Newsletter

Newsletter
Publication of the Institute for European Studies Issue 17, September 2006

New Lecture Series: The WTO Doha Round, the EU and the Future of the World Trading System

Starting on 4 October 2006, the Institute for European Studies launches a new lecture series on the WTO Doha Round entitled: “The EU and the Future of the World Trading System”. This is organised in collaboration with its Programme on International Legal Cooperation and with the University of Kent at Brussels

The series is organised under the auspices of Prof. Dr. Servaas Van Thiel, There will be 10 lectures, most of which will take place on Wednesdays between 18:00 and 20:00 in Aula D.2.01 of the VUB. Entrance is free of charge, yet registration is required. For more information and registration, please consult our website.

A detailed outline and programme can be found on p.5 of this newsletter.

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Sevidzem at UACES in Ireland

On 1 September 2006 IES Researcher Sevidzem Stephen Kingah attended the UACES (University Association of Contemporary European Studies) Conference hosted by the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick, Ireland.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Visions of Europe: Key Problems, New Trajectories’. Sevidzem presented a paper entitled ‘Swapping Trade Preferences for Political and Economic Accountability: Good Governance from the Yaoundé to the Cotonou Agreements between the EC and ACP Countries.’

He argued that the use of trade sanctions or aid suspension as the means to bring about political reform in the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) by the EU is useful only if these are aimed at specific individuals in positions of power. A stimulating debate followed the presentation. The audience was keen on assessing Sevidzem’s interpretation of the introduction of counter-terrorism clauses and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) provisions in the revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement of 2005.

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Erasmus Mundus Antwerpen

On 5 September, IES researcher Ruben Lombaert gave a lecture at the University of Antwerp to the studens of the Erasmus Mundus “M.A. In economics of International Trade and European integration”. This is a Masters programme organised by the VUB with the Universities of Antwerp, Bari, Cantabria, Lille, Prague and Stafforshire. The group counted students from China, India, Vietnam, Columbia, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Macedonia, Russia, Moldova, Ghana and Iran.

The students were welcomed in Antwerp yet will move to the University of Lille (FR) and Stoke-on-Trent (UK). They will return to Antwerp later in the year.
Introducing Europe to such a diverse group, of which most students never spent more than a few days in Europe before, proved to be an interesting challenge. Ruben’s approach was therefore to introduce the EU and its institutions from a historical perspective, always making references to the international events of the era and showing how these influenced the shape the institutions took. To place Europe in a broader context, he placed 2 millennia of European history in a wider philosophical frame. He also showed the links between the countries of origin of the students with the various Member States. The conclusion of the lecture was a greatly appreciated slideshow of significant architectural tendencies. The students are looking forward to discovering Europe in the year to come.

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Harri lecturing "Global Markets" in Turku

Senior Research Fellow Harri Kalimo lectured at the Turku School of Economics (TSE) on September 14 in a seminar honouring the 20th Anniversary of the Business Research and Development Center (BRDC).

Under the general theme of the Seminar, “Global Markets”, Kalimo’s lecture dealt with the environmental aspects of the global marketplace and competitiveness. He pointed out that awareness of environmental requirements globally is a prerequisite for many modern companies, even the small ones. The most competitive companies go however much further than that. Environmental issues may form a core element of a company’s successful overall strategy, and therefore a key source of its competitive edge. Further, the public authorities should also stay abreast with these developments.

Companies may be encouraged by the government to pursue environmental objectives through balanced and flexible, modern environmental policy instruments, and through environmental principles such as life-cycle thinking.

At the same time global trade rules should be crafted and applied wisely to root out discriminative, protectionist measures without decreasing the countries’ ability to maintain ambitious environmental standards. With these types of principles, it is possible to aim towards a symbiosis of globalization, high environmental standards and solid competitiveness.

The BRDC is a unit of 60 persons that specialise in various fields of research such as East-West trade and socially responsible business. It works closely with the private sector.

The Director of the BRDC, Professor Antti Paasio, as well as Professors Pasi Malinen and Jussi Puhakainen are keen to lecture at the IES later this fall. The TSE forms a part of the IES collaboration network also through Kalimo’s adjunct professorship in the TSE.

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IES Research Colloquium on Chechnia and Abkhazia

On July 4, Céline Francis, PhD candidate in Political Science under the supervision of Prof. Bruno Coppieters, and working at the IES, presented the first outline of her research on “Impact of the Formal Status of Self-Determination Parties on Conflict Resolution: a Comparative Perspective between Abkhazia and Chechnya”.

After briefly giving the historical background of the Abkhaz and Chechen conflicts, she presented her research question: how do three types of parties that seek self-determination are negotiating their status. Céline investigates the differences in their degree of institutionalization and territorial control. She further looks at how these discussions have resolved the two conflicts.

