Research & Studies

György Schöpflin, historian, political scientist, former MEP passed away

György Schöpflin György, historian, political scientist, university professor, former MEP, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg (iASK), died at the age of 82.

Since 2016, György Schöpflin has chaired the Advisory Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies. He was a regular guest at international academic conferences organised by the ISES (Institute for Social Sciences and European Studies) Foundation in Kőszeg even before the Institute was established, and was an invited speaker at the Summer University organised by the Foundation in 1998. Over the next two decades, he was a regular speaker at the Summer University, the Winter School, the Institute’s “Future of Europe” lecture series and workshops. On the occasion of his eightieth birthday, iASK published a felicitation volume “Navigating Troubled Waters” as a tribute to his life’s work. The online book launch in English took place in January this year and included a roundtable discussion entitled “Government and Governance: history, politics and theory”, organised by the Institute of Advanced Studies and the National University of Public Service. The Institute of Advanced Studies always had a special place in his heart, and he always considered it important to support it to the end of his life: the conference “Quantum Mechanics and the Meaning of Life”, which presented the results of the first five years of the Institute’s existence, was held on 4 October at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and we were able to hear his insightful reflections online.

György Schöpflin, PhD in Political Science, was born in Budapest in 1939. He lived in the United Kingdom from 1950 to 2004. He completed his MA (1960) and LLB (1962) at the University of Glasgow, and then at the College of Europe in Bruge (1962-1963). In London, he was a fellow at the Royal Institute of International Relations – Chatham House (1963-1967) and the BBC (1967-1976). He was then a Lecturer at the Institute of East European Studies, University of London (1976-2004), where he was Jean Monnet Professor and Director of the Centre for the Theories of Nationalism from 1998 to 2004. Until 2011 he taught at the Department of Political Science at the University of Bologna, Forli. Professor Schöpflin’s main research interests are political theory, including nationalism, nationality and the relations between national minorities, and post-communism. His main publications include Politics in Eastern Europe 1945-1992 (Blackwell, 1993), Nations, Identity, Power (Hurst, 2000), The Dilemmas of Identity (2004, also published in Hungarian as Az identitások dilemmája (Attraktor, 2004)) and co-editor of Myths and Nationhood (Hurst, 1997, Geoffrey Hosking) and State Building in the Balkans: Dilemmas on the Eve of the 21st Century (Longo, 1998, Stefano Bianchini). His last book, The European Polis, was published in the summer of this year by Ludovika University Press.

Since 2004, he was re-elected in 2009 and 2014, and was a member of the European Parliament in the FIDESZ-MPSZ Group of the European People’s Party. He was the EPP coordinator for the European Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs, a member of the Committee on International Development, an alternate member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Defence and Security; he was also a member of the EP Delegation for Central Asia and an alternate member of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee. He died at the end of November 2021 after a serious illness.