European Security Final
Michael Emerson (Centre for European Policy Studies - Brussels) and Jean Pascal Zanders (BioWeapons Prevention Project - Geneva) enlightened an interested audience on the security challenges of Europe's "near abroad". Dr. Emerson sketched a theoretical framework for conflict analysis and resolution, and scrutinized the EU's role in a number of conflicts, i.e. the Caucasus, Cyprus and Macedonia. He argued that the "framework"-function (the attraction of membership) of the EU is not enough as stabilizing force. Dr. Zanders added his personal views on the conflicts in the Middle East, warning the audience that religious aspects today are being used for political purposes.
Under the title "The EU within the transatlantic defence network", former NATO Secretary General and Minister of State Willy Claes, NATO's Deputy Assistant Secretary General for External Relations Dr. Jamie Shea and Prof. Dr. Dieter Mahncke of the College of Europe gave their views on the future of European defence in the transatlantic debate. Dr. Shea argued that the EU's future is within NATO, although the European countries need to enhance their capabilities. Mr. Claes had a rather pessimistic view when it came up to European defence and security policy. He feared that EU's upcoming enlargement is premature, given the current state of economical affairs of the new countries, and given the fact that the "old" EU countries are not ready for it. Dr. Mahncke commented on both speakers, and gave the audience a broader academic view on the subject.
Giving a number of examples from experience, Dr. Wim Van Eekelen, former Secretary General of the Western European Union, threw light on the positive attitude of the "new" EU countries in foreign and security policy. In his lecture "CFSP after enlargement: the contributions from new Member States", he revitalised two of his slogans: "security through participation" and "we have to do more for everybody, but not necessarily the same thing", by which he meant that it is important to keep old, new and future members around the table, even if this results in security policies (and not one single CFSP). A wider Europe indeed means a wider area of stability, and this is by far the best thing that could happen to Europe's security as a whole.The fact that a lot of the accession countries look towards NATO for their security rather than to the EU is not surprising: in contrast with the "old" EU countries, they still feel a security threat.
Following the Convention from very close by, Prof. Dr. Eric Philippart (UniversitÈ Libre de Bruxelles / College of Europe) is currently a member of the European Commission's Task Force "Future of Europe and Institutional Questions". He gave a very comprehensive overview of the proposed mechanisms for enhanced cooperation in CFSP in the draft constitution. Despite the number of proposed new instruments involved, Dr. Philippart warned of the possibility of moving "a step backward" in the security field if the security guarantees of the WEU would no longer be adhered to in one way or another.
Closing our lecture series on European Security, Spanish parliamentarian Rafael Estrella, former MEP and president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, gave an overview of changes to CFSP from the Laeken Declaration over Solana's strategy paper to the draft constitution. He stated that CFSP is a key element in the construction of a true European Union, yet the lack of ambition of the Union to become a main actor restricts its development. Although the Union is the World's biggest humanitarian aid donor, it has yet to create a coherent foreign policy and an efficient defence policy. His talk resulted in a lively debate with the audience.
The contributions from the different lecturers will be published in the IES publication series at VUBPress in the first half of 2004.
New Director for the Programme on International Legal Cooperation
Prof. Dr. Servatius Van Thiel has been elected by the teaching staff of the Programme on International Legal Cooperation as the new PILC director.
Prof. Van Thiel succeeds Prof. Dr. Bart De Schutter, who was PILC director for over 30 years (except for the four years of his rectorship when he was replaced "ad interim" by Prof. Dr. Jacques Van Damme & Prof. Dr. Frans De Pauw).
Prof. Van Thiel teaches "Cases on International Taxation" and "Globalisation, International Law and Sustainable Development" in the IES PILC programme.
In addition to his functions at IES-VUB, he is part-time professor of Law at the Erasmus University Amsterdam, head of the Tax Department at the Council of Ministers of the EU and Substitute Judge in the Regional Court of Appeal, Den Bosch, the Netherlands. Prof. Van Thiel is also Ad Hoc Consultant at the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
UNU Workshop on Regionalism and Globalisation in Climate Policy
On 25 September 2003, UNU-CRIS organised, in cooperation with a number of Italian associations and authorities, a workshop on "Regionalism and Globalisation in Climate Policy" in Montecatini, Tuscany. Prof. Marc Pallemaerts was invited to address the workshop on the theme "Bringing the Kyoto Protocol into Force: The Role of Russia".
By September 2003, the Kyoto Protocol had been ratified by the EU, Japan, Canada and some 85 developing countries. The US and Australia decided not to become parties to the Protocol but will remain committed to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed in 1992. Although many states have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the agreement has not yet entered into force as the countries signing have to be collectively responsible for at least 55% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). With the withdrawal of the US, Russia's ratification has become an absolute necessity for reaching this threshold. Officially the country is "preparing for ratification", but in reality it is still uncertain whether and when Russia will do so. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Russia would have to stabilise its GHG emissions at 1990 levels. Countries are free to choose which policy instruments they want to use to reduce emissions domestically. As such, the Protocol provides for the use of so-called "flexible mechanisms" allowing parties to acquire emission credits from other parties: emissions trading, joint implementation and the clean development mechanism.
Russia's stabilisation target (no increase of greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels) does not seem difficult to reach. According to official Russian projections, Russia's GHG emissions in 2010 are projected to be 11-25% lower than they were in 1990. This means that Russia is most likely to have a surplus of emission rights, which it could sell to other countries.
