The Institute for European Studies (IES-VUB), the Institut d’Études Européennnes at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the United Nations University programme for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), and the Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations invite papers for the GARNET Conference ‘The European Union in International Affairs’, to be held in Brussels on 24-26 April 2008. The conference will be the first of what we hope will be a series of conferences on this theme. The second conference is planned for 2010. The Conference will provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas among the growing number of scholars that take an interest in understanding the interface of EU and international politics and law. It will also attempt to foster exchange between the academic and policy communities, especially through keynote addresses by senior policymakers and a number of ‘policy link’ panels featuring a mixture of academics and practitioners. To this end, we invite in particular papers that cover one or more of the four conference themes to be found on our website, click here.
The Institute for European Studies has helped organize the VUB Chair 2006-2007, attributed to Prof. Dr. Françoise Tulkens, Judge at the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. Prof. Tulkens’ lectures series was entitled “La Convention européenne des droits de l’homme comme un instrument vivant” (The European Convention on Human Rights as a living instrument). The VUB-Chair initiative came from the Faculty of Law and Criminology and its Research Group on Human Rights. Convenors Dean Hélène Casman, Prof. Dr. Serge Gutwirth and Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert welcomed a very charming and erudite Prof. Dr. Tulkens to five lectures, which, next to the inaugurating lecture of 10 November 2006, dealt with relations between Human Rights and Penal Law (8 December), conflicting fundamental (human) rights (16 February), Human Rights and Women’s rights (9 March) and internal and external dimensions of the Court (23 March).
On 9 March, the VUB was honoured with a visit of Her Majesty Princess Mathilde. The Princess attended the lecture on “Les droits de l’homme, droits de femme” by VUB Chair Prof. Dr. Françoise Tulkens.
Picture left: Prof. Tulkens with Princess Mathilde
From 19 to 27 May 2007 IES Senior Research Fellow Eva Gross participated in the prestigious Manfred-Wörner-Seminar.
Now in its 25th year, the seminar, which is organized by the German Ministry of Defense in cooperation with the German Marshall Fund (GMF), brings together 30 young Americans and Germans who have an outstanding record of achievement in their profession.
Ten days of intensive discussion with senior policy experts and practitioners gave fellows ample opportunities to examine German and European security policy and to discuss U.S.–German and U.S.–European security interests. Equally important, the seminar served to deepen understanding between participants and to broaden professional networks. In particular, it is hoped that the planned creation of a transatlantic research network in the coming two years will be aided by the contacts made in this seminar. Participating fellows included representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, the State Department, the Council of Foreign Relations, Amnesty International, and EADS North America. On the German side, there were representatives of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, the German Parliament, the Ministry of Defense, and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).
The ten-day program took place in three German cities — Bonn, Cologne, and Berlin — as well as Brussels. Fellows were briefed by senior representatives of the German Bundestag, the German Ministry of Defense, NATO and the European Commission, most notably Victoria Nuland, US Ambassador to NATO, former German President Richard von Weizsäcker and Hans Ulrich Klose, Member of the German Bundestag and Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Other speakers included Ron Asmus (GMF Brussels), Hans-Bernhard Weisserth (Council of the European Union) and Jamie Shea (NATO).
Earlier this year, Eva officially obtained her PhD from the London School of Economics, following the successful defence of her thesis “The Europeanization of national foreign policy? The role of the EU CFSP/ESDP in crisis decision-making in FYROM and Afghanistan”
IES Senior Fellow Xiaokun Song and IES project co-promoter Willem Van der Geest (Asia Institute Europe) organised a workshop at the IES entitled “Global Economic Security and the EU-US-China Triangle”. The workshop, which took place on 21 June 2007, assembled experts in the field from various institutes in Europe and China to discuss the following questions:
IES Executive Director Anthony Antoine and Senior Research Fellow Eva Gross chaired different sessions, as did VUB professors Gustaaf Geeraerts and Bruno Coppieters. IES Researcher Mehmet Tezcan acted as discussant to one of the speakers. Amongst the presenting academics were Bernadette Andreosso- O’Callaghan (Univ. Limerick), Geoffrey Underhill (Univ. Amsterdam) Sylvain Plasschaert (KU Leuven), Uwe Wissenbach (European Commission), Greg Austin and Danila Bochkarev (East-West Institute), Andrew Small (German Marshall Fund), Xinning Song (UN University), Jonathan Holslag (VUB)
On March 19th Senior Research Fellow Richard Lewis took part in a panel discussion at the European Parliament on immigration in Europe under the patronage of the European Movement Belgium and sponsored by the newspaper Le Soir. There was an audience of about 300, mostly readers of Le Soir, representatives of migrant groups, immigration lawyers all of whom demonstrated a lively and critical interest in this crucial and controversial topic.
