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Centre for Geopolitics

Providing historically-grounded approaches to enduring geopolitical problems.

Europe’s political structures are under growing stress and at risk of disintegration. The deepening crisis in the European Union, the weakening of NATO and a spate of challenges to the Council of Europe threaten the continent’s collective institutions.

Meanwhile, a swathe of multinational states, from the UK, Spain and Italy to the Balkans and former Soviet Union are fracturing as discontented national minorities press their demands for independence. The consequences for Europe are immense: if the current international order breaks down, so the framework which currently upholds trade, security and a liberal-based value system in Europe breaks down with it.

Yet, despite the vast implications, the reasons why the existing order is apparently coming apart remain unclear, potentially residing in the impacts of globalisation and technological change, Great Power competition, defective institutions, or an attachment among Europeans to national identity. Nor is it clear how this process of disintegration may develop and what eventually might replace the current order, if it breaks down.

In this context, the Centre for Geopolitics is launching an extended research project in Disintegration Studies which will examine the nature, causes and potential outcomes of the breakdown in Europe’s current political order. This will involve of a number of elements including events such as lectures, panel discussions and conferences; the launch of an academic module on disintegration in Europe; and a detailed research programme, focusing initially on the Balkans, the canary in the mine for wider problems in the European political system. In the process, CfG aims to promote an exchange of ideas on the issue of disintegration in contemporary Europe, that leads to a better understanding of the phenomenon and has a practical impact on government policy.

People specialising in this area 

 Tim Less