Recent Publications

Tomas Wyns
Gauri Khandekar
Isobel Robson

The “Industrial Value Chain: A Bridge towards a Carbon Neutral Europe” report was conducted by the Institute for European Studies (IES-VUB) on the behalf of the EU’s Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) to the EU Commission’s Strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The report identifies common opportunities and challenges faced by European EIIs in meeting ambitious climate targets, highlights the constructive and solutions-oriented role that the EIIs have been playing, determines a combination of key solutions that will help EIIs to significantly reduce their emissions, as well as addresses the necessary conditions for ensuring that Europe is at the forefront of the energy and industrial transformation. The report outlines a new and integrated EU industrial strategy for EIIs as part of a competitive low-CO2 transition, and underscores that an EU strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emission reductions will only be successful if it fully embeds an industrial strategy. 

Irina Angelescu
Florian Trauner

Angelescu, Irina and Florian Trauner (2018): 10,000 border guards for Frontex: why the EU risks conflated expectations. Policy Brief. Brussels: European Policy Centre (EPC), 21 September 2018.

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Chantal Lavallée
Ilke Adam
Tiziana Caponio

In this chapter we undertake a literature review of the emerging and burgeoning literature on the multi-level governance (MLG) of migration and immigrant integration policy. Since only very few studies in the migration policy field have explicitly adopted the MLG conceptual tools, we adopt a broad definition of MLG as the process of dispersion of authority away from the nation-state and across interdependent, and yet autonomous, public authorities and non-governmental organisations placed at different levels of government. We argue that existing MLG-relevant research looks like two reversed pyramids. While studies on migration policy mostly focus on the interaction in upper governmental tiers, namely between international organisations (including the EU) and the state, research on the MLG of migrant integration is mostly situated at lower tiers of government, namely between the state and the local authorities and/or regions. Beyond differences between the subfields of the MLG of migration and migrant integration, the chapter also sheds light on different research foci of North American and European research.


ADAM, Ilke and CAPONIO, Tiziana (2018) Research on the Multi-Level Governance of Migration and Migrant Integration. Reversed Pyramids in Weinar, A., Bonjour, S. and Zhynormirska, L. Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe, London : Routledge

Ilke Adam

The study of territorial politics has enjoyed a renaissance in the last thirty years. Scholars have questioned the state-centric assumptions upon which mainstream social science has been built, pointing to the territorial (re)distribution of power across and within states. 

This Handbook brings together leading scholars to demonstrate how territory has shaped institutional structures, public policies, elections, political parties, and identity across the world. Offering theoretical, comparative and empirical insights, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of territory on modern political, economic and social life.


ADAM, Ilke  (2018), Immigration and Sub-State Nations. Theorizing the Nexus, in Detterbeck, K. and Hepburn, E., Handbook on Territorial Politics, Cheltenham - Northampton: Edgar Elgar Publishing.

John Hemmings
Ramon Pacheco Pardo
Tat Yan Kong

The KF-VUB Korea Chair, Henry Jackson Society and London Asia Pacific Centre for Social Science launched a new report yesterday on “Negotiating the peace: Diplomacy on the Korean Peninsula”, co-authored by Dr Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Dr John Hemmings and Dr Tat Yan Kong. It presents the outcome of a two-panel round table that was hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies, Kings College London and the Henry Jackson Society earlier this year. As both Koreas meet for a third time next week and North Korea and the USA discuss to continue to meet bilaterally in an attempt to resolve the nuclear issue, it is important to understand what every member of the Six-Party Talks – the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), the USA, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), China, Japan and Russia – wants to gain from the negotiations and their negotiating strategies.
 This new country-by-country analysis assesses each player’s negotiating aims and objectives and, in this way, reveals where opportunities and challenges might lie in the process of North Korean peace-bargaining. It identifies that the Libya Model won’t work and any process will involve step-by-step disarmament for sanctions relief. If incentives are right, North Korea could be willing to swap nukes for cash. A peace regime and substantial economic support will probably come near the end of the process. Thus, full-scale economic development will have to wait for sanctions-relief to be close to completion.

The report is now available for download.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo

The EU has an important role to play in the management of the threat posed by North Korea. Indeed, Brussels already has a policy of ‘critical engagement’ towards Pyongyang which combines diplomatic and economic carrots with a number of sticks. This policy, however, is in need of an update to attend to two recent developments on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea’s status as a de facto nuclear power and the flurry of engagement and diplomacy involving North Korea—including top-level meetings with the US, South Korea and China.

In this context, the EU should support its partners, South Korea and the US, as they launch a process that could lead to sustainable engagement with North Korea, denuclearisation, and, as a result, a more stable Korean Peninsula. Working with its partners, Europe should creatively use its power of engagement and cooperation to change behaviour. This will enhance the position of the EU as a constructive actor in Asian affairs, support efforts by the US and South Korea to engage North Korea and, ultimately, offer a better opportunity for the EU to achieve its goals.

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Trisha Meyer
Ólöf Söebech
Jamal Shahin

When does use of an energy monitor lead to a sustainable lifestyle? This paper presents the preliminary results of a local politically-endorsed smart energy project with 136 households in Brussels, Belgium. The aim of the project is to help citizens reduce their electricity consumption at home through use of an energy monitor, knowledge exchange and gamification (engagement) techniques.

September 2018
Koert Debeuf

War is coming. In Tribalization Koert Debeuf depicts war as an inevitable outcome should the current decreasing of democracy and globalization continue. To describe this worldwide process towards more authoritarian nationalism and fundamentalism The author coins the term tribalization to describe this worldwide process, towards a more authoritarian nationalism and fundamentalism, and reminds his readership of the highly similar 1930s. The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, the dangerous politics of world leaders like Vladimir Putin, and terrorism are but a few exponents of the worldwide tribalization process that is currently fuelling geopolitics. 

Leaving traditional explanations aside, Debeuf explains the continuous historical interaction between globalization and tribalization not merely as a economic or political phenomenon. Tribalization is collective psychology, it interrupts globalization when communities react to collective trauma by returning to their mythical, tribal past. Debeuf’s insights are based on history and psychology but also on his personal experience during the Arab Revolution, and during his previous political functions, both as an advisor to the former Belgian Prime Minister and as European Union official.

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Yamide Dagnet
Nathan Cogswell
Eliza Northrop
Niklas Höhne
Joe Thwaites
Cynthia Elliott
Neil Bird
Amy Kirbyshire
Sebastian Oberthür
Marcelo Rocha
Kelly Levin
Pedro Barata

The world’s governments are working toward a December 2018 deadline to adopt the foundational elements of the implementing guidelines to operationalize the 2015 Paris Agreement. This paper seeks to support negotiators by addressing the significant challenges and gaps that remain to achieving clear, robust, and cohesive guidelines. It provides both an overarching vision and practical suggestions for implementing the guidelines during every phase of the Paris Agreement’s implementation—planning, implementing, and reviewing. For each element of the Agreement that requires guidance—ranging from common timeframes and cooperative processes to communicating and reviewing national or collective progress—the authors identify core requirements alongside suggestions for crafting effective guidelines. 

Download the Working paper >>>