Recent Publications

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.

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Jung H. Pak

Last fall and winter, the world was tense with the real possibilities of a military conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula as a result of Kim Jong-un’s testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the North’s sixth and largest nuclear test, and the rhetorical war with U.S. President Donald Trump. While the threat of another Korean war seems to be in the rear-view mirror, for now, we have to remember that Kim has been expanding, sharpening, and demonstrating other tools of coercive diplomacy, including selective engagement, cyberattacks, and chemical weapons. He has been deploying these tools to suppress criticism of the regime, sow division within South Korea and among U.S. allies and regional stakeholders, and shape an external environment favorable for reinforcing Kim’s legitimacy and North Korea’s claimed status as a nuclear weapons power.

Virginia Proud

In the last 10 years, efforts to understand and harness science diplomacy have gained momentum in both the academic and policy-making world. Much of the conversation around science diplomacy looks in the rear view mirror, where the positive impact of scientific collaboration is easier to see. But if there is an intention, or desire, as expressed in policy circles, that the Commission benefit from science as a forward directed tool of diplomacy, then engagement with the scientific community and understanding their perceptions and attitudes is key. This study, based on in-depth interviews with Horizon 2020 scientific and project coordinators, reveals common attitudes and themes that shed light on how, and how much, to engage scientists in the science diplomacy conversation, with specific recommendations for bridging the gap between the aspirations of policy and science.

Stephan Klose

The regional roles external actors play, such as ‘China’s role in Africa’ or ‘the US role in East Asia’, have long been popular subjects of analysis in the international relations literature. Yet, the emergence and evolution of these roles remains remarkably under-theorized. While some ‘new regionalist’ scholars have discussed the dynamics of an external actor’s regional involvement by referring to the concepts of ‘penetration’ and ‘socialization’, neither concept, this article argues, is sufficiently equipped to capture how external actors come to aspire and realize their regional roles. To address this shortcoming, the article employs an interactionist role theory perspective, which draws on the work of social psychologist George Herbert Mead. In following this perspective, the article argues that external actors develop regional role aspirations as they draw on their creativity and reflexivity to overcome experienced uncertainties. To realize these aspirations, the article suggests, external actors seek to cast significant others into corresponding roles. Alter-casting, the article argues in this context, is critical for understanding the (re)constitution of an external actor’s regional role, and thus a region’s social structure.


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Youri Devuyst

The Community method is intended to ensure that in the process of making, implementing, and enforcing European Union law and policy (a) the general European interest is safeguarded by the independent European Commission that is responsible for proposing new EU legislation; (b) democratic representation of the people and the Member States takes place at the level of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, which together form the EU’s legislature; and (c) judicial control is secured by the European Court of Justice. The article traces the historical origins and evolution of the Community method and assesses its continuing relevance against the background of alternative ways of decision making and coordination such as “intense transgovernmentalism” or “deliberative intergovernmentalism” in which the European Council plays the leading role.

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Riccardo Trobbiani

This policy brief analyses the key shortcomings of EU cultural cooperation in the ENP South and proposes recommendations for reform. It looks at both the strategies and instruments in place. Euro-Mediterranean cultural relations lack strategic thinking. On the one hand, EU policies on cultural cooperation fail to design a region-specific plan. On the other hand, EU external policies including the ENP do not clarify the role of culture and its relative importance vis-à-vis other foreign policy tools. Partially because of this lack of strategy, EU action remains short-termed, based on a donor-recipient relationship and under-resourced compared to its objectives.

​Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

Africa is (back) in sight. The belatedly formed coalition government in Germany, alongside the governments of France and the United Kingdom, has made ‘Africa’ a central focus of its political rhetoric. Numerous initiatives, from knowledge exchange to security exercises, stretch from the Sahel to South Africa. Translating these disparate endeavours into strategic policy can shape future perspectives and partnerships between the Europe, the European Union and Africa. This Policy Brief introduces key elements of the contemporary strategic context to offer a number of recommendations for a mutually useful re-engagement between the EU and the African Continent.

Richard Higgott

The European Union’s (EU) universities and their provision of higher education (HE) to international students remains one of its most powerful global development and cultural assets.   It operates a wide-ranging set of strategies to assist Africa in enhancing the quality and quantity of its HE. But an 8% average enrolment rate across all sub-Saharan African nations is still much lower than the average of 20-40% for all other developing regions, Currently, only one percent of total African GDP is spent on higher education.  Africa will not grow its graduate labour force relying solely on its public universities and/or public support from international bodies like the EU.  International private provision must play a greater role. Yet EU’s strategy towards HE in Africa fails to understand or to engage the private sector to help grow the number of Africans undertaking tertiary study.  There has been no effort to learn from the success of international private provision in Asia. This study identifies the benefits and opportunities of international private provision and proposes a set of next steps as part of a targeted ‘strategy of engagement’ for greater international private involvement in higher education in Africa. The EU currently does not, but needs, to play a role in these next steps.

One year from his election, Moon Jae-in is a very popular president with approval ratings hovering around 80 per cent. The reason for his popularity is, to an extent, fairly simple: he has followed the promises that he made during last year’s election campaign. This refers both to domestic affairs and inter-Korean relations. With regards to the former, President Moon has been implementing a series of job boosting measures. He wants to address a perceived lack of good-quality jobs. Furthermore, his government is seeking to improve social equality. President Moon is thus addressing one of the major grievances among many South Koreans – namely the perception that those in power play by a different set of rules. On inter-Korean relations, President Moon is implementing an engagement policy that has helped to ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula and put South Korea in the driving seat.

Eliza Northrop
Sebastian Oberthür

The Project for Advancing Climate Transparency (PACT) consortium supports the design and development of robust and effective transparency and accountability rules and processes for the Paris Agreement on climate change. This working paper examines the mechanism to facilitate implementation and promote compliance under Article 15 of the Paris Agreement and presents options for developing the key elements of the relevant modalities and procedures.