Recent Publications

Antoine Hatzenberger

This Policy Brief aims to understand how the EU’s endeavours in the fields of culture and scientific research have been received in Egypt and Tunisia, with the aim of developing a sustainable policy direction. After having identified examples of culture and science relations between the EU and MENA countries, the primary question was: What do the EU’s partners from the neighbouring countries in the South of the Mediterranean think of its approach to science, innovation and its enhancement of external cultural relations? The results of this study and the first conclusions of its analysis made it possible to make some recommendations to guide future EU policies.

Neil Collins
Kristina Bekenova

The bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and the nine European Union countries examined in this policy brief are characterised by the existence of large ethnic communities or “beached diasporas”.  In this policy brief, the European diasporas living in Kazakhstan are discussed in the context of European cultural diplomacy. The brief analyses their role and that of various specialised ethnic-cultural agencies in EU cultural diplomacy. It asks how the promotion of culture via diasporas can assist the EU in its cultural diplomacy.

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.