Why Misery Loves Company: The Rise of Conspiracy Theories and Violent Extremism


The aim of this policy brief is to provide an overview of some key research recently published examining conspiracy theories and their possible links to violence, particularly violent extremism. The research cited is meant as a starting point for policymakers and decision-makers (yet without claiming to be fully exhaustive). Second, this policy brief seeks to highlight some of the key trends and dynamics between conspiracy theories and the acts of violence...


Harnessing International Climate Governance to Drive Green Post-Pandemic Recovery

Wolfgang Obergassel
Lukas Hermwille
Sebastian Oberthür

While the COVID-19 pandemic has cast normal policy making including global climate policy into disarray, it also demonstrates that governments are able to take far-reaching action on short notice. How the global response to the Corona crisis is shaped will be a key determinant for the future of climate policy. This paper discusses how the UNFCCC process may help align economic recovery packages with the climate agenda. For this purpose, the paper draws on the concept of...


The Geopolitics of Supply: towards a new EU approach to the security of supply of critical raw materials?

Vasileios Theodosopoulos

The importance of critical raw materials for Europe’s future key value chains is increasingly being recognised. This policy brief argues that, in order to achieve greater strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty, the EU needs to enhance its security of supply and mitigate its extensive dependences in this domain. Its current approach, devised more than a decade ago, faces considerable challenges and is out of step with today’s geopolitical environment and the Union’...


European Recovery post-COVID19 and the Green Deal

  • As the focus shifts from emergency towards recovery, an EU-wide approach will be needed more than ever.
  • The economic constraints associated to Covid-19 constitute both a challenge and an opportunity for the European Green Deal ambitions, depending on the design of emergency and recovery policies.
  • Post crisis, ensuring viable value and supply chains of basic materials industries will be critical.

Epidemic zoonoses and climate change: High time to tackle root causes and build adaptive capacities

In this policy brief, we argue that both epidemic zoonoses – diseases transmitted from animals to humans that can turn into pandemics such as COVID-19 – and climate change require a long-term preventive approach that tackles their root causes. This should reduce the number of future pandemics and extreme weather events and other related crises and prevent us from crossing dangerous...


How can educators contribute to the prevention of radicalisation and violent extremism in Belgium and beyond?

Irina van der Vet
Daisy Bisoffi

The role of educators in the prevention of violent extremism and radicalisation has been widely discussed in Europe since the late 2000s. The precursors for these debates have been the series of terrorist attacks throughout Europe and more recently, the rise of right-wing extremists movements. This Policy Brief examines the potential of educators in preventing and countering violent extremism. It draws upon an experiment on designing innovative solutions for teachers of secondary schools in...


South Korea’s Corona-Diplomacy in the Soft Power Race

While countries in the West have suffered from domestic struggles, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 has become an opportunity for public diplomacy for several countries in the East. Once having the second largest outbreak in the world behind China, South Korea succeeded in flattening the curve quickly thanks to swift government intervention and joined the soft power race immediately. However, the initiative was purposefully connected to public diplomacy at home with the aim of winning...


KF-VUB Korea Chair Policy brief: The Making of South Korea’s COVID-19 Test Success

At least 120 countries have asked South Korea for COVID-19 test kits and other materials to fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. South Korean biotech firms are shipping the kits everywhere from Europe and the United States to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The secret to South Korea’s test development and manufacturing success lies in Daejeon. This city is home to Daedeok Innopolis, South Korea’s main R&D cluster, including for biotech. Developed since the...


GOVTRAN Briefing Paper: Energy Cooperation between the EU and Switzerland – Partners by Destiny in Search of a New Model

Philipp Thaler

The gradual integration of EU energy policy has implications for the national energy policies of its neighbors. While members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Energy Community implement large parts of the EU’s energy acquis, other third countries are also affected. Switzerland—physically integrated in the European energy grid but lacking a formalized mechanism of regulatory adaptation with the EU—is an interesting case in this respect, not least because of...


The Nexus between Migration and Development in EU External Action: No Quick Fix

Alexandra Berger

For the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission has proposed a new mega instrument in the area of external action that will make migration a key focus of the EU’s development cooperation. The nexus between migration and development will thus take centre stage in the EU’s engagement with third countries. In this context, it is interesting to look at current policies combining external migration governance with development cooperation. While the EU seems to assume that...