Recent Publications

Sebastian Oberthür
Gauri Khandekar
Tomas Wyns

Abstract

This article investigates the contribution of global governance to advancing the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries (EIIs – steel, chemicals, cement, aluminium, etc.). It explores to what extent relevant intergovernmental and transnational institutions have exploited the potentials of global governance to address related barriers and challenges, in particular competitiveness concerns, the need to incentivise investments in breakthrough technologies and enhance circularity across global value chains. We find that global governance's high potential to contribute to the decarbonization of EIIs has remained very much underexploited. Few international institutions contribute and there is no clear centre. Existing institutions have especially not delivered a sector-specific signal/vision and consequent international rules. In response, the formation of a central institution and/or subsector-specific initiatives might be considered. We argue that advancing global governance to tap into its considerable but so far underexploited potential ought to be an integral part of any strategy for the decarbonization of EIIs.

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Wolfgang Obergassel
Lukas Hermwille
Sebastian Oberthür

Abstract

The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and the global response to it will co-determine the future of climate policy. The recovery packages responding to the impacts of the pandemic may either help to chart a new sustainable course, or they will further cement existing high-emission pathways and thwart the achievement of the Paris Agreement objectives. This article discusses how international climate governance may help align the recovery packages with the climate agenda. For this purpose, the article investigates five key governance functions through which international institutions may contribute: send guidance and signals, establish rules and standards, provide transparency and accountability, organize the provision of means of implementation, and promote collective learning. Reflecting on these functions, the article finds that the process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), together with other international institutions, could promote sustainable recovery in several ways.

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Sebastian Oberthür
Lisanne Groen
 
Abstract

This article assesses the evolving ‘stringency’ of multilateral climate mitigation governance towards the 2015 Paris Agreement. To do so, we systematically distinguish four key dimensions of hard/soft governance: (1) formal legal status; (2) the nature of the obligations (procedural-substantive); (3) prescriptiveness and precision; and (4) implementation review and response. We find that the governance approach of the Paris Agreement is significantly softer than the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, but harder than the 2010 Cancun Agreements under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. As a result, the Paris Agreement has had a differentiated effect on the stringency of governance. On the one side, it has softened climate governance for countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol, most notably the European Union. On the other side, it has hardened the international governance framework for developing countries and industrialised countries that are not subject to the Kyoto Protocol, including the US, Japan, Canada, and Russia. The shifting climate geopolitics of the twenty-first century helps us understand this development.

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Giulia Tercovich

Book chapter, Routledge (December 2020)

A book chapter by Dr. Giulia Tercovich titled ’The unintended consequences of interregionalism on actorness of the European Union: the case of EU-ASEAN cooperation in disaster management’.

Book Description

This edited book brings a new analytical angle to the study of comparative regionalism by focussing on the unintended consequences of interregional relations. 

The book satisfies the need to go beyond the consideration of the success or failure of international policies. It sheds light on complex interactions involving multiple actors, individual and institutional, driven by various representations, interests and strategies, and which often result in unintended consequences that powerfully affect the socio-political context in which they unfold. By providing a new conceptual framework to understand how interregionalism brings about social change, the book examines the effects on the individual and institutional actors of interregional relations, and the effects on the social structures that constitute interregionalism. It also examines interregionalism’s transformational character for structures of regional and international governance, as well as societies.

This book will be of key interest to scholars and students in the fields of comparative regionalism, interregionalism, EU studies, international and regional organisations, global governance and more broadly to international relations, international politics and (comparative) area studies.

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Giulia Tercovich

Journal of Common Market Studies, December 2020

Contemporary Inter‐regional Dialogue and Cooperation between the EU and ASEAN on Non‐traditional Security Challenges, by Maier‐Knapp, N. ( Abingdon: Routledge,  2019, ISBN 9780367272180); xx+148pp., £115.00 hb.

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Marc Jegers
Leo Van Hove

Journal of Cybersecurity, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2020

Arce (Malware and market share. J Cybersecur 2018;4:tyy010) presents a game-theoretic model in which users select and hackers target one of two IT platforms based upon the platforms’ network benefits and security levels. Unfortunately, in modelling the network benefits, Arce misinterprets Metcalfe’s law. In particular, he assumes that the utility that a user obtains from a platform increases quadratically with the number of users, whereas Metcalfe’s law holds that utility increases linearly with network size.

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Dr Queralt Capsada-Munsech

In this blog post of our EDGE project (Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe), the author shares a number of resources and tips to write academic blog posts. EDGE is a strategic research programme of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. It explores the contemporary challenges to democratic governance in Europe through three main research streams: Time & Sustainability, Gender & Diversity, and Contestation. The Programme brings together researchers from several academic fields and disciplines - such as European studies, gender studies, political science and philosophy.

