About IEAS Thematic Research Projects
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  • Publish Date:2015/08/21
    Modify Date:2024/06/19

European Union

Project Coordinator: Yung-Djong Shaw
Research Members: Yung-Djong Shaw, Der-Chin Horng, Chien-Yi Lu, Chih-hsing Ho, James Lee, Cing-Kae Chiao, Hung-Dah Su

1.      History and Major Objectives

Ever since the end of World War II, the European integration movement has been pushed forward and has continued to deepen and expand, rendering the European Union to evolve from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952 to the European Economic Community (EEC), expanding from the six founding member states to the current 27, and securing the EU’s increasingly important role in international relations. After our institute was renamed from the Institute of American Culture to the Institute of European and American Studies (IEAS) in August 1991, we have been actively recruiting outstanding talents in order to further develop the European Studies component of our research. In June 1998, the IEAS established the European Union Thematic Research Project, principally focusing its research on political, legal, social, and economic developments of the EU. Yann-Huei Song served as the project’s first coordinator, followed by K. C. Wang, David W. F. Huang, Der-Chin Horng, Y. Y. Wang, and Hung-Dah Su. Other successive coordinators are Der-Chin Horng (July 2011 – June 2013), Chien-Huei Wu (July 2013 – June 2015), Chien-Yi Lu (July 2015 – June 2017), Chih-hsing Ho (July 2017 – December 2020), and Yung-Djong Shaw (January 2021 – present).


2.      Research Highlights

After many years of hard work, this project has gradually shifted its research focus to the following five topics: (1) EU integration theory and constitutionalism, and constitutional issues on EU treaty; (2) EU foreign relations and Europe-Taiwan-China relations; (3) EU food safety, human rights, and trade policies; (4) EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and artificial intelligence (AI); and (5) EU climate change, energy security, European Green New Deal, sustainable development, COVID-19 pandemic, etc. In response to the aforementioned topics, this project holds one to two domestic academic conferences every year and one international academic conference every two to three years. Following each conference, the papers presented are either submitted to renowned domestic and international academic journals, or assembled and published as special issues or edited books after going through a stringent review procedure. This project has also actively engaged in international academic exchanges and collaborative activities by representing the IEAS as an official member in the following global EU research organizations: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) in the United States, and University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), and European Political Science Network (EpsNet) in Europe.

In addition to actively participating in international academic conferences organized by the aforementioned organizations, members of this project frequently invite many notable international scholars such as Pascal Vennesson (currently teaching at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) from the European University Institute, Clara Portella from the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), and Wolfgang Pape, a former official of the European Commission for short visits and lectures at the IEAS. Furthermore, this project encourages its members to travel to the following universities in Europe and the United States, and international research institutions for short visits: European University, University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (University of London), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV, UC Berkeley, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, the Catholic University of Leuven, University of Geneva, Aix-Marseille University, University of Innsbruck, Austria, European Union Studies Association of the United States, Institute of European Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the European Commission, the European Parliament, European Central Bank, etc.

Thus far, this project has published a series of books on EU Studies such as EC Integration and EC-ROC Relations (1995), European Union: Theory and Policy (1998), European Union's Economic and Trade Policies (2000), The European Union Human Rights (2006), The EU Constitution (2007), The EU Human Rights Policies (2009), and Biotechnology Policy in the EU and the USA (2011). These books have made significant contributions to domestic EU research, and provided socially beneficial reference for Taiwan’s government and academia on how to interact with the EU. Notably, members of this project have so far published more than 20 articles in foreign languages in prominent international academic journals such as European Law Journal, European Foreign Affairs Review, Journal of European Integration, Journal of World Trade, World Competition, European Yearbook of International Economic Law, Asian Journal of WTO and International Health Law and Policy, Asia Europe Journal, Revue d’Histoire Diplômatique, Journal of European Integration History, International Sociology, and Advances in Applied Sociology, many of which are for the first time, publications by Asian scholars. Specifically, this demonstrates that the quality of Taiwan's EU research has reached international standards and has assumed a leading position in Asia. 


3.      Future Research Directions

Drawing on previous medium to long-term research directions and past hands-on experience, and allowing participation of project members who are specializing in sociology, aside from continuing its research on EU integration theory, this project will promote interdisciplinary EU research by focusing on topics such as EU constitutional development, EU human rights protection, EU foreign relations, EU-Taiwan and EU-China bilateral relations, as well as the process of Europeanization and the social aspects of European integration. The overviews of future research directions are as follows:

First, regarding EU food safety, this project will conduct comparative studies on European and American food regulations, policies, and practices to provide correlation and reference for Taiwan’s food safety legislation and policies, and to help Taiwan conform with EU and international rules by comprehending the changes in international food safety policies and mainstream trends.

Second, this project will implement research and analysis on topics related to EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, EU public health, crisis management of plagues, including legal analysis and system design suggestions for pandemic emergency management.

Third, in response to emerging European subject matters such as EU artificial intelligence and EU COVID-19 policies that the people of Taiwan are particularly concerned about, this project will provide implications for Taiwan government when making decisions on similar policies. Regarding the issue of EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this project will focus on the legal basis for the secondary use of health data under the GDPR and the exploration of scientific exemption under the EU GDPR, assist Taiwan’s current program on building a big data integration platform on health and develop a plan for precision medicine, and provide the government substantial consultation and advice on important issues such as database integration, exercise of consent and opt out, de-identification, data access, commercial access, and privacy impact assessment. Wherefore, the research effort of this project will bring forth the incorporation of academic theories and practical applications.

Fourth, this project aims to discuss the legal issues and constitutional challenges caused by Brexit. Brexit is a mainstream topic with immense legal complexity, political sensitivity, and constitutional significance, which deserves much research attention. What indications and enlightenments can Brexit offer for Taiwan’s participation in regional economic and trade integration? What are the impacts and challenges on Taiwan's economic and trade relations with the UK and the EU? How can Taiwan respond by developing closer cooperative relations, or promoting investments or trade agreement negotiations with the UK and the EU? All of these have profound meaning that could influence academic theories and practical applications, and therefore, are worth studying. Moreover, this project will also examine the theoretical implications of Brexit on the basic constitutional structure of the EU.

Fifth, given the extreme conditions of global warming in recent years, climate change is growing worse on a daily basis. Natural disasters, animal extinctions, and climate refugees have all contributed to making climate change the major crisis of this century. Furthermore, global warming has led to the deterioration of the global living environment. Refugees are migrating everywhere and all directions, which not only affects the evacuated areas, but also the places where the refugees are moving to. Coupled with the end of the Cold War, neoliberalism expanded rapidly and has established its global ideological dominance. Granted that the melting of the Arctic Ocean before 2030 seems to be a foregone conclusion, this project intends to find the connection between climate emergency and aggressive expansion of neoliberalism to determine whether it is an important factor in ending catastrophes in human history, analyze whether Taiwan is playing the role of the victim or perpetrator in the entanglement of climate change and neoliberalism, and explore the possible ways to awaken Taiwan society’s awareness on neoliberalism and climate change.

In order to establish an interactive EU research network, this project will focus on the aforementioned five research directions by holding academic conferences, gathering domestic and foreign EU-related research scholars for discussions, and inviting relevant EU scholars and experts within the industry, government, and academia to our Institute for research, lectures, and short visits. Consequently, this project’s research accomplishments can play a pivotal part in promoting international academic exchanges and collaborations, improving Taiwan's EU research standards, and making contributions to the international EU academic community.