Following brief introductions by the President of the European Movement Belgium Charles-Ferdinand Northomb (formerly Deputy Prime Minister) and co-chairs of the meeting Maïté Abram and Maroun Labaki, the debate was kicked off by MEP Martine Roure followed by Belgian Member of the European Commission for Development, Louis Michel, with further presentations by the Director of Amnesty International in Belgium, Philippe Hensmans and Richard. Thus the debate was a rounded affair with two speakers at the political level as well as representatives of the non-governmental sector and the academy.The themes tackled both by the main speakers and the audience were wide-ranging with a particular emphasis, because of the presence of M. Michel, on the role of development in the management of migration and problems relating to brain-drain and circular migration, that is temporary migration either for work or study and return to the country of origin.
All speakers emphasised the complex nature of the phenomenon of migration and the need to be wary of trite answers to the issues faced. Attention was drawn to the haphazard way that the media deal with immigration and the loose terminology they use, for example the use of the term “asylum seekers” for all migrants. Each main speaker drew attention to his or her particular concerns. Mme Roure drew on her experience in Provence.; M Michel described what the Commission is doing in the development of the Third World; M. Hensmans concentrated on human rights and asylum; and Richard emphasised the problems encountered in the integration of new immigrants.
Speakers from the floor were often impassioned and occasionally disruptive. Questions ranged around a multitude of topics including the negative impact of subsidised European (and American) agriculture on development in the Third World, migration from sub-Saharan Africa and what the EU and the Member States are doing to prevent illegal migration from this region and the detention of immigrant families (including children) in Belgium. A full report of the meeting appeared in the edition of Le Soir of March 21st.
IES Academic Director Sebastian Oberthür gave a Jean Monnet Lecture at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, entitled “The European Union in International Climate Policy: Born Leader?” on 19 March 2007. He argued that, on the one hand, EU international leadership on climate change is built on a sound basis. Domestic political systems in the EU provide comparatively favourable conditions for the articulation of environmental interests. Climate policies also enjoy broad public and elite support and are backed by a constellation of economic interests with comparatively low stakes in fossil fuels but a growing interest in climate-friendly energy sources and energy security. The EU is also a clear leader in the implementation of domestic climate policies, and its general position in, and multilateral approach towards, world politics provides an additional rationale for its international leadership on climate change.
On the other hand, the current dynamics and recent trends of international climate politics raise the question of the long-term stability of EU leadership. As climate change has become a high-politics issue and the need for action is increasingly accepted, the ability of political systems to implement far-reaching policy change may become crucial. In this respect, presidential systems such as the one in the USA as well as systems dominated by relatively small elites may even have an advantage – if their respective leaders so desire. Furthermore, energy security constitutes an ever more important interest in support of climate policy also for other actors than the EU. Finally, support for climate protection has broadened significantly among political and economic elites in the USA and major developing countries, and climate protection measures are increasingly implemented in these countries. As a result, the climate policy gap between the EU and others is smaller than one may suspect.
In the medium term, the international leadership position of the EU on climate change may therefore well face challenges by other countries. While this may not yet constitute an acute prospect, it might become an increasingly concrete possibility after the next US presidential elections, and as China and other developing countries gain experience and confidence with the implementation of domestic measures (which will require that they overcome significant implementation difficulties). Once these actors decide to engage fully in the fight against climate change, their political systems may provide them with a competitive edge in the pursuit of global leadership.
In this situation, the opportunity for the EU lies in fully exploiting and expanding the first-mover advantage it possesses in the elaboration and implementation of domestic climate policy. One of the most promising ways to modify climate politics is the implementation of suitable policies. For example, the promotion of renewable energies and the implementation of the EU emissions trading scheme have already changed the political process in Europe and beyond. Through continued and strengthened climate protection efforts, the EU has the chance to further advance its international leadership on climate change.
