News from the IES

A consensus is emerging in the transatlantic community that the Kremlin’s manipulation of information constitutes a real threat to EU security. Across Europe, far-right, populist and Euro-skeptic political parties are embracing Russia’s information campaigns. In the European Parliament, Marine Le Pen’s Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) is the main proponent of pro-Kremlin narratives. The foreign policy platform of the Front National in France contains explicit references to a strategic alliance with the Kremlin and a pan-European Union that includes Russia. Following Brexit, Marine Le Pen is describing the UK vote as a peoples’ rebellion that has signaled the beginning of the end for the EU, much like the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the collapse of the Soviet Union. Conceivably, in the aftermath of Brexit the absence of British Eurosceptic MEPs from the European Parliament may lead to the consolidation of the radical far-right under the banner of the Front National. In turn, this means that the EU may have a rather difficult time gathering the necessary support to confront Russian assertiveness in the Eastern Neighbourhood.

From 25 to 30 July, Simon Fraser University hosted the Global Model NATO Summit, a global engagement initiative allowing student participants to simulate NATO's practice of consensus decision-making. Students from across the world took part in daily educational seminars and used their newfound knowledge to debate and learn in NATO simulations. IES research professors Luis Simon and Alexander Mattelaer were invited as guest speakers in two of these seminars.

During the spring semester of 2016 Assistant Director Alexander Mattelaer went on academic leave from the IES to join Harvard University and the National Defense University as a visiting fellow. Having been selected for a prestigious Fulbright Schuman scholarship, Alexander put this short sabbatical to good use to complete a research project on transatlantic relations and defence planning. At Harvard University, he joined the program on transatlantic relations at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, whereas in Washington DC he was affiliated to the Institute for National Strategic Studies of the National Defense University.

On 24 June, Marie spoke at the The Geneva Internet L@w Research Colloquium, organized by the School of Law of the University of Geneva in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the CRIDES Center for Economic Law and Society at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL), the Digital Asia Hub, the Geneva Internet Platform and the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio.

The Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA) together with the Europa Institute at Leiden University organised the 11th annual conference and the workshop on “The Role(s) of Innovation in Competition Analysis”. The event was held at Leiden Law School in The Netherlands from 30 June to 2 July.

On 23 June, Klaudia spoke during the symposium “Online platforms, Big Data and privacy: What role for competition policy?”. The event was organised by the Centre for Studies on Media Information and Telecommunication (SMIT) and the Brussels Centre for Competition Policy (BCCP) at the VUB. 

On Tuesday 19 July 2016, IES doctoral researcher Ferran Davesa  lectured on “(Mis)communication (Mis)communication between Europe and its citizens?” at VUB’s Summer School “Clash! Brussels between the IN and the OUT situation in Belgium and Europe”. The session was aimed at analyzing the main causes of political disaffection in the EU and the potential benefits of participatory governance. Students from a large array of countries attended the lecture, which was complemented with a visit of the International Press Association & Spokesperson's Service of the European Commission -- Find the slides of the lecture here.

September 2016 marks the arrival of Prof Dr. Christian Kaunert as the new IES Academic Director and Professor of European Politics. Prof Kaunert was previously Professor of International Politics, as well as Director of the European Institute for Security and Justice at the University of Dundee, which, like the IES, is a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.

The EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy is quite candid about the challenges facing European defence and it understandably calls for defence cooperation to become the norm rather than the exception. The new strategy provides Europe with a realistic analysis of the present challenges and it lays the foundations for further action on security and defence. Far from calling for a panoply of new initiatives, the EUGS prudently makes the case for a calculated and proactive consolidation of existing EU policies and instruments. While it may seem frivolous to some to talk about the streamlining of institutions and existing policies at the present time, Daniel Fiott argues in his latest EUISS policy alert that the EU can ill-afford not to further rationalise its defence policy. 

As part of a project on innovating teaching and learning of European studies (INOTLES) that the IES is currently running our Institute delivered an inter-university course between September 2015 and March 2016 that involved 9 universities (through blended learning, meaning 3 online courses and a final colloquium in Brussels). On 16 June an IES delegation consisting of Silviu Piros, Alexandra Mihai, and Anthony Antoine attended the final conference of the project in Kiev, where they presented a short clip gathering impressions from both professors and students during the Brussels event in March. You can find out more about it and watch the clip online here.