Research and applied methods

In 2016, ESTEP has been granted the status of a non-governmental research institute. ESTEP’s research activities target public policy process and institutional change management, quality of life of the society, development of new knowledge and research methods, and its application.

Here are our main research projects:

Client: The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, 2014, 2015, 2020

In the European Union and other countries of the world, and in recent years in Lithuania too, a lot of attention has been paid to the definition of the quality of life of the society and how to measure changes in the quality of life. At the time when the Eurostat quality of life model was created and the set of quality of life indicators was developed in the EU, the assessments were carried out in Lithuania, aiming to measure the impact of EU funds investments on the quality of life in the country, its municipalities and regions.

During the Assessment of the impact of EU structural assistance on quality of life, social exclusion and poverty reduction in Lithuania (2014), ESTEP experts have compiled a quality of life index to measure changes in the quality of life in the country and calculated the values of the index for 2007-2012. In June 2016, at the European Evaluators’ Conference, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy has awarded this evaluation as the most significant national impact assessment carried out in the field of Cohesion Policy.

When carrying on the Assessment of the impact of EU structural assistance on Lithuanian cities and towns (2015), ESTEP researchers have applied the state-level index of quality of life to measure changes in the quality of life at the municipal level.

In 2020, for the Ministry of Finance ESTEP is preparing a quality of life growth model, which will help to quantify and forecast the impact of the amount and structure of state revenue and expenditure according to the functional and economic classification on the main quality of life indicators in Lithuania. It is planned that the developed model will consist of two modelling tools: a macro-econometric model and a microsimulation model.

Client: The Research Council of Lithuania, 2013/03 – 2015/09

The aim of this research project was to examine, evaluate and explain the Europeanization of Lithuania: political, economic and institutional changes in the “new Europe” – the post-communist Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 – in the context of Europeanisation. Changes have been examined at the levels of public policy, politics and politics, distinguishing between (1) the quality of identity and democracy, and (2) institutional and public policy aspects. This systematic comparative study was relevant and new in both academic and applied terms as it was motivated by (1) the needs of the review of Lithuania’s public policy and institutional environment, including (2) the assessment of EU membership experience, as well as the approaching (3) Lithuania’s the EU Presidency in 2013, which was to provide an opportunity to reflect on and publicly assess the experience of EU membership and related change and (4) the transfer of experience in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe and (5) problems in the public sector crisis in southern Europe, especially in Greece.

The study assessed changes in Lithuania after the EU membership, identified the nature of political, economic and institutional changes, as well as explained the ongoing changes and their nature with international EU and other international actors (NATO) and internal factors, applying the main concepts of Europeanization mechanisms: degree of compliance, reallocation of resources, socialization, regulatory competition and institutional adjustment. In order to provide context and a comparative perspective, the nature of Europeanization was reviewed not only in the CEE but also in the EU’s neighbourhood of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

During the project, a model was formulated and empirically verified to allow a comprehensive assessment and explanation of the processes of change, and an analysis of Europeanization processes was performed. During the project, a monograph “Lithuania in the EU: Transformation or Imitation?” was published on the basis of articles prepared by researchers.

Client: European Commission, 2016/05 – 2019/04

The main goal of this international research was to study the relationship between the European Union and the countries in the European Eastern Neighborhood, to investigate under what conditions the EU’s strategies and instruments for its Eastern neighbours can be more effective. The main ambition of EU-STRAT was to provide an inside-out analysis and strategic assessment of the links between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.

EU-STRAT addressed two main questions. First, why has the EU fallen short of creating peace, prosperity and stability in its Eastern neighbourhood? And second, what can be done to strengthen the EU’s transformative power in supporting political and economic change in the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries?

Adopting an inside-out perspective on the challenges of transformation the EaP countries and the EU face, EU-STRAT:

• Developed a conceptual framework for the varieties of social orders in EaP countries to explain the propensity of domestic actors to engage in change;

• Investigated how bilateral, regional and global interdependencies shape the scope of action and the preferences of domestic actors in the EaP countries;

• De-centred the EU by studying the role of selected member states and other external actors active in the region;

• Evaluated the effectiveness of the Association Agreements and alternative EU instruments, including scientific cooperation, in supporting change in the EaP countries;

• Analysed normative discourses used by the EU and Russia to enhance their influence over the shared neighbourhood;

• Formulated policy recommendations to strengthen the EU’s capacity to support change in the EaP countries by advancing different scenarios for developmental pathways.

The project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, was implemented by ESTEP together with 10 partners – European academic and research institutions, including the Free University of Berlin, Leiden University, University of Birmingham, Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science, as well as Ukraine, Moldovan and Belarusian institutes and non-governmental organizations working in the field of European integration. The project was coordinated by the Free University of Berlin. More about the project –