How Stable is Europe? An analysis of European Conflicts and Peace since 1991.

This is my initially submitted research proposal in early February 2022.

My research question aims to dissect the changing European political landscape since the end of the Cold War in 1991. Utilising various case studies, including NATO intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s, Russian expansionist aggression in the 2000s and present conflict within Ukraine, I will analyse how these events have impacted the stability of Europe.


The objective of my research is to further the academic understanding of the current equilibrium Europe finds itself standing in. To do this, I will question whether the increase in democracy in Europe since 1991 has led to a more stable political environment, weighing up authoritarian regimes' effects on democracy and the EU. Furthermore, my research will also question the role that domestic politics have played in the stability of Europe by looking at Brexit and the rise of populist leaders in the 2010s. I will investigate how the EU has been undermined from within and whether this has destabilised peace in Europe.


Furthermore, I will analyse peacekeeping's role in stabilising conflict zones, focusing on NATO interventions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UN mission in Georgia. By examining the interventions' role in ending the conflicts, I will question whether future peacekeeping missions are likely. Furthermore, by applying political theory, I will ask how authoritarian leaders such as Putin in Russia and Lukashenko in Belarus put pressure on institutions such as the EU to uphold regional stability, with their non-democratic nature potentially being the biggest threat to European peace since the end of the Cold War.


Utilising the risk, evidence and decision making research theme, my proposed research outcome contributes to the academic discussion on European peace. With increasing tension in Ukraine and economic turmoil pressuring domestic politics, any research that can aid in maintaining European stability is of great importance to academics and politicians.


I have selected this project because of my interest in European politics and international diplomacy. As I want to be in a leadership position in the UK, a comprehensive understanding of European relations will be very useful and will help me be a better leader. In the second year of the scholarship, I hope to add to my research by completing an infield application of my project. I hope to question academic and political leaders in Europe about what they see as the core problems facing the continent and what it will take to solve them.


I will ensure this project is successful by utilising my time management skills exemplified in my personal statement. I plan to layout a project structure within the first week of my research period, with clear content areas that easily signpost my research question's progress in the next five weeks. I will research using my access to academics at York and physical and online resources, with the second year infield application providing some primary sources to support my arguments.


Go to the profile of Lorenzo Donatelli
about 2 months ago

Hey Ben! Your research sounds amazing. I am looking forward to reading it. As I conducted a research about the EU as well last year, if interested, you can read more about it here . Happy to connect, ciao!

Go to the profile of Ben Clarke
24 days ago

Thanks for the comment! Your research looks very interesting, the integration of the EU is a topic which I'm going to be examining, thanks for the link!

Go to the profile of Anna Lysenko
about 1 month ago

Hi Ben! Your research sounds really interesting: being Ukrainian myself, I'm very much personally invested in the stability of Europe and the development of the war. I am just wondering: what are your initial thoughts headed into this project and how do you plan to account for any initial personal bias, or if you plan to account for it? 

Go to the profile of Ben Clarke
24 days ago

Hi Anna! The issue of bias is really important. How can we qualify what is 'authoritarian' and what its impact is vs personal influences? I plan to explore the levels of government interaction by applying empirical evidence to theory, principally looking at great powers theory and power politics. I hope this answers your question!