The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Evelina Hagberg receives CFE’s best thesis award 2022

Evelina in front of Lund University main building
Evelina Hagberg

Evelina Hagberg has received the Centre for European studies' best thesis award 2022, for her Master’s thesis “…Thanks, but I’ll bypass: How state gatekeeping impacts regional bypassing in the EU”.

The thesis analyses regional government mobilisation and participation in the EU. Evelina distinguishes between so called bypassing, when regions work directly to influence the EU level, as well as national governments attempts to control this, (so called gatekeeping). She asks how gatekeeping impacts bypassing, and sets out to study almost 300 regions in nineteen EU member states. The results show that gatekeeping both can constrain and incite bypassing. Evelina was awarded the prize “for a very ambitious study on why regions within the EU vary when it comes to influencing politics in Brussels without going the route via their capitals. The essay constitutes an important contribution both to the theoretical literature on the activism of regions within the EU and to the literature on the (eroded) state sovereignty.

We asked Evelina about her thesis writing process. She says she was inspired to write the thesis both because of her interest in integration theory, specifically multilevel governance vis-à-vis intergovernmentalism, but also from studying and working in Lund. She perceived Lund to be a city deeply engaged in EU issues and with a very active EU policy.

What Evelina enjoyed most about the thesis process was the writing itself. She describes it as first “holding all the pieces to the puzzle” and then “being able to just sit down and write out the story itself, from question to answer.” The most challenging thing about the process, Evelina thought, was getting the confidence concerning validity and reliability of the results. For a while she suspected that she had some data related problems stemming from the fact that she created original data for the dependent variable. She says that it took a lot of time and effort to figure out how to do the analysis and not get lost in minor details.

Evelina’s advice for future thesis writers is to simplify the research question. She elaborates by saying that “when you start researching a topic, you might be interested in elements A, B, C and D, and it might feel daunting to pick a specific relationship among these elements to study – because you want to write about all of them. However, it’s only once you specify that your question is, for example, ‘how does A lead to B’ that you will find where C and D fit into this story. Maybe C is an intervening force that obstructs A from leading to B, and maybe D is the real-world implication of B being obstructed from occurring. Simplifying your research question and focusing on one linear or exploratory question is not going to lead to these other elements being excluded, rather it is going to illuminate their place in the overarching story.”

Here you can read Evelina’s thesis. (PDF, 448 KB, new window)  

Today, Evelina works as a Desk Officer at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.