Russia sees itself as an important "environmental donor" to the world because of the country's large forest sinks (21 % of the world's total forest area and 73% of the world's boreal forests). According to its government the country has the "largest and most effective reservoir of CO2 sequestration from the atmosphere". In 1999, removal by sinks was equivalent to 11% of its total greenhouse gas emissions, a number which may increase in the period 2008-2012 if Russia applies approved forest management practices listed in the Marrakech Accords. This may even generate additional emission credits for transfer to other countries.
Prof. Pallemaerts analyzed the diverging interests and positions within Russia with respect to the question of ratification.
President Putin has made it clear that Russia will only ratify Kyoto when it's clearly in Russia's economic, political and environmental interest. With respect to the latter, there's some scepticism from Russian climate scientists about mainstream climate science. It has even been claimed by certain scientists that climate change could be good for Russia, since Russia is a cold country, a view that was echoed by Putin himself at the opening of a World Conference on Climate Change in Moscow a few days after the Montecatini workshop.
The economic benefits and costs of ratification remain disputed within Russia. In political terms some diplomatic benefits are to be anticipated if Russia were to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, in particular from the side of the EU and Japan. However, Russia's bilateral relationship with the US, a country which is clearly against the Kyoto Protocol, is important too. No final decision is to be expected before the presidential elections next March.
National environmental product regulation
In the morning, the members of the research team presented their main findings, discussing the substantive and procedural requirements imposed by both EU and WTO law on national authorities wishing to establish environmental regulations for products. On the whole, they concluded that, notwithstanding those requirements, opportunities for regulatory action at the national level remain. In the afternoon, the results of the research project formed the background for lectures by three external experts from the KU Leuven, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Boston College Law School on the latest developments in the Trade vs. Environment debate.
Researchers on the move
Katia Bodard presented papers at two conferences at the beginning of April in the UK and one in June in Poland:
The first presentation on meta tag litigation (Meta Tag Litigation in the United States and Continental Europe: An overview and some policy conclusions regarding access to Internet-based information) based on a co-authored position paper with Prof. Bruno De Vuyst was presented on 15 April 2003 during the BILETA conference (British & Irish Law, Educational & Technology Association 18th Annual Conference). The conference took place at the University of Greenwich and was hosted by the Institute of Computer & Communications Law of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary College, University of London.
A second presentation took place the following day in Nottingham at the annual SLSA Conference (Socio-Legal Studies Association). Katia presented a well received contribution on the conflict between free access to information and the use of filtering techniques. Subsequently, she was invited to contribute an elaboration of this presentation in a special edition of Information and Communication Technology Law.
This specific theme was also presented at the Conference on EC and EDI in Lodz (Poland) on June 16 and published in the Acta Universitatis Lodziensis.
IES Participates in Launch of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law in Shanghai
From 4‚7 November 2003, Prof. Marc Pallemaerts represented the IES and the VUB at a major international environmental law event organized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. Two meetings were held consecutively: a "Colloquium on Energy Law for Sustainable Development", followed by the formal inauguration of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law and the first meeting of its governing body.
In a message to the meeting, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan welcomed the establishment of "a new global network of university law departments" dedicated to environmental law, "the principles and rules that states have adopted in order to protect precious ecosystems and resources upon which all life and progress depend."
Among the issues explored and endorsed by the speakers were the following:
Collaboration with Belgrade
Following a visit to Belgrade by IES' President Bart De Schutter, the Institute for European Studies will start a closer collaboration with the city's second largest educational institution: the Braca Karic University. BKU expressed its desire to start an Institute for European Studies with close ties to Brussels in order to complete its social sciences programmes currently focussing on business, management, banking, and economics in general.
The agreement between IES and BKU, endorsed by the IES Board, stipulates logistical support by IES in organising conferences and setting up BKU's European Institute in general. The cooperation initiative fits within the framework of "Erasmus World", a programme under development by the Commission and the EP with the aim to fostering collaboration between EU and non-EU countries.
Closer UNU-CRIS Co-operation
"The EU and Regional Cooperation in Africa", another joint UNU-CRIS / IES project, is scheduled to start in the coming weeks.As the earlier selected South-African candidate declined the position, a new researcher is being sought to start this two-year project as soon as possible.
Prof. Dr. Stefaan Smis, promoter of the project, is positive that a suitable candidate will soon be found.
IES News in Brief
IES is a proposed subcontractor in REFGOV (Reflexive Governance in the Public Interest), an integrated project submitted to the EU's Research and Development Directorate (6th Framework Programme). REVGOV is coordinated by the Centre de Philosophie du Droit of the UniversitÈ Catholique de Louvain.
Between 24 and 27 September, Katia Bodard, Rhiannon Williams and StÈphanie Dodeller attended a conference on "Environmental regulation of production processes and products", hosted by the University of Salzburg. All presented their current research, respectively in the workshops on regulation of industrial production processes (Katia and Rhiannon) and on the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle (Stéphanie).
Katia Bodard is working together with Prof. Marc Pallemaerts on a non-IES related project concerning "The feasibility of an integrated product policy in Belgium". In this capacity she took part in the Summer Academy "From Government to Governance: the Case of Integrated Product Policy" (Würzburg, 7-11 September) where she co-presented a paper on product policy strategies in Belgium. Katia also presented a paper on regulatory environmental policies at the previously mentioned SLSA Conference in Nottingham, on 16 April 2003. Here, she emphasised the conflict between international trade law and environmental law and discussed in greater detail the working of the TBT Agreement (Technical Barriers to Trade).
Prof. Dr. Stefaan Smis, one of IES' project promotors, was invited during this fall to teach a course on "Regional Integration in Africa" at the university of Georgia (Athens, USA).
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