Recently conducted events

19 Jun 2017 - 17:30

Since his arrival in the White House, President Donald Trump has sent contradictory messages on foreign policy. From his transactional and sometimes combative approach with close allies, to his unconventional fixation with certain kinds of terrorism, to his ambiguous attitude towards Russia and China, Trump’s young presidency has roiled close observers of American foreign and defense policies.

Is Trump spontaneously unpredictable or calculatedly so? Is there still a place for sound strategic analysis and – if there is – is there anyone listening in this administration? How will Trump shape U.S. counter-terrorism, great power competition, alliances, and international trade?

Policy Forum
31 May 2017 - 16:00

The policy forum debates whether and if yes, how the EU may tackle the gap and achieve its migration policy objectives without building walls. The EU is primarily interested in the prevention of irregular migration and the safe and orderly management of entry of tourists, migrants, and asylum seekers. The panelists will debate the effectiveness of these border functions in the light of reforms of EU border and asylum policy, i.a. the establishment of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) as well as the Commission’s proposal on an Entry-Exit system. The key challenge for the EU external border will be the question whether these and other instruments will be sufficient to control migration while respecting human rights and avoiding the construction of new border walls in Europe.

24 May 2017 - 16:00

IES Senior Researcher Prof. Luk Van Langenhove organises a series of six guest lectures on ‘New Approaches to Diplomacy’ in the context of his VUB course ‘Current Case Studies: Global and Regional Governance’. The guest lecturers will be practioners and academics who will discuss non-traditional forms of diplomacy such as economic and cultural diplomacy. Lectures take place on Wednesdays from 16:00 – 18:00 and is open to the public. The first lecture is scheduled for 19 April.

22 May 2017 - 09:00

We would like to invite you to the first IES-IEE conference entitled 'Controversial Approaches towards European Solidarity - from Burden Sharing to Integration', which will take place on 22 - 23 May 2017 at the Institute for European Studies (IEE-ULB) in Brussels.

10 May 2017 - 18:00

The Institute for European Studies invites you to the launch of the new book of Stavros Papagianneas 'Rebranding Europe Fundamentals for Leadership Communication'.

Rebranding Europe explores why EU communication fails and how to make it succeed. It examine the future of communication in Europe as the author envisions it, full of complex issues involving: the creation of a European public sphere, the European identity crisis,  multilingualism, the lessons learned from the campaigns from the British referendum on EU membership,  challenging myths and populism, communicating Europe, reputation strategy, grassroots communication, nation branding and supporting quality journalism. It provides recommendations and describes what can be done to show in a simple and clear way to the citizens what is the added value of the EU for their daily lives and how to rebrand Europe.

24 Apr 2017 - 18:00

Join us for an evening guest lecture, presented by Robert Falkner, Professor in International Relations at the London School of Economics, on Monday 24 April 2017.

The lecture will review the unilateralist turn in America’s climate policy under Trump and reflect on its likely impact on the Paris Agreement. Professor Falkner will examine how robust the climate regime is to such political shocks and whether subnational climate efforts in the US can temper the Trump effect.


24 Apr 2017 - 18:30

On Monday 24 April at 6:30PM, VUB’s and ULB’s respective institutes for European Studies (IES and IEE) are co-organising a highly topical debate: in the context of recent political pressure by the government of Hungary against the Central European University (CEU) located in that country, we hold a panel discussion with CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff on the topic of Academic Freedom & Democracy. Join us for this essential debate about the alarming signals threatening civil and intellectual freedoms at the heart of the EU!