Her analysis will be led at the level of official negotiations between representatives of the parties (track I), unofficial meetings aiming at exchanging views and creating trust (track II) as well as at the level of grassroots activities (track III).

The presentation was followed by a vivid debate with useful insights provided by the audience.

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New faces @ the IES

Since 1 september, Dr. Harri Kalimo (Fin) has taken up his position as Senior Research Fellow (1st pillar issues). Harri holds a PhD in Law from the University of Turku (Finland) and was selected by the IES Board in June. Before taking up his position at IES, Harri was a visiting scholar at Yale, New York University and ULB. He has also been legal councel for Nokia.

Starting 1 August 2006, Austrian-born Sigrid Winkler joined the team of researchers on the project “The EU Policy towards Greater China”. Sigrid, who graduated as a political scientist from the University of Vienna, will work together with Xiaokun Song and under the aspices of Prof. Bruno Coppieters, Prof. Erik Franckx, Prof. Gustaaf Geeraerts and Dr. Willem Van der Geest. Before taking up her post at the IES, Sigrid studied Chinese at the Renmin University of China.

Also joining the IES is Ben Van Rompuy who took up his position mid-July 2006. Ben will work together with Karen Donders on the project “Towards i2010. Bargaining for an equitable information society” (under the supervision of Prof. Caroline Pauwels and Prof. Fabienne Brison). Ben holds an MA in Communications Sciences and an MA in European and International Law - both from VUB.

Visiting the IES is doctoral student Selcen Öner (TR). Selcen is joining the IES from July to September and does research on European Identity and Turkey. She is in Brussels to condunct interviews with EU-officials.

Another visiting scholar is Camilla Adelle (UK) from East Anglia University, London. She works on EU Environment and Development Policy issues and collaborates with IES researchers Harri Kalimo and Rhiannon Williams.

John Lary (US) is a Fullbright research fellow and conducts research on migration in Brussels; he will stay 9 months as of mid-September and will work with Senior Research Fellow Richard Lewis (and probably also with VUB Prof. Eric Corijn).

At its Executive Board Meeting of September, the IES decided to endorse the candidacy of Prof. Dr. Alison Woodward to become Senior Associate Research Fellow. Alison teaches politics (woman studies and migration policy) at Vesalius College and at VUB and is co-director of the Centre for Women Studies at VUB’s politics department.

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Smiling faces at the PILC Graduation

On 26 June, the IES Programme on International Legal Cooperation (PILC) ended with the graduation reception for 23 PILC students who succesfully finalised their LL.M. in International and Comparative Law. Nine more completed their study in September. PILC Director, Prof. Dr. Servaas Van Thiel, had the honour to award Turkish- born Mert Elcin with the grade of Greatest Distinction.

The grade of Great Distincion was awarded to Daja Apetz, Bartosz Fegener, Stephen Hobbs, Petya Kalcheva, Katrin Kuhnert, Marie Lamensch, Klara Petrovics, Georgeta Radu Serafim, Zakhar Shusterman and Franca Stegemann.

Pesa Ronit Bernstein, Sandra Fernandez Menendez, Asteria Kalamara, Tina Kekäläinen, Hanna Marczewska, Inan Ozcan Sultan, Isabel Rebocho, Rytas Stankunas, Gulnara Tulegenova and Apostolos Vorras all graduated with the grade of distinction, while Vilija Cimbalaite, Sunniva d’Aloya, Dieu Do Ngoc, Maria Garcia Estevez, James Gondi, Xing Hao, Subel Koklu, Phuc Lê Hòng, Malika Norova, Monica Tiuba Nogueira and Weiyu Wu passed satisfactory.

This brings the total number of PILC graduates for the academic year 2005-2006 on 32. On behalf of all the staff and all the collaborators of the IES, we wish them all the best in their further careers !

Eight students unfortunately did not succeed this year but may consider finalising their PILC-studies in 2006-2007.

The PILC academic year 2006-2007 will start with approximately 40 students, coming from 27 different countries. They start the academic year on 27 September. The Institute wishes them a joyful, interesting and productive study !

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Introducing the IES E-learning modules

Where is Europe in our lives? And why does everybody need to know about it? These basic questions were at the heart of an ambitious project to create e-learning modules on European history, institutions, the decision- making process, European law and Information gathering.

The courses are destined for professionals who regularly come across European Union related issues in their work, but who do not have sufficient background to understand the reach and effects. Yet the course also aims at students, mainly from other disciplines than Law or Politics, who want to get to know the EU in all its aspects.

