Recent Publications

Johan Bjerkem
Marta Pilati
Claire Dhéret
Marco Giuli
Stefan Šipka

Executive summary

Industry in Europe is faced with an unprecedented number of new challenges and megatrends, from a slowdown in global trade to digital disruption and climate change. In a fast-changing world, industry remains the backbone of the European economy, delivering high-quality jobs, innovation and world-class companies. Thus, to stay ahead of the curve and retain its competitive edge, the EU must embrace change and renew its industrial strategy.

There is growing momentum for a revived EU industrial strategy. EU leaders have called on the European Commission to present a new “long-term vision” for the EU’s industrial future by the end of 2019. Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has pledged

to put forward a new industrial strategy as part of a “European Green Deal”. Several member states have also been vocal on the need for a gear change in the EU’s approach, including the much-debated calls from France and Germany to modernise EU competition policy and support the creation of ‘European champions’, as well
as others underlining the well-functioning of the Single Market as the basis for competitiveness.

European industry is therefore set to become a priority for the upcoming Commission, with important cross-cutting implications for major portfolios such as “The European Green Deal”, “A Europe fit for the Digital Age”, “An Economy that Works for People” and “A Stronger Europe in the World”. It is important, however, that a renewed industrial strategy recognises all of these diverse goals and can be translated into a concrete, actionable plan at the EU level, with a clear governance structure.

This Issue Paper argues that in renewing its industrial strategy, the EU should put in place an ‘Industry Action

Plan’, complete with new policy tools and concrete industrial initiatives. Beyond mainstreaming industrial competitiveness across policy areas, an Action Plan should provide a more holistic and policy-oriented approach, with a vision towards 2030 that focuses on competitiveness, sustainability and strategic autonomy.

Firstly, to ensure that the European industry remains competitive, the EU should aim to play a stronger role
in global value chains, with a higher value-added. Secondly, the EU must create the conditions for the European industry, as well as the products and services it provides, to become sustainable and thus contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and climate-neutrality in alignment with the United Nation’s Paris Agreement. European industry should become fully climate-neutral by 2050 and seize the opportunity to become a global leader in sustainable and circular business models. Finally, an Industry Action Plan should contribute to achieving greater strategic autonomy for Europe by better responding to distorted competition and levering market power, and moving towards more technological sovereignty. Europe should mobilise all the tools at its disposal to become a global leader in developing digital technologies that address the societal, environmental and health challenges of today.

This Paper includes a list of recommendations centred around five policy strands: (1) making the Single Market (including competition policy) work, (2) improving innovation policy and achieving technological sovereignty, (3) acting strategically and enforcing reciprocity, (4) ensuring a fair and inclusive industrial transition, and (5) climate-proofing industry with a 2050 climate neutrality roadmap.

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 policies concerning migration and development cooperation are coherent, a closer look reveals that this is not always the case. Particularly concerning aid conditionality and the emphasis on short-term versus long-term goals, development cooperation and migration policies have different objectives, at times leading to incoherence in the EU’s external policies. 

Ilke Adam
Eve Hepburn


The study of intergovernmental relations (IGR) is a classical research area in scholarship on federalism and territorial politics. However, it has largely ignored the relatively new, and recently decentralized area of immigrant integration. The aim of this Special Issue is twofold. First, it aims to analyse how governments in multi-level states coordinate on immigrant integration. Second, it wishes to explain the dynamics that shape the features of intergovernmental relations. In doing so, we focus on four multi-level states; two of which are federal (Belgium and Canada) and two that are decentralized (Italy and Spain). Whilst we engage with the established literature on intergovernmental relations to formulate hypotheses about the nature and dynamics of intergovernmental relations, we also formulate less explored hypotheses. Our overarching argument is that the scholarship on IGR benefits from in-depth comparative case studies comparing IGR not just across countries, but also across policy areas and over time.


Adam, I. and Hepburn, E. (2019) ‘Intergovernmental Relations on Immigrant Integration in Multi-Level States. A Comparative Assessment’, Regional and Federal Studies, 29 (5) : 563-589.  

Ilke Adam

This article considers the features of intergovernmental relations (IGR) on immigrant integration in Belgium and critically examines the dynamics that shape them. The characteristics of IGR on immigrant integration in Belgium are shown to vary over time and differ across regions and sub-policy areas (immigrant reception policies and anti-discrimination). The comparative case study indicates that the primary traditional theses of the international comparative IGR literature, namely classical institutionalism and party politics, do not provide insights into the nature and mechanisms of IGR on immigrant integration in Belgium. Less established variables like European integration and sub-state claims for distinctiveness constitute key explanatory variables. While European integration explains the increase of IGR over time, notwithstanding the appearance of party incongruence, sub-state claims for distinctiveness enlighten the more conflictual nature of IGR with Flanders, even in cases of more party congruence than for Francophone authorities.