Policy Forum
12 Apr 2017 - 16:00

The panel focuses on the discussion of the new book by Natascha Zaun (University of Oxford) that analyses the last 15 years of negotiations establishing a Common European Asylum System in the European Union. It sheds light on why cooperation has led to reinforced refugee protection on paper but has failed to provide it in practice. Zaun demonstrates that the strong regulators of North-Western Europe have used their powerful bargaining positions to shape EU asylum policies decisively, which has allowed them to impose their will on Member States in South-Eastern Europe. These latter countries, having barely made a mark on EU policies, are now facing significant difficulties in implementing them

Policy Forum
22 Mar 2017 - 13:00

In June 2016, the European Commission launched its Integration Action Plan. This Plan provides a comprehensive framework to support Member States' efforts in developing and strengthening their integration policies, and describes the concrete measures the Commission will implement in this regard. While it targets all third country nationals in the EU, it contains actions to address the specific challenges faced by refugees. The Plan includes actions across all the policy areas that are crucial for integration like pre-departure measures, measures concerning education, employment, access to basic services and broader social inclusion. How do the different Member States, regional and Local authorities implement this EU Action Plan? On which policy priorities determined by the EU Commission they focus on, and on which not and why? How do Member States strengthen internal coordination between the different actors at the national, regional and local level? And what can Member States, Regions and Local Authorities recommend to the Commission as next essential steps to be taken in the follow-up of the action Plan? These and many other questions will be addressed in this policy forum.

22 Mar 2017 - 17:30

On 25 March 1957, a group of European statesmen gathered in the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitoline Hill for a pivotal moment in modern European history. Building on the Spaak report and the 1956 intergovernmental conference on the common market at Val Duchesse, they agreed to take a major leap forward in expanding economic cooperation from coal and steel into the establishment of the European Economic community, setting the stage for the development of what we now know as the European Union. Sixty years later, and worn out by successive crises in the Union’s monetary, migratory and foreign policies, a new generation of leaders ponder what the future may hold in store for European integration. At the occasion of the Rome Treaty’s sixtieth anniversary, Professor Loukas Tsoukalis will address the most urgent question in European politics today: can the European project be relaunched?

PhD Defence
22 Mar 2017 - 19:00

The Institute for European Studies and the Politics Department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel cordially invite you to the public PhD defence of Tran Van Thuy on "Freedom of Navigation in the exclusive economic zone. The EU approach with respect to ship-source pollution".

Policy Forum
21 Mar 2017 - 13:00

The rapidly expanding aviation sector still relies exclusively on heavily polluting fossil-based liquid fuels. Alongside measures such as carbon offsetting, increased aircraft efficiency and improved air traffic management, sustainable advanced alternative fuels have been put forward as a potential solution to the resulting emissions. Yet, the dubious sustainability of certain renewable fuels as an alternate energy source for transport has become a controversial issue in the European Union over the past years. This has led policy-makers to introduce reforms geared towards increased production of new and advanced types of sustainable fuels. Evidence of this can be found in the European Commission’s recent so-called Winter Energy Package where it proposes a recast of the EU’s main energy-related legislation.

PhD Defence
16 Dec 2016 - 16:00

The public defence of the PhD in Political Science by Esther Marijnen will take place on 16 December 2016 at 3.00 pm at the Institute for European Studies, Pleinlaan 5, 1050 Brussels, room Rome/Lisbon. The title of Esther's PhD thesis is "Beyond Rebels and Gorillas: The Multi-Scalar Politics of Conservation and Conflict in the Virunga National Park, DR Congo". Her promoter is Prof. Dr. Patrick Stouthuysen. The doctoral committee consists as well of Prof. Dr. Koen Vlassenroot (UGent) and Prof. Dr. Alexander Mattelaer.

Register here >>>

Policy Forum
14 Dec 2016 - 19:00

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) rights have acquired symbolic value in EU politics and discourse, both in its internal and in its foreign policies. Yet such symbolic politics stands in sharp contrast with the limited amount of actual EU powers and legislation in the field. The aim of the book, which will be presented and discussed at this policy forum, is to answer the question of what the impact of EU enlargement has been on gay politics in Central and Eastern Europe. Has accession changed gay politics in Central and Eastern Europe? Can pre-accession talks already alter LGBT rights? Did the EU’s anti-discrimination legislation and policies provide opportunities for LGBT movements? Or, on the contrary, did the EU focus on LGBT rights concritize and politicize homophobic attitudes and provide leverage to nationalist politicians? These and many more exciting questions will be addressed on 14 December, by the editors of the book and their critics. The policy forum (open to all) also constitutes the closing lecture of the ‘Diversity Politics in the European Union’ course in the Master Programme in European Integration of the Institute for European Studies at VUB.