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European Centre @ POLIS

Department of Politics and International Studies

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Welcome to the European Centre @ POLIS

The European Centre @POLIS aims at bringing together multi-disciplinary expertise on European affairs in Cambridge, including history, law and economics in addition to politics and security studies, and form the focus for research projects, speaker meetings and networks of scholars. This website lists current events in the area of European Studies within the University of Cambridge. It will also provide a single point of access to teaching, research and documentary resources relating to the study of Europe.

Democracy and the illusion of sovereignty

In an article recently published in Demos Quarterly, Dr Julie Smith, Director of the European Centre at Cambridge, argues that 'As members of the EU we have leverage; outside we would merely have a warm glow of symbolic sovereignty'. In arguing why the UK should stay in the EU, Dr Smith highlights that 'The doctrine of the supremacy of EC law had been established before the UK joined but it only applies in areas where states have given powers to the EU – it’s not something taken gratuitously by faceless bureaucrats as those who wish to leave would have us believe. It is certainly true that more powers have been granted to the EU over the years, but they have been granted by each and every member state, not imposed from outside'. The rest of the article is available at 'Read more'.

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Responding to British misperceptions about the EU institutions

Dr Julie Smith, the Director of the European Centre (also known as Baroness Smith of Newnham), spoke for the Federal Trust on British misperceptions about the EU institutions. For a lucid assessment on the degree of democratization of the EU institutions and an overview of the relation between Britain and the European institutions, please access 'Read more'.

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Get involved with the European Centre @ POLIS!

Attend our events: we are running several events on European Affairs every term with invited speakers from both the academic (the European Research Seminar) and professional worlds (The European Professionals Series). If you want to attend our events please contact us at and we will add you to our emailing list. For the latest updates on our events, you can also check the 'Events' section on this website. Become a member of our alumni network: if you graduated from Cambridge and you have an academic or work connection to European Affairs, we can add you to our networking platform. Please email to make a request.

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Cambridge University European Society on Facebook

Check out the Cambridge University European Society Facebook page for the latest talks, discussions and other exciting events organised by CUES.

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The European Union as a Credible Global Actor: a workshop to discuss the forthcoming EU Global Strategy

On 4 and 5 April 2016, the European Centre at the Department of Politics and International Studies hosted a workshop on the forthcoming EU Global Strategy. Recent crises such as the mass movements of refugees from North Africa and the Middle East, the conflict in Ukraine and the advancement of ISIL have raised questions about whether the EU is capable of reacting effectively in a rapidly changing and complex world. Despite or because of these crises, the EU has decided to draw up a new EU Global Strategy (EUGS) for foreign security and policy to be prepared by the EU High Representative (HR) this year. The full workshop report is available at 'Read more'.

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Cambridge for Europe campaign

Jan 28, 2016

Cambridge for Europe is the local campaign to ensure that people in Cambridge and its wider region fully understand the arguments for continued membership of the European Union and how important the issue is to them as individuals, their families, and their communities. Although some of the campaign leaders are engaged with political parties, the campaign is not a party political body. The Director of the European Centre, Dr Julie Smith, is a patron of the initiative. For more details on the campaign and their activities visit:

Dr Julie Smith, the Director of the European Centre, speaks in the House of Lords on the budget deficit

Jun 05, 2015

On 4 June 2015, Dr Julie Smith, the Director of the European Centre (also known as Baroness Smith of Newnham) spoke in the House of Lords on the budget deficit. Baroness Smith stated that 'As a Liberal Democrat, I obviously welcome the fact that the deficit was halved as a percentage of GDP in the last Parliament, along with the commitment to getting rid of the deficit and beginning to reduce public debt.' However, she argued that the reduction needs to be done fairly: 'It is to be hoped that the Conservative Government will indeed reduce the deficit fairly, although, as the noble Lord, Lord Fowler, pointed out yesterday, to announce £12 billion of cuts without saying where they will fall is a perilous venture'. For the full speech please visit the link:

Dr Julie Smith, the Director of the European Centre, is introduced to the House of Lords

Oct 22, 2014

On Tuesday 21 October 2014 Baroness Smith of Newnham and Lord Cooper of Windrush were introduced to the House of Lords. We wish them every success as peers.

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