Natolin European Centre – European Institute Łodz
Director: Agnieszka Czachowska-Aussenberg
The European Institute in Łódź was established as a non-profit Foundation in 1993. Eighteen years is a long time for an institution which – because of its statutory objectives – could be established only in the 3rd Republic of Poland, when the country regained its full sovereignty and an opportunity emerged to open it up to the unifying Europe. The Institute’s history is thus linked to Poland’s opening up and getting closer to European structures and its creation was aimed at supporting the process by delivering statutory tasks, such as: research, training, education, publications, dissemination of information and promotion of European ideas. Objectives identified for the Institute by its founders were positively recognised by Łódź city authorities, which translated into a decision to make available for the Institute first the former villa of Robert Schweikert, the present seat of the Institute, and then the former seat of Regional Board of Solidarity Trade Union of the Łódź Region, currently the Alcide de Gasperi Training and Conference Centre.
The European Institute became the first institution dealing with EU issues in Central and Eastern European Countries. Its original characteristic is a multi-dimension and multidisciplinary research, teaching, publishing (over 100 volumes within 4 series of books, studies, manuals and readings), networking, training and dissemination. The first years of the Institute’s research were devoted mainly to:
- The concept of Poland’s participation in European integration (in terms of economy, law, culture, institutional and social aspects);
- Comparative analysis of earlier enlargements and integration experiences of member states (especially in areas like institutional aspects of European issues in domestic systems of public governance, economic effects of the membership, implementation of Community law into member states legislation, social communication on integration issues and social costs of adjustments to acquis communautaire);
- Reflection on the future shape of the EU;
- The future place of the EU in the global system;
- The role of citizens in integration processes;
- Evaluation of needs in training human resources for the accession and future membership.
Based on its own research, between 1993 and 2004 the Institute delivered expert opinions for the Polish government and for the parliament. Amongst the particularly important and key works resulting from research conducted by the Institute and cooperating experts were: the effects of Customs Union and those of including Poland into the EU Single Market; the European concepts of security – the Mediterranean and Baltic perspectives; Social communication and information on European issues in Poland; the methodology of transposing Community law to national legislation in the framework of the Single Market; the economy and security as key elements of the EU enlargement in Central and Eastern Europe; the role of universities and human resources in the process of European integration; Academic education in the field of European integration; Consequences of Poland’s membership in WTO in the context of future membership of Poland in the EU.
On top of that, together with other centres, the Institute was active in shaping and developing the Polish “White Paper: Poland – European Union”. This document comprised the cost and benefit analysis in the context of Poland’s membership in the EU in three dimensions, i.e. economy, law and science and technology. In 1995 the Institute contributed to a study for the European Parliament delivering an analysis of preparations of Central and East European Countries for EU membership. At the same time, along with foreign partners from TEPSA the Institute started monitoring the enlargement process in the form of regular periodical comparative reports (Enlargement/Agenda 2000 Watch). In parallel, researchers from the Institute contributed to a report commissioned by the World Bank “Winners and Losers of the EU Integration in the Central European Candidate Countries”. Poland’s membership in the European Union enabled the Institute to get involved into European networks and to benefit from EU funding as well as from the 5th and 6th Framework Programmes (“ADAPT” Project, “EU- CONSENT” Project, Jean Monnet/ECSA Project, TEPSA network, EuroMeSCo network and LISOBOAN).
- Electronic platform for knowledge and resource transfer: “Visions of Poland’s role in Central and Eastern Europe in geopolitical, economic, civilisational and cultural concepts in the 20th century” (Natolin European Centre, Poland)
- “Contemporary States and the Crisis of the Western Order”, edited by Marek Aleksander Cichocki (Natolin European Centre, Poland)
- Change in the Management Board of the European Institute in Lodz, Poland
- Introducing a TEPSA Member Institute: the European Institute in Łódź (Poland)
- News from the European Institute in Lodz