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Newsletter

Publication of the Institute for European Studies Volume 1, Issue 3, April 2003

Heavyweights in (studying) Globalisation

Lecturers on Globalisation
A packed Aula Qd witnessed Yale Professor Immanuel Wallerstein's (left on the picture) excellent lecture on "History Repeating?" on March 4. He stated that the fashionable discourse on globalisation is false: not only is it nothing "new" - globalisation started 500 years ago - it is also under jeopardy. The structural trends that will limit capitalist gain in the future (elevated real wages, increasing input costs, limiting resources) are introducing the end of capitalism, as we know it. In this respect, he quoted Schumpeter who predicted capitalism would fail due to its successes.

Respondent Prof. Gustaaf Geeraerts added that the players within our capitalist society are changing: there is indeed a growing tension between state actors and supraterritorial non-state-actors.

The lecture of Prof. Bruno De Vuyst (Vesalius College), on "The uneasy case for intellectual property rights: why capitalism only triumphs in the West", dealt with the conceptual problems of intellectual property rights in a time of economic globalisation. Rather than focussing on the clash between libertarian views and those fearing the impoverishment of creation and incentive, Prof. De Vuyst emphasised on the substantial extensions of intellectual property rights in the last decade. This restated the debate within the realm of property rights itself, and about the possible excesses of property rights and excessive rent seeking by their owners. With respondent Maarten Van Tuyl, he pointed out that it was particularly the discussion on intellectual capital that allowed to replace intellectual property in proper perspective.

Prof. Heikki Patomaki of Nottingham Trent University (UK) explained the problems surrounding implementing a universal currency transaction tax (or so-called Tobin Tax). He explained the background and potential advantages of this taxation in redistributing wealth worldwide. Tobin could stabilise financial markets, create funds for global common goods and gain democratic control over global financial markets. However, the problems surrounding the implementation stretch from changing attitudes of certain vetoing states (e.g. the US) to practical issues such as which organisation would survey the inning and policing of the tax?

Respondent Prof. Lieven Denys (VUB) put the Tobin tax into perspective: it is calculated that a tax leverage as low as 0,01% on financial transactions could raise an annual fund of 600 Billion Dollars (i.e. 6x the total amount of current development aid worldwide). He concluded that it "still is not forbidden to dream" - hopefully, the principles of a Tobin tax will be initially agreed upon in Europe so that other states may follow.

The IES lectures on Globalisation take place every Tuesday at 18:00 in D.201. For the full programme: see our calendar of activities at the end of this newsletter, or consult our website at http://www.ies.be.

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Vienna and Brussels launch joint EU-training programme and Summer School

Starting Spring 2004, the IES, the Universität Wien and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna will organize a joint training programme on the structures and decision-making process of the European union. The programme, geared towards students and professionals of the EU-candidate countries, will focus on the EU-decision-making process of the various EU bodies.

Logo University Vienna
The Vienna-Brussels axis is an ideal road for potential Central and East European students who wish to profound their knowledge on EU studies as a preparation for the EU concours or for working in an international environment dealing with EU matters. The programme, nevertheless, does not aim to drill applicants and prepare them technically for an EU exam. Contrarily, it wants to expand the knowledge base of students, albeit confronting them with the realities and shaping their functional skills needed in an international (read: EU) environment.

Two preparatory IES commissioned market studies preceded the decision to start a three-step project in conjunction with the DA and UW. The three steps will consist of (1) a joint training programme, organised in Central and East European countries, more specifically in the countries surrounding Austria; (2) a joint two-week Summer School, taking place both in Vienna (one week) and in Brussels (one week); and (3) a joint Masters programme spanning 2 semesters, and organised on the three campuses. For the latter, curricula-committees have been formed; The European MA is scheduled to start in 2004-2005.

A 2-day colloquium on the upcoming general EU concours, geared towards the new accessing countries, will precede the three joint initiatives. The colloquium will be organised jointly by UW, DAW and IES at the premises of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. The date is to be confirmed, yet the colloquium will most probably be organised at the end of August 2003.

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Focus on Research:
Individual Rights in European Community Environmental Law

Stephanie Dodeller
IES' researcher Stéphanie Dodeller
The research project "Individual rights in European Community Environmental Law" focuses on environmental rights of legal and natural persons from a European Community prospect. It aims at researching the existing framework for those individual rights as well as formulating proposals for further improvements of the legal scheme. The promoter of this project is Prof. Dr. Marc Pallemaerts. Stéphanie Dodeller was appointed in May 2002 to conduct the research.

Stéphanie: "Previously to my appointment at IES, I went through a Postgraduate in Environmental Law, where I had the opportunity to focus on EC Environmental Law, which I regard as the most effective level of action for drawing up the core of an effective and harmonised environmental protection policy. Besides, I wrote my final dissertation on the EU Ecolabel (which is a label granted to environmentally-sound products and services), and the reason why I chose this topic was because I have a strong belief that, besides other policy approaches and techniques, individuals have a role to play in environmental protection. Sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders, including the public. And even more, in my view, participation is as much a duty as a right. We all are responsible participants in what is threatening the environment. And therefore, it is the responsibility of every individual to engage in solving these problems. Individual environmental rights accordingly constitute a means for us to take action!"

