Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies

Research student insight

Magdalena Nasieniak


Magdalena Nasieniak

  • Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies
  • First supervisor: Dr Lisbeth Aggestam
  • Second supervisor: Dr David Galbreath

Magdalena is undertaking a PhD exploring the inter-institutional relations in European foreign policy, with particular focus on the institution of the rotating presidency of the European Union Council.

The rotating presidency of the European Union Council

The Lisbon Treaty introduced one of the most far reaching changes in the institutional architecture of EU’s foreign policy making; this has been particularly visible in the example of the rotating presidency.

In the pre-Lisbon period, the rotating presidency was held by Member States, rotating every six months. It was responsible for the overall management of the foreign affairs and external representation of the EU on the international stage.

This role has been now transferred to portfolios of newly created positions of the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Nevertheless, the position and role of the rotating presidency would only develop as a result of these institutional innovations being implemented in practice. Thus it was yet to be seen if the rotating presidency would vanish altogether or rather adapt the new system of European foreign policy making.

Developing her research project

Magdalena joined the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies in 2010 after obtaining a Master of Research degree from the University of Aberdeen. Her master’s thesis focused on Europeanisation of the Polish foreign policy and the impact that EU’s membership had on the substance and institutions involved in the Polish foreign policy making.

One of my main findings from my thesis was that Poland, after the initial period of adaptation, became very active in its attempts to influence foreign policy making at the European level. This further intensified as Poland was preparing for its first ever period in the chair of the rotating presidency.

Magdalena wanted to go further with her research and analyse the foreign policy making of Poland during its time in the office.

Once I started my research I decided that it would be much more interesting to undertake a comparison among subsequent Member States in the chair. I now focus on four Member States, Spain, Belgium, Hungary and Poland, which were the first one to hold the rotating presidency under the new provisions.

By looking at their performance Magdalena can assess how their performance and role conceptions of presidency holding influenced the overall emerging role of the rotating presidency.

Studying at the University of Bath

The staff in the Department, and in particular my supervisors, help create a very active and stimulating environment for us to grow, not only as researcher but also as teachers.

This year Magdalena has taught courses on European politics. She also worked at the Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels) and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (Poland) where she co-authored two policy papers.

My time spent in Brussels and Warsaw helped me gain a more policy-oriented research experience. It was also very rewarding to see your research having an impact on policy makers.

Looking ahead

Magdalena is hoping to complete her PhD thesis by the end of 2013.

My PhD experience has enabled me to further develop as an independent and critical researcher and I hope to continue my professional career in academia.

Further information

Find out more about Magdalena’s research:

Twitter: @magd_alena | email:

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