The rise of other actors who challenge EU leadership may paradoxically prove the success of this leadership. After all, leadership in general aims to motivate others to follow suit. Consequentially, the followers may challenge the original leader. The protection of the world’s climate would benefit from the resulting leadership competition.
The lecture was subsequently published under the title “The European Union in International Climate Policy: The Prospect for Leadership” in Intereconomics – Review of European Economic Policy (Vol. 42, No. 2 March/April 2007, pp. 77-83).
The fourth presentation in IES’ Spring lecture series was delivered by Dr. Iwona Piorko from the Directorate General Justice, Freedom and Security. Dr. Piorko is the official responsible for migrant integration issues which are at the centre of an intense debate at national, EU and wider international levels. She was able to give her audience the inside story of how the Commission is helping to tackle this major component of citizenship and identity.
For the fifth presentation in the Spring Lecture Series on European Identity, IES welcomed Dr Saime Ozcurumez currently at the Centre for European Studies at Middle East Technical University in Ankara but who will soon take up an assistant professorship at another university .
For the 6th lecture in the series, the IES welcomed lawyer and anthropologist Professor
Marie-Claire Foblets on March 22nd 2007. Professor Foblets is extremely well-known and widely published on migration issues and has the advantage of straddling two or more disciplines which in this field is an essential ingredient to understanding complex family issues. She delivered a fascinating and very clear lecture on the private international law aspects of Islamic personal law especially in the area of marriage and divorce where there appear to be numerous conflicts in the practice authorised by the law in Islamic countries and the practice in EU Member States. The complexity and implications of this
conflict of laws even outside the strictly legal sphere are considerable amplified by the fact that there are naturally differences in the legal systems of both European countries and Islamic countries even though the latter are largely guided
by Sharia legal principles. The permutations are thus enormous and compounded by the increased mobility of people around the Mediterranean Basin.
With the presentation on “Making Citizens in Europe How to make citizenship more rel- evant and more inclusive?” of Prof. Rainer Bauböck of the Institut für Politikwissenschaft Innsbruck, the spring lecture series came to an end. Prof. Bauböck, who is also a senior researcher at the Institute for European Integration Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna and professor at the European University of Florence gave his compelling presentation on 29 March. He made an analysis of the different nationality laws in the EU member states, and referred to his book on the matter called “Acquisition and Loss of Nationality. Policies and Trends in 15 European States”.
Two more scheduled speakers in this series on European Identity, John Bowen (St.-Louis)
and Jim Hollifi eld (Dallas), postponed their lecture and will come to the IES in the autumn to take part in an IES Policy Forum.
On April 27th, an international colloquium coorganised by the Institute for European Studies, the Centre of International Law of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), took place at the Egmont Palace. The central theme of this event, outlined by Prof. Dr. Erik Franckx, focussed on the exercise of jurisdiction over vessels and new developments in the fields of pollution, fisheries, crimes at sea and weapons of mass destruction. Recent political and legal developments, especially in these areas impinge with the age-old principle of the freedom of the high seas. Koen Van den Bossche, researcher at the institute for European Studies, commented on the European perspective and was keynote speaker on the role of the European Court of justice in fisheries related issues. He concluded that under the European Com- mon Fisheries Policy, the Community plays a prominent role in the creeping jurisdiction process. Especially because of the case-law of the European judicial institutions, the high seas laisser-faire regime now belongs to the past.
Senior Research Fellow Richard Lewis was invited to speak on April 17th at the annual course on Divided Societies which is held in April each year at the Inter University Centre in Dubrovnik. His theme was the way Belgium has constitutionally settled differences between the two regions and what lessons this might have for other nation states that have similar cleavages and, in particular, what a “Belgian style solution” might have contributed to a solution of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s.He posed the question why Yugoslavia exploded in violence whereas Belgium and, to take other examples, Switzerland and former Czechoslovakia, remained peaceful. In other words, what makes the difference between a constitutional solution and conflict such as in former Yugoslavia or Lebanon He started by stating the necessary but obvious fact that all situations are subtly different. But given that, it is noteworthy and indeed complimentary the way Belgian constitutional experts have been invited to give their views and suggest solutions in other divided societies. Richard went on to do a brief historical survey of the development of the Belgian constitution and an even briefer analysis of the current situation including the method of dealing with “facility communes”. He then turned to his experiences as part of a team attempting (unsuccessfully in the event) to find solutions to the Yugoslav situation. It is evident, in his analysis, that Belgium was and is a much wealthier and more democratic society than former Yugoslavia and for those reasons alone, it is safe to assume that conflict could be avoided more easily. Nevertheless, some of the cleavages that can be seen in modern Belgium such as the disparities in wealth between the regions existed in post Second World War Yugoslavia.
