The IES Spring Lecture Series: The EU as a Diplomatic Actor

The EU as a Diplomatic Actor:
Policies, Processes and Performance

This lecture series examines the European Union’s ability to influence international negotiations, policies and outcomes in a wide range of policy-fields. Whilst the ‘EU as an international actor’ has become a widely studied focus point for an increasing number of scholars, there is still an acute demand for a better understanding of the actual mechanisms, processes and effectiveness of the EU’s diplomatic approach in the international arena.

To this end, the lecture series seeks to shed light on the EU’s effectiveness and actual performance in engaging as a diplomatic actor bilaterally or multilaterally in the fields of international security, human rights, environment and climate change as well as trade and finance. Particular emphasis will be placed on the EU’s diplomatic capabilities for generating effective policy outcomes with and within core international organizations and multilateral fora.

To understand the role of the EU as a diplomatic actor, the lecture series aims to analyze systematically the relevant internal and external processes of the EU as well as the Union’s actual effectiveness and impact across the aforementioned four policy fields. Furthermore, the series of lectures will examine core processes and dynamics of the EU as a diplomatic actor at the individual, the member state, the organizational, the inter-organizational and the external international levels.

The lecture series seeks to assess the EU’s actual diplomatic practice and performance during the last decade. The changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty will form an important aspect and particular focus, including the roles of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service, as well as other changes relating to the external representation of the EU.

All lectures will be conducted in English. The lecture series is free and open to all, but registration is required here.

This lecture series is organised in cooperation with Vesalius College (

Gjovalin Macaj,
VUB Department of Political Science and IES

Joachim Koops,
Vesalius College and IES

Sebastian Oberthür,
Institute for European Studies (IES)



All lectures take place on Tuesday from 6pm until 8pm at the Campus of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels.

  • Tuesday 15 February 2011 - Room D.0.07
    Introduction to the lecture series by Joachim Koops, Vesalius College and IES
    Inter-organisational Aspects of the EU as a Diplomatic Actor
    Rafael Biermann,  University of Jena
  • Tuesday 22 February 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The European Union as a Diplomatic Actor in the Post-Lisbon Era
    Michael Smith, University of Loughborough
    Steven Everts, EEAS, Cabinet of High Representative Ashton
  • Tuesday 1 March 2011 - Room D.2.01
    Evaluating the Impact of  EU Diplomacy: Pitfalls and Challenges
    Niels van Willigen, University of Leiden
    Antonio Missiroli, European Commission, Bureau of European Policy Advisers
  • Tuesday 8 March 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The EU's Diplomatic Engagement in the Security Council and General Assembly
    Edith Drieskens, Clingendael Institute and Leuven University
    Fernando Andresen Guimarães, European External Action Service
  • Tuesday 15 March 2011 - Room D.0.07
    The Politics of Visibility: the EU's CSDP Missions as Public Diplomacy
    Joachim Koops, Vesalius College and IES
    Gabor Horvath
    , European Union Military Staff
  • Tuesday 29 March 2011 - Room D.0.03
    The EU as a Diplomatic Actor in the Western Balkans
    Dominik Tolksdorf, Vesalius College and Global Governance Institute
    Tobias Flessenkemper, European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Tuesday 5 April 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The EU's Role and Performance within the G20 in light of the Financial Crisis
    Peter Debaere, University of Ghent
    Joost Korte, Director, Relations with the Council, European Commission
  • Tuesday 12 April 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The European Union as an International Trade Negotiator
    Hubert Zimmerman, University of Marburg
    Frank Hoffmeister, European Commission, Cabinet of Trade Commissioner De Gucht

  • Tuesday 19 April 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The EU's Human Rights Diplomacy: practice and challenges
    Karen Smith, London School of Economics
    Edward McMillan-Scott, Vice-President of the European Parliament, responsible for Democracy and Human Rights
  • Tuesday 3 May 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The 'one voice' problématique: a critical assessment of the EU as a Diplomatic Actor at the UN Human Rights Council
    Gjovalin Macaj, VUB Department of Political Science and IES
    Joëlle Hivonnet, European Union Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva

  • Tuesday, 10 May 2011 - Room D.2.01
    The EU as an Environmental Actor
    John Vogler, University of Keele
    Matthias Buck, European Commission, Cabinet of Environment Commissioner Poto─Źnik
    We're sorry to inform you that Steven Vanackere has canceled his participation in this lecture.
  • Tuesday 17 May 2011 - Room D.2.01
    After Copenhagen and Cancun: Lessons Learned and Ways Ahead for EU Climate Diplomacy
    Robert Falkner, London School of Economics
    Baptiste Legay, European Commission, DG Climate Action
  • Tuesday 24 May 2011 - Room D.0.07
    Diplomatic Impact in Reverse: The Influence of International Institutions on the EU as a Diplomatic Actor
    Oriol Costa, University of Barcelona
    The EU Diplomacy in Global Governance: Lessons and Challenges Ahead
    Knud Erik Jørgensen, University of Aarhus