TOPIC 1: EU diplomacy and the ‘practice turn’ in IR/EU studies

In my doctoral thesis, I assess the diplomatic performance of the European Union (EU) in its neighbourhood, namely in Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus after the inauguration of the European External Action Service (EEAS).

My research embraces an interdisciplinary character as it derived performance criteria from three sets of literature: diplomacy, the ‘practice turn’ in IR and EU studies and organisational performance. With a focus on the ‘practice turn’ in IR and EU studies, the thesis underlines the activity-centered dimension of EU diplomacy and details the everyday practices of the EU Delegations and the member-state (MS) embassies that form and shape EU’s performance. The thesis conceptualises three criteria, namely effectiveness, relevance and capabilities that allows to examine and evaluate EU diplomatic practices against pre-set goals (effectiveness), to learn about the relationship between the national and EU levels in the new post-Lisbon setting (relevance) and to conduct a screening of capabilities and to understand how these pertain to the diplomatic realm (capabilities).

My work is the first to examine the topic of performance of EU diplomacy in Eastern Europe through the lens of the ‘practice turn’ and based on interviews with diplomats from the field. It breaks new ground as the first to focus on the relationship between the EU and national diplomatic services in Eastern Europe, and therefore uncovering the dimensions of everyday diplomatic practices in these countries.



TOPIC 2: EU Performance

Performance indicators were at the core of my work as Program Assistant at Soros Foundation-Moldova (between 2007-2009): evaluation of results of both our beneficiaries and our Programme was based on performance criteria. Returning to graduate studies, I came across the fact that performance becomes central in EU’s strategies and policies and is of relevance to EU policy-makers. I thus engaged with the literature on organisational performance and incorporated it in the study of EU diplomacy.

The novelty of my work on performance contrasts previous studies on EU diplomacy through a critical assessment of EU diplomacy against clear-cut performance criteria such as effectiveness, relevance and capability. It has yielded insights on the particularities of the practices of European diplomatic cooperation among EU Delegations and national embassies; especially when on the ground, the consolidation of the EU’s system of diplomacy relies not solely on the Delegations, but also on national embassies.


TOPIC 3: EU actorness and the ENP

Research on EU diplomacy and EU performance in Eastern Europe also informe my research on ENP countries such as Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. In addition to my doctoral research, I analysed the level of Moldova’s integration with the EU and domestic support for such integration. I have been part of a working group on the ENP organised by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs where we worked on analysing whether the ENP and the EaP work as security community-building instruments. My research has also been of interest in other policy-oriented forums where I presented how the EU could more effectively support the development in Moldova to ensure stability, prosperity and security at the Workshop on EaP policy organised by the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.