Two-year research project on “Arab Parliaments” comes to successful conclusion

Dr Jan Claudius Völkel has successfully concluded his two-year research project on “The role of national parliaments in the Arab transformation processes” at the IES. With funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 706113, Jan has studied intensively the legislatures of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, conducting interviews with parliamentarians, diplomats, journalists and civil society representatives in all four countries, and also with representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, as well as EU Delegations. In addition, he spent prolongued research stays at the University of Warwick (UK) and the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in Odense.

Most recently, Jan published two relevant articles: A generic assessment of the current state of democracy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for Durham University’s Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (IMEIS, “Not more than a Dent? Long-term Trends in Middle East Democracy since the Arab Spring”), and an exclusive analysis of the attitudes of British Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) towards MENA-specific aspects in the light of Brexit, published in an edited volume by Thomas Christiansen and Diane Fromage (“Brexit and Democracy: The Role of Parliaments in the UK and the European Union”, Palgrave Macmillan 2019, chapter “The Impact of Brexit on the European Parliament: The Role of British MEPs in Euro-Mediterranean Affairs”, pp. 263-291).

The last two weeks saw also two presentations that Jan gave to very different audiences: First, he met students of Brussels’ “Lycée Français Jean Monnet” for a discussion of the lack of democracy in the MENA region and its implications for Europe; second, he presented a paper on “The European Parliament’s external relations with Arab Parliaments: Parliamentary Diplomacy as Way to Democratization?” at the prestigious 2019 Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA) in Toronto (27-30 March 2019).

Photo: Dr. Völkel discussing MENA democracy with students at the Lycée Français Jean Monnet in Brussels, 22 March 2019