Richard’s audience of about 40 students was drawn from Wayne State University in Detroit, with which he continues to work, other students from the United States as well as students from Croatia and other parts of the Adriatic region. The course continued for a further 8 days of sessions on a variety of topics relating to shifting cleavages, conflict and security, nationalism, strategies for integration and institution building, followed by field trips in the Western Balkans. Other speakers in the two days that Richard attended are illustrative of the variety in the course and included Vesna Pusic, Deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament, Vladimir Kolossov from the Russian Academy of Sciences and Brian Graham from the University of Ulster.
Those who know Dubrovnik will realise that the organisers of the course picked the “Pearl of the Adriatic” for good reasons. Richard has visited Dubrovnik only once before and that was in 1992 in rather different circumstances not conducive to appreciating the city’s exceptional architecture and location. The Inter University Institute, founded in 1971 is an independent international institution for advanced studies. It is a meeting place for scholarship sponsored by some 200 universities around the world. Since its foundation it has hosted some 40.000 scholars and students from both sides of the divide during the Cold War and from many different cultures and nationalities since that time.
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Renmin University, Bejing, China, have worked together since 2005 on a joint exchange project sponsored by the European Commission in the framework of its Asia-Link programme. This sponsored exchange, in collaboration with the University of Munich is soon coming to an end as the mandate of the Asia-Link project is ending. However, both parties (VUB and Renmin) are determined to continue the exchange. Main protagonists on either continent are Prof. Dr. Gustaaf Geeraerts, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Politics, Social Sciences and Management School Solvay and Director of the Brussels Institute for Contemporary China Studies, and Prof. Dr. Song Xinning, Dean of the Law Faculty at Renmin University and currently Senior Research Fellow at the United Nations University’s Comparative Regional Integration Studies centre in Brugge.
The Asia-Link project foresaw in a number of evaluation meetings to be held with evaluators from both parties. This is why IES Executive Director Anthony Antoine joined Prof. Geeraerts (VUB) and Dr. Sven Biscop of the Egmont Royal Institute for International Relations in Haerbin, China, in April this year where the ‘experts meeting’ took place back to back with a conference on the Future of the European Constitutional Treaty. The conference was organised by the University of Haerbin and Renmin University. In a separate session at Haerbin University, the European partners were invited to lecture on EU constitutional issues. While Prof. Geeraerts and Dr. Biscop talked about European security reform and Chinese perception, Anthony lectured on “democratic deficit” in relation to the ‘belated‘ constitutional treaty.
Both IES President Bart De Schutter and Mr. Antoine had been called upon for assistance before in evaluating the Asia-Link programme over the past three years.
From February 28 until March 3, four IES staff attended the 48th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), which was held in the Hilton Chicago. The cold and snowy city offered an excellent venue for this super-sized conference where choosing between 54 simultaneous panels often proved to be quite an intellectual puzzle.
Academic Director Sebastian Oberthür, together with Prof. Knud Erik Jørgensen of Aarhus University, presented a paper on the EU and international institutions. It offered initial thoughts about a nascent research agenda exploring the relationship between the EU and the world’s other international institutions. Combining a levels of analysis approach with the agency-structure debate, the paper presented an analytic framework including master variables like identity, power, interests and institutional setting that can serve as a basis for generating a range of research questions. It thus opened a rich research agenda for exploring the topical issue of the EU’s relationship with international institutions.
Senior Research Fellow Eva Gross presented a paper entitled ‘German Foreign Policy and European Security and Defense Co-operation - the Europeanization of national crisis management policies?’ as part of the panel What are European Military Forces for? Assessing National Plans and Practices for CFSP/ESDP. The paper critically analyzed German foreign policy towards European security and defense co-operation with a view to Germany’s contribution and approaches to the CFSP and ESDP in response to specific crises that took place after the creation of ESDP. The paper identified the policy priorities of the German government in two specific crises and used the lens of Europeanization, which traces both the top-down and bottom-up influences between the European and the national level to demonstrate to what degree Germany was able shape – or instead was shaped by – decisions related to the application of ESDP instruments. The analysis demonstrated that, while moves towards the Europeanization of national foreign policy can be observed, transatlantic relations as well as domestic constraints and preferences determined much of the policy choices. In addition, Eva acted as chair and discussant on a panel entitled “You can’t always get what you want”: The European Union and Military Transformation: What Kind of Actor, What Kinds of Capabilities?
