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European Centre @ POLIS

Department of Politics and International Studies

You are warmly invited to the next European Seminar, which will be held in Room S2 in the Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, at 5pm on Thursday 1st November. Dr Tomáš Weiss (Charles University Prague) will speak on ‘Facing the Pressures of Internationalisation and Securitisation: National Governments as the Weaker Actors?’

The security policy of many countries is formulated at two parallel levels today – domestically and internationally. This is most visible in Europe where two organizations ensure their member states’ security, NATO and the European Union. According to classical accounts, such two-level games increase the power of national governments that act on both levels and can use arguments from one environment to gain concessions in the other. When facing security challenges, however, the pressures from domestic constituencies demanding protection from threats singled out in national securitization processes give very little room for manoeuvre. At the same time, the international institutions, which are indispensable for European countries’ security and decide by unanimity, do not and cannot prioritize all threats securitized in their member states equally. As a result, some governments face a mismatch between their international commitments and domestic expectations. Their presence at both levels of the two-level game turns them into a disadvantaged actor.

The talk will overview the relationship between the national governments’ behaviour in domestic and international negotiations as captured in the existing literature, formulate hypotheses about which governments are likely to become the disadvantaged actors, and theorize modes of behaviour that allow them to cope with the situation.

Dr Weiss is Head of the Department of European Studies and Associate Professor at Charles University Prague.  He is spending the academic year 2018-19 as a visiting researcher in the POLIS Department at Cambridge.