As the list of topics suggests, the course aims to give an overview and to provide the participant with a good first grasp of the subjects. It also equips him or her to search further and find the information required. The course aims at preparing participants to the degree that they will be able to understand the sometimes complex European information they come across. Whilst the module on History, Politics and Institutions and the module on EU Law have as a main focus knowledge transfer, the module on European information sources focuses on skills transfer.

In the design of the course, a lot of attention was given to usability aspects: you don’t need to be a computer whiz to be able to get most of it. But a healthy interest and an analytical mind do help. The course features a series of explanatory diagrams, references and links to the documents referred to in the course, maps, external websites etc. All this is destined to exploit the possibilities e-learning offers, compared to plain paper.

The e-learning project carried out by the IES has one interesting side-effect: out of the experience they gained with the planning and execution of an e-learning project, the researchers concerned built a knowledge-base which can be applied to other advanced education projects.

... And concerning the course itself: you will get to know a Europe that you never thought was so diverse.

The start...

The IES starts offering the e-learning modules from the academic year 2006-2007 on, and an official launch session will be held on October 26, at 18.30h. Please inform the IES if you want to attend at 02/6291222 or by emailing the concerned researchers. Registration can also be done via e-mail to info@emodules.be.

More info?

The IES e-modules can be found on the website: http://www.emodules.be. More info can be obtained from the responsible researchers: ruben.lombaert@emodules.be, and frederique.lambrecht@emodules.be.

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Succesful 3rd Summer School on the european Decision-Making Process

Under the auspices of Senior Research Fellow Richard Lewis, the Institute for European Studies, in collaboration with the Diplomatic Academy and the University of Vienna, organised its third joint Summer School on the European Decision-Making Process.

Thirty students from eighteen different countries participated in the two-week event, and combined study trips to the European Council, the European Parliament and the Belgian Federal Parliament with high-level lectures at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. As in previous years, students were staying one week in Brussels, at the IES, and one week in Vienna, at the Diplomatic Academy.

The summer school was concluded with a stimulating simulation exercise in which participants had to assume different roles in an imaginary international crisis situation. Succesful students received a certificate at the end of the session.

According to the feedback, the organisers - Richard Lewis, Ruben Lombaert, Frédérique Lambrecht, Anthony Antoine and Nele Fasseel - can look back on a succesful event!

The 4th edition of the inter-university Summer School on the European Decision-Making Process will take place between 2 and 13 July 2007. Registration will be available from the IES website as of January 2007.

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International Moot court in Tunis

IES Researcher Koen Van den Bossche accompanied seven VUB students from the Advanced Master programme on International and European Law to Tunis (Tunesia) where they participated in the international law moot court “Charles Rousseau”. The exercise took place between 1 and 5 May of this year.

The participating students ranked 4th out of 18 participating Universities. Koen Van den Bossche and Sevidzem Kingah, both researchers at the Institute for European Studies, coached the team. The areas addressed lay in their respective areas of expertise.

The students and the organising committee would like to thank the ‘Van Bael and Bellis’ law firm. Without their financial support, this exercise would not have been able to take place.

More information on the moot court and on the exercise can be obtained from Koen via email: koen.van.den.bossche@vub.ac.be

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IES in Tsibilisi

At the end of 2004, the University of Montpellier entered a TEMPUS consortium programme to help the State University “Ilya Chavtchavadzé” of Tbilisi in its efforts to create more vadzé” European-oriented programmes. The International Relations Department of VUB and the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussels (EhB) requested our assistance in order to complement this endeavour.

In the picture: Gotcha Javakhishvili, Mzaro Dokhtourichvili, Eric Soriano, Kétévan Djachy, Anthony Antoine and Kristin Tytgat.

The project foresees in an exchange of students and staff between the three EU-partners on the one hand, and the Georgian one on the other. Team leader of the project is Prof. Eric Soriano of Montpellier (Pol. Sciences). As the project started off in the Applied Languages department of the Tbilisi university, the original programme was a mix between languages and European Studies. As part of the programme, two Georgian students came to Brussels last semester to study languages (Russian and English at EhB) and European Studies (at VUB). More students are to come in the next semesters. Some of them speak Dutch fluently because the Ilia Chavtchavadze University has an extensive language department. The ultimate goal of the TEMPUS project is to start up a joint MA programme in European Studies. The modalities of this programme are yet unclear, yet the Georgian partner is very clear that it wants to have a programme like this in the near future. The Joint MA-Programme should be eligible for funding under the Erasmus Mundus programme.

Situation today

Since 2004, the Tbilisi University has undergone a lot of changes, and the newly appointed Rector (ad interim), Prof. Gigi Tevzadze has taken the (logical) decision to put the European Studies Programme under the auspices of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The university will also start a BA in European Studies as of next year. In terms of the languages, emphasis will be on English rather than (currently) French.