Adam, I. (2019) ‘Defying the Traditional Theses. Intergovernmental Relations on Immigrant Integration in Belgium’, Regional and Federal Studies, 29 (5) : 591-612. 

Tomas Wyns
Gauri Khandekar

Europe’s energy transition will require higher quantities of metals. Indeed, non-ferrous metals represent the building blocks of every conceivable climate technology including batteries, clean mobility, energy-efficient buildings, solar panels, and wind turbines.

The climate transition will challenge Europe’s industries to decarbonise in only one business cycle. The European non-ferrous metals industry has already made significant step changes since 1990, resulting in high levels of electrification and circularity. The sector’s further progress must now be supported by an EU industrial policy, which enables it to meet EU 2050 climate-neutrality objectives while thriving against global competition.

This study was commissioned by the non-ferrous metals industry and represents its consolidated contribution to the EU’s 2050 climate-neutral strategy. The study provides a comprehensive assessment of the EU’s industrial metals ecosystem, including the sector’s potential in the transition to climate-neutrality, and the challenges and constraints that will be faced along the way.

Alexander Mattelaer

NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangements often get bad press. This is remarkable given the fact that they have demonstrably contributed to (a) countering the proliferation of nuclear arsenals in Europe, (b) fostering alliance cohesion by giving non-nuclear weapon states a voice on the nuclear posture of the alliance, and (c) making nuclear deterrence more effective militarily by offering a wider array of force options. When the relative merits of extended nuclear deterrence are unknown, public support thereof is likely to suffer. In order to enrich the debate about NATO’s nuclear policy, this Security Policy Brief articulates the threefold logic of nuclear-sharing.

Richard Higgott

Professor Higgot’s report looks at the challenges facing traditional understandings of globalisation and the US-led global order in the face of the increasing pressures coming from what we call "civilisation states" or "state-civilizations" – most notably China and India — as they seek to reshape the contemporary international order in both ideational and material terms.” It sets out an applied and empirical investigation of the limitations that policymakers face and the options available to them to restructure the global order. The report shows that there are no simple answers or easy choices. It suggests that if we are to avoid a new ‘clash of civilizations’ we need to establish a framework and practices necessary for genuine negotiated global dialogue.

Femke Vyncke
Leo Van Hove
Malaika Brengman

Vyncke, F., Van Hove, L. and M. Brengman, Cultural congruence of websites: conscious, unconscious, or coincidental? - The case of Honda Cars, Information Research, Vol. 24, Nr. 3, September 2019, paper 832.

Introduction. This paper analyses the cross-cultural Website design strategy of a division of a single multinational company, namely Honda Cars.
Method. We conducted a content analysis of sixty-one Honda Cars Websites, each targeted at a different country.
Analysis. We perform t-tests and compute Pearson correlations to verify and quantify the cultural convergence of the Honda Cars Websites. We use novel regression analyses to explain the deviations between the culture reflected in the Websites and the culture of the country the sites are targeted at.
Results. We find that the sites of Honda Cars are by and large culturally congruent – for all the dimensions of national culture originally proposed by Hofstede and Hall. The templates that some regional offices of Honda Cars provided to their branches thus do not appear to have overly constrained local developers in creating a culturally sensitive site. Finally, the sites show a higher degree of localisation when the Internet penetration in the country is high and a lower localisation degree when the country has an extreme score on a specific cultural dimension.
Conclusions. Our results suggest that the observed cultural congruence is partly deliberate and partly accidental.

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Rossella Marino
Ine Lietaert

Among the objectives composing the 2018 UN Global Compact for Migration, Objective 21 deals with the return of migrants to their countries of origin. This objective includes a reference to sustainable reintegration occurring when returnees have access to psycho-social assistance, justice and occupational prospects. The policy objective of sustainable reintegration apparently enjoys broad support in the face of some countries increasingly opposing the global governance of migration. Such support can be explained by making reference to sustainable reintegration’s potential to accommodate diverse interests and the limited monitoring of the programmes it underpins. 


Mihnea Tanasescu (Editor)
Claire Dupont (Editor)

The book “The Edges of Political Representation. Mapping, Critiquing and Pushing the Boundaries”, edited by VUB researcher Mihnea Tanasescu and former IES researcher Claire Dupont, provides a nuanced overview of what political representation means today and how it can be approached from an academic perspective. In line with one of the main scopes of the EDGE programme, namely building bridges between the Department of Political Science and the Institute for European Studies, this books collects a series of essays and reflections on political theory, political philosophy, party politics, electoral politics, feminism, European politics, minority politics and online governance.