Recent Publications

March 2019

The project European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy (EL-CSID) was conducted between February 2016 and February 2019, in the context of the H2020 programme on Europe as a Global Actor. This final report identifies the research undertaken, its research outcomes and policy recommendations.

The final report is presented at the Final EL-CSID Conference on 27 February 2019, Brussels.

Florian Trauner
Ariadna Ripoll Servent
Eva Magdalena Stambøl

The pursuit of internal security objectives has become increasingly important in EU foreign policy and external relations. The EU now invests a growing amount of efforts towards fighting ‘security threats’ and transnational crime in the (extended) neighborhood. This is particularly evident in the Sahel region of West Africa, where initiatives focusing on bolstering internal security apparatuses and borders are mushrooming. The question is whether the EU’s emerging role as a ‘global crime fighter’ contributes to fostering human security or satisfying the internal security priorities of the member states and whether the two are at all compatible. A closer look at EU policies in the Sahel suggests that solutions based on criminalisation and repression can have harmful unintended consequences which can even destabilise the region. 

Anthony Antoine
Luk Van Langenhove


Institutions of higher education across the world are expected to contribute to the resolution of economic, social, and environmental problems and to respond to them. However, in order to meet these expectations, universities need to have a strong sense of university governance to provide academics and researchers with a high degree of independence. 

University Governance and Academic Leadership in the EU and China provides innovative insights into the evolving higher education system of university governance in Europe and China. The content within this publication analyzes university governance, education technology, academic integrity, higher education, clear role positioning, and more. It is a vital reference source for education administrators, educators, academicians, policymakers, government officials, professionals, researchers, and consultants seeking coverage on topics centered on successful and effective leadership in modern universities.


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Jos Leijten

This policy brief explores how innovation becomes an increasingly important topic in international relations, with a deep impact on collaboration as well as on competition between countries. It analyses how the patterns of techno-economic change lead to changes in the global distribution of innovative activities around the world. It outlines three near future scenarios of the international politics of innovation. The first, called “populism and protectionism” describes an international environment which is becoming dominated by populist and nationalist tendencies. The second outlines the consequences of an approach of “innovation as a global public good”, in which ultimately everybody benefits, and global collaboration is the dominant model. The third scenario is called “bottom-up innovation” and describes what happens to the international dimensions when large international firms and the regions in which they are based become the dominant forces. Together these scenarios describe the range of potential developments over the next 10 years. The final paragraph discusses what Europe can and should do in its external relations to provide adequate answers to the forces outlined in the three scenarios. It results in a vision, which is laid down in four policy directions: a) the European “open” model of research and innovation should remain the starting point; b) Europe should actively seek to build level playing fields for commercial, technological and innovation powers; c) Europe should identify and foster its technological strengths and the critical technologies that need special attention, both in offensive and defensive ways; and d) Europe must identify and spread the key social values and goals (e.g. in relation to quality of life, quality of labour, culture including privacy, and sustainability) that it wants to pursue in its internal and external innovation policies and collaborations. This vision must guide the development of an international innovation policy and the work of innovation diplomats.  

Seita Romppanen
  • The new EU land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) Regulation takes a novel approach to emissions accounting, giving EU Member States discretion in sustainable forest management.
  • The Forest Reference Levels (FRLs) in the National Forestry Accounting Plans required by the Regulation need to be in line with other requirements of the Regulation, including the critical requirement to maintain or strengthen long-term carbon sinks.
  • The FRL does not constrain national sustainable forest management in qualitative or quantitative terms but ensures that the climate impacts of the decisions made are accounted for in a transparent and reliable manner.
  • The Regulation’s environmental integrity is tied to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals and ambition mechanism, making the Regulation a dynamic forward-looking instrument that is open for review, and revision.
Mohammad Salman
Tuba Bircan

The ‘Welcome Student-Refugee program’ was developed by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 2015-2016 as a response to the great arrival of refugees to Belgium, mainly fleeing the war zones in the Middle East. The major goal of the programme is to help recognized refugees start or proceed with their studies in the Belgian higher educational system. This policy brief assesses the progress of the program, and the challenges the refugees have faced at the VUB. The responses are collected through a questionnaire about the obstacles refugee students faced while trying to get access to the university through the programme. The conclusions revolve around three aspects: (1) The enrolment and adaptation to EU schooling system, (2) the finances and housing issues, and (3) the integration within the university and into Belgian society. To overcome these challenges, we suggest a strategy that not only contributes to the development of the VUB refugees programme but also provides systematic indications for other European universities wishing to improve educational programs for refugees.

Leo Van Hove
Antoine Dubus


Mobile financial services such as M-PESA in Kenya are said to promote inclusion. Yet only 7.6 per cent of the Kenyans in the 2013 Financial Inclusion Insights dataset have ever used an M-PESA account to save for a future purchase. This paper uses a novel, three-step probit analysis to identify the socio-demographic characteristics of, successively, respondents who do not have access to a SIM card, have access to a SIM but do not have an M-PESA account, and, finally, have an account but do not save on it. We find that those who are excluded in the early stages are predominantly poor, non-educated, and female. For the final stage, we find that those who are in a position to save on their phone—the phone owners, the better educated—are less likely to do so. These results go against the traditional optimistic discourse on mobile savings as a prime path to financial inclusion. As such, our findings corroborate qualitative research that indicates that Kenyans have other needs, and want their money to circulate and ‘work’.

Keywords: financial inclusion; saving; mobile financial services; M-PESA; Kenya


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Maryna Manchenko

Despite growing criticism on extending the category ‘immigrant’ to children of immigrants, research in the field of migration studies generally distinguishes between different generations within the population of migrant descent. Those who migrated as adults are called ‘the first generation’, while children of immigrants who were born in the host country are labelled ‘the second generation’ and children of immigrants who migrated before or during their teens comprise ‘generation 1.5’. Even though these later generations are socialised in the host country, they are often still viewed as in need of integration and targeted by integration policies. In this policy brief, we discuss the particularities of ‘generations 1.5 and 2.0’ throughout Europe and join others in arguing that policymakers and scholars need to move beyond the integration paradigm towards a paradigm of equality. We suggest that an equality paradigm needs to take into account the specific inequalities that children of immigrants might face, but, at the same time, needs to be critical of the homogenising group designations that are assigned to them. 

The extensive commercialisation of civil drones has made them accessible to a broad range of users for leisure, business-related, and professional activities. However, their growing number has also raised a series of societal concerns about this fast-evolving technology, related to security, safety, privacy, protection of personal data, liability and environmental issues. To mitigate these risks, and to allow their eventual safe integration into the European airspace, the European Commission has taken on a leadership role over the last years to set up a European policy framework for the civil use of drones. This IES Policy Brief examines the actions the Commission has undertaken to become a central regulator of this emerging technology in Europe.