News from the IES

On 18 June 2020, Intersentia published the sixth volume in the ‘European Integration and Democracy’ Series. The book, devoted to ‘Disinformation and Digital Media as a Challenge for Democracy’, was edited by Georgios Terzis, Dariusz Kloza, Elżbieta Kużelewska and Daniel Trottier, with the assistance of Ioulia Konstantinou.

In the documentary podcast series, The Batsapp Project, IES Postdoctoral Researcher Prof. Dr. Trisha Meyer talks about the difference between disinformation and misinformation, ways in which AI can help identify disinformation and misinformation on social media, and the role of tech companies in this process. The Batsapp Project features 3 episodes and you can listen to Prof. Meyer in the 3rd episode titled Flattening Misinfodemics. 

On 6 July, at 11AM IES Associate Researcher Alexandra Mihai will defend her PhD in Educational Sciences. Alexandra’s thesis is entitled: "Teaching Politics with Technology at European Universities: The Interplay between Technology and Pedagogy in Political Science as a Teaching Discipline". Her dissertation explores the way technology is integrated in the teaching practice and institutional structures at European universities in the case of political science as a teaching discipline and is supervised by Prof. Dr. Frederik Questier & Prof. Dr. Chang Zhu (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel). Given the current social distancing measures, the PhD defence will take place online.

The European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen has committed to accelerating decarbonisation in Europe as a major priority. The European Green Deal aims to reach the objective of climate neutrality by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement objective of keeping global temperatures as close as possible to 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era. This also needs to be adequately reflected in European external relations. To what extent and how will the EU’s and global decarbonization patterns impact the EU’s external relations with suppliers of fossil fuels? How should the EU’s foreign relations be shaped to exploit the opportunities and address the vulnerabilities stemming from deep decarbonization? A new study from Adelphi and the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, supported by the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs, inquires the impact of decarbonization on six suppliers of fossil fuels, exploring the consequences for the EU’s foreign policy with a view to providing recommendations to the EU, including the incoming German Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

IES Doctoral Researcher Klaudia Majcher and Joseph Waldstein launched an open and forward-looking blog – ‘The Afterlife’. This is a platform for people around the world to share their ideas on what they want to change: personally, and in society at large. On this platform, everyone can publish ideas and children can present their art works. 

The idea behind this is to bring people closer together, at least by sharing ideas. The creators of this blog want to take peoples’ minds off the current events, even if only for some minutes – by looking ahead. The blog accepts contributions in English and between approximately 150 and 300 words. The blog posts should present an opportunity for change in your daily life or in the world. Now or in the future – and triggered by Corona. 

For a study commissioned by the Flemish public broadcaster (VRT) and the newspaper De Standaard, Jonas Lefevere (Vesalius College / Institute for European Studies) and Stefaan Walgrave (UAntwerp) conducted an extensive survey of Flemish voters in an effort to track evolutions in political opinion since the 2019 general elections in Belgium, now roughly one year ago. 

On Europe Day 2020, the EU institutions want to pay tribute through numerous online activities to the many Europeans who, in a spirit of solidarity, are helping our Union get through the coronavirus crisis. The Institute for European Studies joins them in their wishes and reflects on this crisis, that has impacted every fibre of our societies in significant and unforeseen ways. 

The Coronavirus or COVID-19, has impacted every fibre of our societies in significant and unforeseen ways, some of which will undoubtedly have lasting consequences. As researchers and experts, we have the opportunity to see firsthand some of the more immediate impacts which the Coronavirus has had within our areas of expertise and research. As such, we are uniquely positioned to provide key insights into the wide-ranging impacts and consequences of the Coronavirus. Particularly, what these consequences can mean for the future of our societies in the areas of migration, justice, diversity, environment, sustainable development, economy and international security.

It’s well known what the EU wants in migration policy. Yet, what are the genuine interest of the EU’s partner states in the very same field? IES Professors Ilke Adam and Florian Trauner contributed to a study analyzing the West African interests in (EU) migration policy. It draws upon more than 80 interviews and four months of fieldwork in Ghana and Senegal. The study derives from the project ‘African Migration: Root Causes and Regulatory Dynamics’ (AMIREG)’, which was collaboratively realized by the IES and the United Nations University - Institute for Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) in Bruges. UNU-CRIS funding for the work is gratefully acknowledged. The article is open-access, hence freely available at the journal’s website.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with Belgium’s federal government restrictions, the EUIA organising team and the partner institutions have decided, with much regret, to postpone the EUIA20 conference for one year, to May 26-28, 2021.

More than 400 colleagues have already proposed or reviewed papers and panels, so we have decided to maintain the existing paper selection. In view of the altered circumstances, authors will be allowed to bring their papers and panels up to date. A decision on whether to issue a supplementary call for Papers will be made in due course.

Given these extraordinary circumstances, we believe that this rescheduling is the most foresighted option for the EUIA conference. We wish that our community members can travel and gather safely soon, and hope to see you all next year, healthy, in Brussels.