BASEES President's Statement on the Referendum on Membership of the Union

BASEES and the Referendum on Membership of the European Union

The British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies is a professional association of scholars from Universities and other places of higher learning dedicated to furthering knowledge of the countries and regions of Eastern Europe, the Russian Federation and other states of the former Soviet Union.  The Association is deeply worried about the prospect of United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and unreservedly concurs with the view of the majority of University Vice-Chancellors that withdrawal from the European Union would do irrevocable harm to academic research.  A vote to leave Europe would restrict the access of British scholars to European funding opportunities, make cross-border collaborations within Europe more difficult, endanger the recruitment and the retention of top academic talent in our field, and discourage applications for post graduate degrees from European students with knowledge of Slavonic and East European languages.  

Throughout the period of the Cold War BASEES took an active part in debate about economic, political and geopolitical developments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.  It has continued to contribute to East-West debate in the years since 1989-1991 and the input individual members has been influential in policy-making.  The United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union has enhanced BASEES’s ability to fulfil its mission of fostering and strengthening a community of scholars with a unique combination of linguistic and analytical skills needed to give a full account, including to government, of the history, culture and social, economic and political development of the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  In recent years, BASEES has become the European hub for Slavonic and East European studies with its annual conference attracting participants from across the European Union, the countries of the former Soviet Union and beyond.  Were the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the Association would have difficulty maintaining this leadership position, which would have serious knock-on effects on its standing among the wider global community of scholars with an interest Russian, East European and Eurasian studies.  

It is in the interests of all BASEES members who are eligible to vote in the up-coming referendum to cast a vote in favour of remaining in the European Union. Please take the time to do so. 

Professor Judith Pallot

BASEES President