The IES PhD researchers were active as well. “The EU’s Foreign Economic Policy: Whose Policy and How Just Is It?” was the title of Mehmet Tezcan’s paper. It discussed the historical trajectory of this specific policy field. Mehmet’s paper was composed of three parts. First, he evaluated the emergency of this policy within the framework of the Rome Treaty for Customs Union at the European level and the Keynesian-developmentalist framework at the global level. Secondly, he focused on the qualitative changes in the policy output taking place from the mid-1980’s. The thrust of his argument was that the EU’s foreign economic policy was reoriented towards a more liberal outlook following the substantial input form European corporate actors. The third part turned to the question of social justice as a policy-goal. Mehmet’s conclusion was that this question gradually slipped of the agenda to make way for market-liberalization and growth-based objectives.
Alexander Mattelaer, on his part, presented a poster presentation with the title “The Motivational Dynamics of European Security Policy”. The poster gave an impressionistic sketch of his PhD research project in general, focusing on the interaction between strategic planning and operational implementation of European security policy, encompassing both the ESDP and the NATO framework.
Apart from papers and academic panels, Chicago had manymore goodies to offer. The tourist highlight was undoubtedly the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, featuring an exquisite collection of impressionist art, with Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” as the absolute must-see. Together with the excellent steaks and local ales, this made for a conference trip that was memorable in all respects.
IES Academic Director Sebastian Oberthür participated in a panel discussion on “External Relations: Power and Powerlessness of Europe in the World” at the ULB on 18 April 2007. The panel formed part of a colloquium organised by the Institut d’Etudes Européennes of the ULB on “50 Years after the Rome Treaties - The EU: Crisis or Stagnation”.
Prof. Oberthür’s contribution addressed the role of the EU in international environmental
policy with a particular focus on climate change. He put forward six theses. First, environmental degradation and climate change are two of the major challenges the EU and the world face in the 21st century. Second, European environmental policy necessarily has a strong external component, because addressing most environmental problems and climate change in particular requires international cooperation.
In summary, international environmental policy and the role of the EU in it can and do provide a major cornerstone of and rationale for the revitalization of the European project. In order to exploit this potential, internal European policies need to effectively and sustainably support international EU leadership on environmental issues and climate change in particular.
German-born Katja Biedenkopf started her PhD research at the IES within the framework of an EU FP6 project called “ASCEE: Assessing the potential of various instruments for sustainable consumption practises and greening of the market”. Katja holds an MA in Political Science and started at the IES in May. She is likely to continue her research for (at least) the next two years.
Hua Liu, a visiting researcher from Renmin University (Bejing, China) is staying at the IES for six months. Hua is a law student, finalizing his PhD in the field of EU-China relations. Hua joins IES-researcher Sigrid Winkler and will stay at the IES until mid-July.
Visting us on a scholarship from the United States is JD-Law student Kate Drabecki. Kate is studying at the University of Pittsburgh and will be at the Institute for a total of two months. She will be doing research on EU-WTO-related issues.
On the same ASCEE project, VUB Human Ecology-student Olof Soebech is supporting Senior Research Fellow Harri Kalimo and doctoral researcher Katja Biedenkopf. Olof is Icelandic, and started working at the IES in June.
Jeroen Doens is an ICT-graduate of the Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen. Jeroen did his final year stage at the IES, working on the integration of the secretariat’s different databases. Jeroen’s project was welcomed by IES management and staff, and was rated very highly by his promoters in Kortrijk. Jeroen will stay working at the IES in July, helping IES staff with internet -and network-elated activities.
Our expanding staff and computer arsenal demanded a part-time IT-specialist. Peter Menke thus joined us since May to help staff and management in server -and computer-related issues. Prior to his position at the IES, Peter worked for an IT-company in Brussels and had helped our Institute before on a free-lance basis.
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