EINIRAS Founding Document
Towards the Creation of a European Information Network on International Relations and Area Studies - A Call for Support
Having analysed current developments on the European scene, in particular with regard to the need for information in foreign policy decision-making processes, and being concerned by the absence of a Europe-wide specialized information system, some 19 well-known European research institutes and three international organizations have decided to create a common European Information Network on International Relations and Area Studies. An additional consideration was that at this historical turning-point, both East and West European research institutes must achieve a comprehensive form of information dissemination in order to be truly efficient.
As a complement to the substantial efforts that they are willing to make themselves, participants in this project appeal to the relevant authorities in their respective countries, as well as to the European institutions and organizations concerned to support it, particularly in terms of finance, upon which the efficiency of the project will greatly depend.
Thus, with the required financial support, the participating institutes will be able to establish a large common European database on international relations, foreign policy and area studies. The result will be the creation of a network of information sharing without the establishment of a new international organization. Network activities will be made possible through the use of common technical facilities, terminological tools and access to information and material. Implementation should be widely achieved within a period of three-to-four years. The database will be of substantial benefit to a wide range of activities: research, work in national parliaments and ministries, work in European institutions and in international organizations, as well as work in higher education, the media, business and civilian groups.
For the immediate future, practical results of the new cooperation will include the provision of bibliographical data, improved availability of textual material, training and exchange of professional staff.
When operational, the database will offer highly comprehensive and topical information on international relations and area studies. Such a common database cannot be established by any single national European institute or even a smaller group of institutes in one country but must be produced in wider cooperation.
The database will contain references to all relevant textual material in the international field, national politics and specialized research, comprehensively analysed and retrievable in different ways and at different levels. Moreover, important and topical facts on international agreements, political events, political and academic institutions, and conferences can be offered in the form of an electronic handbook that will allow different types of access.
On the basis of the all-European cooperative project and the resulting common database, various information products could be offered by the member institutions or by the European Information Network, i.e. online access to the complete database, compilations for different purposes, weekly printed services with a broad scope of up-to-date information or background information on special issues, collections of selected material for conferences, political debates or analysis. In addition, the member institutions within the network will mutually benefit by providing each other with relevant information and material.
A databank on international relations and area studies, as envisaged, will not only improve the information situation of European political and academic institutions, but will also offer a chance to bring European views on international relations and political issues, expressed in different European languages, to the attention of the rest of the world.
The development of a European Information Network on International Relations and Area Studies cannot be fully financed from the budgets of the member institutions alone. Additional funding will be necessary for staff, technical facilities such as terminals and data communication, and regular working group meetings.
The preconditions for the co-production of such a database are numerous and complex and require an overall and step-by-step approach. A strategy paper on the aims, working methods, and structure of the new system, a detailed plan of subprojects, and financial estimates, will be submitted to interested authorities upon request.This memorandum was adopted by the European Working Group on Information and Documentation in International Relations and Area Studies in Ebenhausen (Germany) on 4 November 1992.