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The Standing Group on International Relations does not have a constitution or a set of statutes. It is governed by the ECPR's general rules on standing groups and by its own decisions on matters of principle, taken at irregular intervals during the SGIR's history since 1990.

The SGIR was originally a self-selected group. Its membership has been rather stable since the beginning in 1990. While stability has its benefits, the need to ensure membership turnover and accountability led, after 5 years, to a new policy. In May 1995 the SGIR decided that from then on a business meeting open to all was to be held at each Pan-European conference to elect 24 members of a Steering Committee, which would then be charged with running the affairs of the Standing Group for three years. Membership renewal would be assured by the rule that 6 members should retire their positions every three years. The system was practiced at Paris in 1995 and again at Vienna in 1998, where the first retirement of original members took place. On both occasions an uncontested slate of names was adopted by acclamation, the last time after being amended by nominations from the floor.

Recently the SC has reviewed the system and found it to be an unsatisfactory (Oslo meeting May 5, 2001), partly due to the absence of membership, partly due to the large variations in activity levels in IR communities around Europe, and partly due the element of chance consequently involved in the nomination process, not least in accepting nominations from the floor. The obligations of SC members are such that a more carefully considered process of nominations was req0uired.

Taking this into consideration, the SC concluded at its Oslo meeting in May 2001 that the Standing Group should seek to represent the European IR community in a broad sense, rather than to claim to represent IR colleagues in specific European states. The SC should naturally endeavor to let its work reflect the interests and intellectual trends of all parts of Europe, but it cannot be an assembly of national representatives.

In order to increase participation in the nominating process, the SC decided at Oslo to discard the old system and introduce instead a web-based nominations procedure open to all, from which the Steering Committee then makes the final selection. This came into effect in time for the selection of members at the Business Meeting held at the Pan European Conference in Canterbury, September 2001.

The conditions of SC membership are as follows:

  • to take an active role in the Standing Group's activities;
  • to contribute significantly to the building of networks between scholars in International Relations at universities and research institutes in Europe;
  • to participate in the Steering Committee's two meetings each year, in support of which they should provide a letter from their institutions (departments) granting them such funding as may be needed for the corresponding travel expenses;
  • in the case of younger members, a letter granting support for travel to at least one meeting per year.

(Adopted at the SC meeting in Oslo, May 5, 2001)