Annual Meeting

Between 28 and 31 August, Executive Director Anthony Antoine met with representatives of Montpellier and Erasmus in Tbilisi. The visit was the second of four annual TEMPUS meetings, organised in rotation by another partner. It is foreseen that the next meeting (in June 2007) will take place at IES, while the concluding meeting in 2008 will be taking place in Montpellier. The fi rst meeting was held at EhB. The meeting brought together all partners involved (at least: one per institution). The three-day meeting was devoted to the review of the fi rst year of the project, and on solving the problems encountered. In view of the recent decision of the Rector to postpone the academic year by 5 months in order to install a new selection procedure for MA students, time was spent seeking alternatives to solve this problem. In practice, this would mean that the afore mentioned TEMPUS programme would be stalled for one academic year. Anthony met with all partners involved, including Rector Tevzadze and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences Prof. Dr. Ghia Nodia. The latter is not unknown to the VUB as he has been a welcome visitor, conducting research at the Politics Department in collaboration with (amongst others) Prof. Dr. Bruno Coppieters.

Next to the representatives of Montpellier (Eric Soriano), EhB (Kristien Tytgat) and Tbilisi (Mzaro Dokhtourichvili, Gocha Javakhishvili and Kétévan Djachy), the representative of the TEMPUS programme of the Commission in Georgia and the representative of the French Embassy responsible for cultural and education exchange (Belgium does not have an embassy in Tbilisi) joined parts of our meetings.

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E-cycling

IES Senior Research Fellow Harri Kalimo recently published his book “E-cycling: linking trade and environmental law in the EC and the US”.

This legal and policy analysis explores the phenomenon recycling throughout the entire product life cycle, from the extraction of raw materials, to the production and marketing of goods, to the use of those goods and to the management of the resulting wastes. In this light, he shows how trade law interacts and can function within the demands and needs of the evolving environmental legal paradigm. Overall, the work provides more than one hundred examples of just how and when modern environmental and free trade law converge in the practical context of recycling of electronics such as mobile phones and personal computers in the internal markets of the EC and the U.S. E-Cycling is an ideal text for anyone navigating the myriad legal issues surrounding environmental protection and free trade.

With holistic, horizontal guidelines and innovative use of charts and figures, the book will contribute to the effectiveness and coherence of public policy-making on the environmental law, trade law, and constitutional law levels.

E-cycling can be ordered from Transnational Publishers, Inc. (info@transnationalpubs.com or www.transnationalpubs.com). The book costs $ 165,00.

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Multiculturalism Observed - New Publication

Following the succesful lecture series on Multiculturalism in Europe in the spring of 2005, organiser and IES Senior Research Fellow Richard Lewis compiled and edited the contributions of the lecturers, giving birth to the fascinating book: “Multiculturalism Observed”.

The book offers a timely and unique perspective on a phenomenon which is highly divisive and splits academic and public opinion alike. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid and London, the question how western society integrates its minorities has become one of the most crucial issues facing government today and excites media attention and frequent public controversy. This volume presents a number of points of view both from Europe and North America by academic, religious and political authors from a variety of cultures, all with a very different perspective on whether multiculturalism is a valid answer to ensuring harmony in our societies.

Multiculturalism Observed, published in the IES Book Series, can be ordered from VUBPress (mail info@vubpress.be or see http://www.vubpress.be). Price: € 28.00.

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IES and Kyoto

IES Academic Director Sebastian Oberthür attended the third meeting of the Compliance Committee of the Kyoto Protocol for the protection of global climate from 5 to 8 September 2006 in Bonn. Prof. Oberthür serves as a member and the vicechairperson of the enforcement branch of the committee.

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Team Building day

On the sunniest day of June (remember: there were almost none!), the full IES staff joined forces for a teambuilding day in Westende. Carefully planned by our secretariat, the day had been conceived around real “teambuilding” exercices for which we had to use both our minds and our muscles. Needless to say that a lot of us suffered in the next days (but I leave in the middle whether that was because of the use of mind or muscles).

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Fifteenth Issue

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Content


Credits

Contributed to this Newsletter:
Anthony Antoine, Céline Francis, Harri Kalimo, Frédérique Lambrecht, Ruben Lombaert, Richard Lewis, Sevidzem Kingah, Sebastian Oberthür and Koen Van den Bossche

Editing:
Sevidzem Kingah, Aaron McLoughlin, Nele Fasseel & Anthony Antoine

Pictures courtesy of IES except p. 1 & 5 (lecture series emblem) © European Communities, 1995-2006

Published by
Anthony ANTOINE, IES, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels