The Center for European Neighborhood Studies (CENS) is an independent research center of the Central European University (CEU) located in Budapest, Hungary. Its main goal is to contribute to an informed international dialogue about the future of the European Union in the world, while capitalizing on its Central European perspective and regional embeddedness.
The strategic focus of the center is academic and policy-oriented research on the place and role of the European Union in its rapidly changing and increasingly volatile neighborhood. Through its research, CENS seeks to contribute to the understanding of the environment where the EU, its member states and partners need to (co)operate, and it aims at supporting the constructive development of these relations by providing opportunities for discussion and exchange. The center’s geographic focus areas are Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Russia.
The activities of CENS include:
- Research: As CENS functions at the crossroads of academia and the world of policy-making, its research activities are fundamentally twofold. Through its academic work, the center contributes to research in the field of external relations and public affairs of the European Union, while its policy-oriented activities on pertinent topics of European and regional agenda make CENS a stable actor on the regional think-tank scene.
- Publications: The findings of academic and policy research are made available through a variety of publications ranging from books to papers and more narrowly targeted policy briefs.
- Conferences and discussions: Through organizing conferences and public discussions, CENS provides a platform for dialogue among academics, analysts and decision-makers in the EU and national governments so that a more informed and inclusive understanding about the factors influencing the future of Europe could emerge. At the same time, these events serve to popularize and increase awareness about European affairs and foreign policy among the wider public as well.
- Educational activities: A specific branch of CENS’s activities targets the international student body of the Central European University, as well as students of other high education institutions in the region. Educational activities, including projects, workshops and internships, provide the opportunity for students to develop their research and analytical skills and enlarge their professional network in an international environment.
The Center for European Neighborhood Studies was founded in 2005 by Professor Péter Balázs, former European Commissioner, as an institution of advanced research into the EU enlargement process. Since its foundation, the center has been engaged in the study of what makes EU enlargement work by exploring the results, lessons and consequences of previous EU enlargements, and it has sought to share this experience with current and potential candidate countries. It has contributed to the debate on the future of the European Union by analyzing the potential implications of new enlargement rounds as well as domestic, security and foreign policy developments in the neighboring regions.