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Maximilian Ernst

This article revisits the role that Ahn Jung-geun plays in Korean collective memory today and contrasts this with the Moon administration’s foreign policy. An analysis of Korean collective memory shows that Ahn’s assassination of Ito Hirobumi is heavily emphasized but Ahn’s ultimate goal of bringing peace to Northeast Asia is overlooked. This emphasis is understood through Jan Assmann’s model of collective memory. Based on Aleida Assmann and Linda Shortt’s proposition, it is argued that the historical figure of Ahn can instead play a constructive role. Shifting the focus
of collective memory toward Ahn’s ambition for peace in Northeast Asia may serve as a positive nudge for Seoul’s Japan policy, thus helping to ameliorate Korea-Japan relations in the medium term.

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Maximilian Ernst

Essay written for the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins University.

China is increasingly resorting to economic coercion to advance political objectives. In the Asia-Pacific regional context, Beijing has repeatedly leveraged economic interdependence to subject regional states to its political and security interests. In Europe, on the other hand, China has thus far relied on subliminal measures to compel individual actors to its will. But as China’s global ambitions and stakes in Europe rise, heavy-handed coercion of the kind that South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or the Philippines have experienced could soon become a reality in Europe. A case in point is Beijing’s threats to reduce German car sales in China should Huawei be excluded from the German 5G market. In consequence, European policymakers have come to appreciate that China’s rise implicates European security and that economics and politics cannot be separated in diplomatic relations with China. The European Commission’s designation of China as a ‘systemic rival’ and NATO’s acknowledgment that China’s rise implicates European security, both in 2019, are testimony to Europe’s strategic reorientation vis-à-vis China.

In the past, China was able to leverage its economic muscle against targets that were small and lacked a defensive mechanism against economic coercion. However, interdependence goes both ways, and China is as vulnerable to economic pressure as its trading partners. Thus far, Europe and the United States have pursued individual approaches to manage their economic and security relationship with China. But cooperation on the transatlantic level bears much potential to shield individual economies and corporations against Chinese economic statecraft. A new EU-U.S. trade deal that goes beyond the reduction of tariffs and trade barriers would enable both sides to settle the ongoing aircraft-subsidy dispute. Taking existing investment screening mechanisms as a blueprint, the transatlantic trade community could designate critical industries and technologies in which third-party domination of value chains is reduced—the larger the community, the smaller the adverse economic effects. Additionally, proposed transatlantic trade remedies in combination with a blocking statute are geared to alleviate economic damage and to deter coercion from third parties in the first place. Combined with overall strong economic engagement with China in all non-critical industries, such measures are projected to result in close and stable economic and political relations with China for both Europeans and Americans.

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Kristin Henrard

The overarching concern about the effective protection of fundamental rights has triggered the identification of an increasing number and degree of positive state obligations. When having regard to positive state obligations to (aim to) eradicate ingrained prejudice and stereotypical thinking, the ultimate question seems to be whether and if so, to what extent, states are obliged (to try) to change people’s hearts and minds. This undoubtedly controversial question was the subject of an international conference, organized at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in January 2020, by professor Kristin Henrard, with the financial support of the Erasmus Trust Fund, the EUR Initiative of Inclusive Prosperity and ESL’s  Rule of Law research program. In order to address this complex question in an appropriate manner, three avenues were identified, resulting in three strands of presentations. This special issue of Erasmus Law Review captures the presentations and subsequent discussions at the conference. The first strand set out to develop the parameters for such positive state obligations from a multi-disciplinary perspective, more particularly combining the parameters visible in the human rights paradigm, as well as in sociology and ethics. When assessing and evaluating the extent to which states could be obliged to try to change hearts and minds, the preliminary non-legal questions about sociological possibilities (can states at all change the way people think and feel?) and possible ethical constraints need to be taken into account as well. The second strand zooms in on the time-factor involved, in the sense that countering deep-seated prejudice and discrimination is a process that takes considerable time, has a ‘long durée’, and is often not linear. The third strand charts the trends that emerge in the (quasi) jurisprudence of a range of international human rights courts, when zooming in particular  vulnerable groups, often targets of prejudice and discrimination, more particularly Roma, Muslim minorities in the western world, LGBTI and persons with a disability. Each article focuses on one particular vulnerable group, while having regard to various relevant conventions and related supervisory practice, so as to be able to paint an overall picture.

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