU’s approach to Brexit and its aftermath and the presidentialisation of leadership in the European Commission, I am currently working on Negotiating Brexit. EU institutions, national governments, and the UK, with Simon Usherwood, Coordination at the Top, with Jean-Michel Eymeri-Douzans and Marie Goransson, and The National Coordination of European Policy after Lisbon and an era of Crisis, with Eva Heidbreder. A book, coedited with Adriaan Schout, on National European Union narratives: ‘official stories’ of belonging, exploring the meanings that the EU has for different European states through an examination of how governments explain and justify the relationship with the EU, will appear later this year.

United Kingdom: Dr Cleo Davies, Senior Research Fellow, Living with the Neighbours Project, PAIS, University of Warwick. Cleo Davies has expertise in European politics, EU decision-making, and the role of international organisations in transnational governance. She currently works on the UK-EU relations in a comparative perspective as part of the ESRC funded project 'Living with the Neighbours'.