The project aimed to promote EU studies at Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL). The project was assigned the acronym - EU@RGSL to strengthen the EU Policy dimension at the interdisciplinary teaching at RGSL. The planned activities, therefore, targeted 1) RGSL students at Master level studies as well as the young generation of researchers through Thesis supervision; 2) participants of the Advanced Programme and Intensive programme from EU partner countries; 3) civil servants of different ministries in Latvia within annual summer schools; 4) broader society and media through communication deliverables.
In numbers, it was expected that this Erasmus+ grant would address only about 80 students annually at the RGSL. Other deliverables, e.g. the creation of online courses in EU studies, were expected to target a further 200 interlocutors.
RGSL, as one of the leading educational institutions on EU studies in Latvia, realised that there is a high demand for knowledge and training in the field of EU studies both from the local applicants, Erasmus students, and from the EU partner countries. Therefore, the project targeted local students and recruited participants from Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Central Asia and the Western Balkans. Thus, this ERASMUS+ grant is planned to attract the attention of third countries in terms of the visibility of EU studies at RGSL and the outreach of EU-funded projects to the regions in the close neighbourhood of the EU. By doing so, EU@RGSL planned to promote the ERASMUS+ activities beyond the EU borders. Additionally, the project aimed to target the students and participants from other EU member states participating in ERASMUS exchange activities at the RGSL. The online teaching module was planned to complement applying EU policy-making and institutions. At the application stage, the upcoming EU Council presidency of Latvia was already envisaged four years after the completion of the project.
Among the planned activities, the project was also meant to develop new teaching methods in EU studies, i.e. simulation seminars on EU decision-making, case studies, and problem-based learning on EU External relations. Online teaching was planned as a part of an emerging trend to engage in academic activities with broader target groups, including from countries outside the EU.
The work programme was evenly distributed across three years of the project. Jean Monnet Chair holder Professor I. Ruse planned to engage in academic teaching 180 hours/per annum, which are distributed to 90 hours in class for the regular RGSL curriculum course “EU Institutional Law and Decision-Making,” as well as preparation of the module of new teaching methods. Implementation of teaching activity was planned for the spring and fall semesters in line with the Master's Degree programme plan. Further, the Jean Monnet Chair holder should also teach courses in the Advanced programme “EU Integration” and the Intensive programme “EU Integration and Civil Society”. A further 90 hours were devoted to new digital teaching methods. Jean Monnet, Chair holder, should contribute to organising the RGSL-hosted conferences, summer schools and Excellence school modules.
Finally, the Jean Monnet Chair holder was supposed to liaise with the policy-makers to interact with the high-level speakers from government, court, national parliament and other academic institutions. Implementation of this activity was planned to take place in the first part of the project term. Dissemination activities on the above actions were planned, incl. publishing the results on the RGSL website.
Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) has been granted funding for three years, 2020-2023, for a proposal with the acronym “EU@RGSL” under the EU-funded Action Erasmus+. The RGSL permanent academic staff member Professor Ilze Ruse has implemented educational activities by the objectives of the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Chair project Grant agreement No.620402-EPP-1-2020-1-LV-EPPJMO-CHAIR. She is an academic staff member of RGSL with ten years of academic experience and a senior diplomat in Latvia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her expertise has contributed to the project's outcome given the reputation of Jean Monnet Chair.
RGSL has implemented the objectives set out in the grant application. The project has been very successful. It has lifted the teaching of the EU issues to a new level and promoted EU studies to the participants beyond the EU borders. To receive a grant for the Jean Monnet Chair position is very competitive. RGSL, in 25 years since its establishment, has accumulated expertise in EU Law and International Law in Latvia and the Baltic States. For RGSL, the project has helped highlight existing excellence in EU studies and increase the outreach to broader target groups. It has also further strengthened interdisciplinarity by focusing on European politics, EU institutions, and decision-making, which is the domain of the Jean Monnet Chair. The project has facilitated and enhanced the previous expertise of RGSL and made it possible to increase the focus on EU integration and EU law in RGSL curricula.
The following activities have been concluded in the EU@RGSL Erasmus+ project:
Firstly, 90 academic hours were taught during each of the academic years 2020/2021, 2021/2022, 2022/2023, dividing them into the following courses during each year:
- 30 academic hours in the Master study programme course ”EU Institutional Law and Decision Making”;
- 30 academic hours in the study course ”EU Integration” in the study programme ”Advanced Programme in EU Law and Economics”;
- 30 academic hours in the study course ”EU Integration and Civil Society” in the” Intensive Programme in EU Law and Economics” study programme.
The latter two courses were designed for professionals coming from the European Neighbourhood Policy Countries, Central Asia and the Western Balkans, as well as a specialised online course in European Integration and Decision Making for professionals from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Furthermore, 80 hours were devoted to the preparation of the study course and 10 hours to the recording of the following lectures in the academic year 2021/2022:
“EU as a Global Actor. EU External Action Service, its Structure, Composition, Functions.”
“EU and the Civil Society. Democratic Legitimacy of the EU Decision Making.”
“EU External Power in the International Organizations. EU in the UN System.”
“Council and the European Council: Shift in the EU Institutional Balance?”
“EU Council Presidency: Inter-Institutional Cooperation within the EU Decision-Making.”
In the academic year 2022/2023, 80 hours were devoted to the preparation of the study course, and 10 hours were offered at the annual summer school that took place both in 2022 and 2023:
“EU as a suis generis political system. Institutional Architecture. Supranational and Intergovernmental Institutions.”
“European Commission. Structure, Functions and Cooperation with the EU Council Presidency.”
“EU Council and European Council. Working groups, COREPER, Ministerial Council. Legislative process. EU Council Presidency.”
”European Parliament. Structure, Functions. EP and legislative process. Trialogues.”
“EU Council Presidency: Inter-Institutional Cooperation within the EU Decision-Making. Different role within the EU External Action.”
Impact, visibility and dissemination
The EU funding has impacted the excellence of teaching the EU Politics at RGSL in several ways. Firstly, it has helped to focus on developing a Master's Degree course on EU decision-making and institutions and adjust it to more interactive teaching methods. More hours were devoted to preparing negotiation simulations and case studies than traditional seminars. Secondly, the grant has enhanced the Advanced Programme and Intensive Programme implementation at RGSL with participants from the Eastern Neighbourhood countries, Central Asia and Western Balkans. Thus, the EU funding through EU@RGSL has promoted the visibility of the EU among the partner countries outside the EU. In her capacity as Jean Monnet Chair, Professor Ruse has received outstanding feedback.
By developing new teaching methods in EU studies and course materials for online teaching, the Jean Monnet Chair holder has ensured the outreach to the competent bodies in Latvia - government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commission Representation in Latvia, civil society and NGOs. Part of the dissemination activities was realised in Summer School, where Jean Monnet, chair, gave lectures in Latvian to a broad audience of judges, prosecutors, public administration officials and local legal industry representatives. These activities fostered dialogue between academia and the public sector/civil society.
All the recorded lectures are available at Riga Graduate School of Law Youtube channel for everyone to see.
Look for the full playlist here:
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