Indeed, a recent Eurobarometer survey showed how Europeans are increasingly aware of and concerned about key environmental issues. They seem more and more willing to play a proactive role in the EU Environmental policy and are increasingly demanding for concrete tools (including legal tools) to take action.
At the same time, traditional environmental policy instruments have shown their limits - as is suggested by the weak level of effective implementation of EU environmental law.
In this context, individual environmental rights have thus been contemplated as an appropriate instrument of environment policy-making besides other means of policy, and are indeed on the course of implementation at EU level, particularly with the input of the Aarhus Convention of 1998, providing for three types of rights, related to: access to environmental information, participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. Moreover, the issue is in line and even sometimes overlaps with other European hot issues and activities, such as the discussion on the future of the Union, and the debate on European Governance, an essential component of the latter being environmental governance.
Environmental governance can be defined as rules, processes and behaviour that affect the way powers are exercised at European level in the field of environmental policies, particularly as regards openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence. These are the very same objectives IERs wish to achieve.

Researching IERs first implies to take stock of what already exists at Community level, and to assess its suitability and its efficiency. While primary law keeps mostly silent on any IER, secondary legislation of the EU contains several provisions explicitly granting certain IERs. Nevertheless, a brief overview leads to the conclusion that the existing legal system only explicitly provides for IERs of a procedural nature.And current policymaking seems to focus on procedural rights, as the work of implementation of the Aarhus Convention shows.

Yet substantive rights, that is mostly the right to a clean and healthy environment, need being addressed as well, and therefore constitutes an essential aspect of Stéphanie Dodeller's research, asking for a more legal theory and legal philosophy-oriented approach.

The issue raises many questions, that the research will try to tackle: Does the right to the environment proceed from natural law, that EU legislation as a consequence shall not grant but only state and guarantee? What is the relationship between any fundamental environmental right and human rights (common features and differences in their nature and in their legal protection)? Who shall be granted this right, ie. who shall be considered as an "individual" for the purpose of environmental protection (natural persons, legal persons, NGOs, groups of interest, undertakings, etc.)? Shall the right to a clean and healthy environment be explicitly copied into the EC Treaty / future Constitution of the EU (and what shall be the place and value of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in this regard)?

The research eventually aims at formulating proposals for improvement of IERs in the EU, notably through, on the one hand, the legal statement of a fundamental right to a clean and healthy environment (SUBSTANTIVE RIGHT), and on the other hand a comprehensive and workable set of legal instruments enabling its exercise (PROCEDURAL RIGHTS), together with tools for the effective protection of these right by the courts (JUDICIAL PROTECTION).

Eventually, the research shall seek specific policy measures to implement at EC level in order to increase citizens' awareness vis-à-vis their environmental rights and duties.

SD

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Countering the financing of terrorism:
Towards an implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (New York, 1999), in Belgian law

On Wednesday 19th March, IES researchers Jürgen Millen and Wouter Ostyn presented their research on "countering the financing of terrorism" to the Ministry of Justice, accompanied by their promoters Prof. De Schutter and Prof. Rozie. The meeting served as interim-evaluation for this one-year project.

Both researchers stressed that although a lot of incentives have been taken in the battle against terrorism, the New York Convention of 1999 still forms the main provision within this seemingly never ending war. The Convention, in its turn consisting of 9 other conventions and protocols, is an invitation to the different Member States to take appropriate action in order to make the (international) initiatives applicable in their respective national law systems. Only limited parts have thus far been implemented into Belgian legislation. Within the Belgian legal framework, a lot of work still needs to be done.

So far, the researchers analyzed article 2 of the New York Convention. Based on the definitions given in this article, a qualification of the types of crimes that could be committed can be identified, and an analysis can be made of its protagonists (who is the potential offender, who is authorised to judge, who can [be] extradite[d], ...). In this respect, both researchers note that an important distinction has to be made between private persons and legal entities. They also note that, although somebody committed a crime, this does not mean that he/she do not have any rights. There will not be an extradition when political, religious, ethnical ... considerations are forming the basis for this request. Banking secrecy, however, cannot form a reason to refuse an extradition request.

More results on this research will be published by the end of this year, when the project has to be finalised. They will include an analysis of the fundamental rights and research on the role of the International Criminal Court.

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Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

On March 12, IES Researcher Stéphanie Dodeller spoke at the Conference on Access to Justice in Environmental Matters organised by the Belgian Association for Environmental law (ABDE / BVMR) in the Palais d'Egmont, Brussels.

Stephanie Dodeller
Marc Pallemaerts and Stéphanie Dodeller
Her presentation at this meeting on "L'accès à la justice en matière d'environnement: un bilan 10 ans après la loi du 12 janvier 1993 concernant un droit d'action en matière de protection de l'environnement" addressed the topical issue of the access by individuals to the Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance of the European Communities in environmental matters.

