Recent Publications

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.

Tongfi Kim

The United States has an extensive global network of security partnerships, the most important of which are in East Asia and Europe. U.S. allies in both regions are under increasing pressure from China and Russia, while President Trump’s contemptuous attitude toward them incites additional uncertainty about the reliability of the U.S. security umbrella. In particular, East Asian allies are anxious about Trump’s fluctuating relationship with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and are waiting to see the impact of Kim’s nuclear capability on U.S. military activity in the Korean Peninsula. Given recent concerns voiced by U.S. allies, it is crucial to evaluate the circumstantial similarities and differences between U.S. trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic alliances in order to assess the overarching implications for the U.S. military alliance network going forward.


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Tomas Wyns
Gauri Khandekar
Matilda Axelson
Isobel Robson


This report profiles Flemish energy intensive industries, in the context of the transition to a low- carbon economy, through the analysis of relevant data, studies and technology roadmaps. The goal of this report was to utilise information and input from relevant stakeholders in order to investigate the added value of developing future industrial low-carbon visions for Flanders. It also sought, with an optimal contribution by industry, to put forth a proposal on the possible scope and blueprint of a future facilitative framework towards a Flemish low-carbon economy taking into account the interactions and possible synergies between energy intensive industries and the rest of the economy.

Ferran Davesa
Silviu Piros

In January 2018, two different large-scale simulation games on the European Union’s decision-making process took place in Brussels. This study aims to bring systematic empirical evidence from both EuroSim and SUNY Model EU, two active learning experiences that gather around 300 international participants. The
intention is to scrutinize whether specific student attributes generate differential effects on the learning outcomes. These involve cognitive outcomes and affective outcomes. The first type refers to participant’s level of knowledge and understanding about the EU policy-making dynamics. The second type reflects on participants’ overall interest and motivation upon the EU. The data were obtained through a post-
game survey method based on stratified sampling. The results point at affective outcomes as the most salient learning outcomes of the simulations. In relation to participants’ features, the data reveal country of origin and gender as good performance-enhancers for students of non-EU origin and for the female cohort. All in all, in order to increase the usefulness of large-scale simulations, more attention needs to be given to participant selection and role attribution, as well as post-simulation
debriefing or focus groups.

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Dr. Yoon Young-kwan

Despite the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in June, little progress was made on denuclearizing North Korea due to the clash between the U.S. and North Korea on the formula of denuclearization. Both sides are demanding the other to do its work upfront. Due to the inability to resolve this dilemma, North Korea’s nuclear problem has gotten worse during the last three decades. In order to make a breakthrough, North Korea needs to come to the table as soon as possible recognizing that the political momentum for a negotiated solution in the U.S. may not last long due to President Trump’s domestic problems. The U.S. needs to take a more pragmatic approach. While keeping the pressure with economic sanctions, it needs to take concrete measures of political engagement toward North Korea. This would contribute significantly to raising mutual trust and providing a more favorable political environment for negotiating a solution.

Riccardo Trobbiani
Constant Hatenboer

This study seeks to explore the possible developments facing the EU and its role of leadership in a global science diplomacy. Engaging in a foresight analysis, its aim is to provide a reflection on future scenarios and how EU action could influence and operate within them.  The emergence of a clear EU science diplomacy is faced with challenges which are both of a conceptual and material nature. On the one hand, the term remains subject to different interpretations and uses, and its value as a label for science cooperation initiatives is still unclear. On the other hand, unprecedented challenges like climate change require concerted science-based solutions. These seem increasingly harder to achieve in contexts where populist movements discredit scientific evidence as a basis for policy making or where scientific and technological progress is read in a purely competitive way. Within the EU, lack of support for further integration in domains that are not yet communitarised and distance between policy makers and the scientific community risk to nip EU science diplomacy in the bud.

Chantal Lavallée

Chantal Lavallée (2018): “The EU’s Dual-Use Exports: A Human Security Approach?”, p. 43-50. in “Guns, engines and turbines”EU Institute for Security Studies.


Guns, engines and turbines


Considering arms trade an integral part of the EU’s foreign policy toolbox, what is the status of security cooperation between Europe and Asia? Who exactly benefits from European military technology and know-how and how does that affect the overall strategic balance in the region? And how might the EU coordinate its policies to best secure its strategic interests in Asia?

This Chaillot Paper sheds light on the new security dynamics in EU-Asia relations from the ‘hard security’ perspective. By looking at the burgeoning arms trade, dual-use technology transfers, and the emerging connections between new defence markets, it challenges the conventional perception of Europe as a ‘soft’ security actor on the global stage and in Asia in particular. It also shows how the debate on European arms sales highlights the discrepancy between a values-based foreign and security policy discourse at the EU level on the one hand and the economic interests and activities of its member states on the other.

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