Stéphanie advocates that the recent ECJ ruling of July 2002, in the UPA case, denying access to court to individuals, is a major setback for the environment and for environmental rights. While the EU has signed the Aarhus Convention (UNECE) of 1998 and work is underway to reach application of its third pillar (Access to justice) to EC institutions and bodies, she regrets the conservatism of the Court, which refused to alter its traditional test of individual and direct concern, and accordingly failed to ensure a broad and effective right of standing to citizens, especially when they are defending environmental rights characterised by a collective nature.

Stéphanie's promoter, Prof. Dr. Marc Pallemaerts, chaired the afternoon session. The proceedings of the conference are to be published later this year.

SD

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New researcher joins our institute

Dr. Sven Baeten
Dr. Sven Baeten
The Institute for European Studies has been joined by Sven Baeten. He participates in a project on Public Private Partnership (PPP). Though quite popular in use, the meaning of Public Private Partnership is not yet clear. The project aims at contributing to the demystification of this concept. This aim will be pursued by both scientific research and publications and public debate through interactive training.

In a first phase, the research envisages to define the vague concepts. The diverse terminology used with regard to Public Private Partnership will in that way be illuminated, furthering its conceptual clarity. In order to increase the practical application of Public Private Partnership, a conceptual handbook will be drafted. This draft handbook serves as an initial source to interactive training in which the various concepts will be put to a test through the practical experiences of the participants. This training will in its turn allow for ameliorations to the handbook.

The second phase of the research focuses on the development of procedural frameworks to set up successful Public Private Partnerships. Again practical experiences of trainees will be crucial inputs to link practice to theory and to make it a worthwhile undertaking. Theoretical models will be confronted to practical arguments and experiences. Both theoretical input and practical skills of the different participants are crucial to this end.

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Transatlantic Dialogue on Aviation Policy

Transatlantic Dialogue
On April 10-12, IES is organising a "Transatlantic Dialogue" conference on aviation policy: "Clearing the way to a more open market". The conference is organised in conjunction with the University of Georgia. It will take place at the Dean Rusk Centre in Athens, Georgia (USA). Programme and registration details can be found on the IES website or on the site of the Dean Rusk Centre (Law School) at http://www.uga.edu/ruskcenter/aviation.html.

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Liberalizing the EU Electricity Market

Conference Electricity Market
On March 13, over sixty participants took part in an IES-organised conference on the liberalisation of the electricity market in the EU. Speakers represented the European Commission, the Federal Ministry of Energy and Sustainable Development, existing and the providers, distributors and consumers. They were complemented by members of the VUB Faculty of Law. All emphasized that liberalisation leads to a new economic potential for a more competitive and eventually more efficient energy policy, provided that the legal framework will be adapted to the new market situation. Contributions of the speakers will be published by IES in the Fall of this year.

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The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy after the Enlargement

IES's director Anthony Antoine attended a conference on the EU's common foreign and security policy after enlargement, organised by the Diplomatic Academy and the University of Vienna. The two-day conference, organised on March 21 and 22, gave the floor to analysts from 6 potential accession countries, and touched upon the crisis in which CFSP finds itself today. Scholars from reputed institutes such as the London School of Economics, the College of Europe, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and various universities gave insight into the EU's state of affairs on CFSP.

At the eve of the US-led coalition vs. Iraq (war started on March 20), the cleavage between Eurocentrics and Atlantists seems to have never been bigger. Against this context, Europe has a long road ahead before it will speak with "one voice". Although all would-be member-states declared to be propagators of further EU-deepening, and seemed favorable of a common foreign and security policy, they do cling to their sovereignty - just as their EU-colleagues - and have problems with qualified majority voting. This leads some scholars to predict a re-nationalisation of foreign policy and defence, thus abandoning the "common" in CFSP.

The conference uncovered a number of problems that need further research: (1) candidate countries have not been able to take part in serious discussions about CFSP in the past, and it is still questionable whether they will be treated as "equal partners" in future talks; (2) enlarging the EU will bring about new neighbours and new neighbourly relations which have not been investigated seriously in the past; (3) the new member states are showing a constructive attitude towards CFSP yet do not seem to posses the necessary resources ...

IES hopes to be able to contribute to the research on CFSP with its lecture series on European Security starting next semester (see programme for details). It will take part in the CFSP-research programme "FORNET" launched by TEPSA, the University of Köln, LSE and the University of Vienna. Anthony Antoine will attend its inaugurating conference on April 22-23 at the Fondation Universitaire (Universitaire Stichting) in Brussels.

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Content

Heavyweights in (studying) Globalisation
Focus on Research:
EC Environmental Law

Vienna-Brussels Co-operation
Research on Financing Terrorism
Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
New researcher starts at IES
Transatlantic Dialogue on Aviation
Liberalisation of Electricity
EU's CFSP after enlargement
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Contributed to this Newsletter:
Anthony Antoine, Sven Baeten, Bart De Schutter, Stéphanie Dodeller, Jürgen Millen, Wouter Ostyn & Johan Pas Editing: Anthony Antoine & Nele Fasseel
Pictures courtesy of
Anthony Antoine, Nele Fasseel and Véronique Hameeuw
Published by Anthony ANTOINE, IES, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels