News from the IES

Richard Lewis attended the Fourth International Conference on Immigration and Social Integration held at the Ruppin Academic Center in Israel May 23-24. Ruppin was founded in 1949 primarily as an agricultural college and has grown to around 4000 students studying a range of social sciences including migration. Faculty teach an MA course in migration and social integration which includes close cooperation with Tel Aviv University. Conference participants included 21 nationalities. Each country's flag flew on the campus including the Belgian tricolour!

From 11 to 13 May, the 5th biennial European Union in International Affairs conference (#EUIA16) took place in the Palace des Académies in Brussels. The conference was co-organised by the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the institut d’études européennes of the Université libre de Bruxelles, the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies and Egmont, the Royal Institute for International Relations. The conference brought together not less than 400 participants from 40 countries to discuss the role of the EU as an international actor. It included the presentation of more than 200 scientific papers and a series of high-level debates ranging from counter-terrorism to the upcoming Brexit vote.

Claire Dupont attended this year’s Joint Sessions of Workshops of the European Consortium for Political Research in Pisa, Italy. The Joint Sessions brought together hundreds of researchers in 24 workshops for intense and in-depth exchange. Claire participated in the workshop ‘Whither the Environment in Europe?’, which was directed by Anthony Zito (Newcastle University), Andrea Lenschow (Universität Osnabrück) and Charlotte Burns (University of York). 

Our PhD alumna Hannelore Goeman took the oath as new Member of the Brussels Parliament for SP.A.

Hannelore Goeman will take over from Elke Roex in the Brussels Parliament. Earlier, Elke Roex had announced that she would like to focus on her capacity as Councillor in the Brussels commune of Anderlecht. Up until now, Goeman was SP.A. Regional Secretary.

In 2012, Hannelore successfully defended her PhD thesis at the Institute for European Studies, in Political Science on Integrating integration: the Constitution of an EU Policy Domain on Migrant Integration (promoter Prof. Dr. Patrick Stouthuysen). Hannelore had been a researcher and an active member of the Migration and Diversity cluster at IES since 2008. 

After obtaining her PhD, Hannelore took up a position working for the cabinet of the Brussels City Council.

We had the pleasure of hosting eight great students from Hendrix College (Arkansas, USA) this semester. They participated in our Brussels Study Abroad Programme, which aims to provide undergraduate students with a well-rounded introduction into EU affairs. 

The programme includes four main academic components. The EU Redux course focuses on the basics of EU institutions and decision-making, as well as policy developments in topical areas such as data protection, defense, migration and climate change. Building on the EU Redux course, students also research an EU topic of interest with an IES supervisor, culminating in a final paper and presentation. Further, in order to gather first hand knowledge on EU affairs, students are offered an internship in EU politics, research and/or education. Examples of placement organizations are Carnegie Europe, the Global Governance Institute and the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA). Finally, students take a course of choice with our partner institution Vesalius College. If living in Brussels for five months and traveling across Europe isn’t enough, the international learning environment of Vesalius College provides a cross-cultural experience in itself. 

On 19 May 2016, the IES migration cluster organised a policy forum, which discussed the role of the EU’s home affairs agencies, notably Frontex, EASO and Europol, during the refugee crisis and the EU-Turkey deal. With the highest number of refugees in Europe since World War II, these agencies have moved to the centre of EU migration management.

The Panel featured four experts on the issues: one in-house expert, Prof. Dr. Florian Trauner, a research professor of the IES migration cluster, and three external experts: Daphné Bouteillet-Paquet, a senior legal officer of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), David Reisenzein who is the Frontex Liaison Officer in Brussels, and Michael Häuser, the head of Strategic & External Affairs at Europol. 

On May 26th, IES research professor Florian Trauner was invited to participate as a panelists at the event ‘EU-Turkey Agreement and Schengen’ organised by the College of Europe Development Office at the EU Committee of the Regions. He jointly discussed with Mr Selim Yenel, Ambassador of Turkey to the EU, Ms Kati Piri, a Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for Turkey, and Ms Amanda Paul from the European Policy Centre the opportunities and challenges of EU visa liberalisation for Turkey. 

On 25 May the Institute for European Studies published the report “Decarbonising Energy Intensive Industries: The Final Frontier”. The goal of this report was to identify options for deep greenhouse gas emission reductions by EU energy intensive industries. This type of greenhouse gas mitigation should bring emissions in these sectors down by at least 80% in 2050 compared to 1990 levels. That would be consistent with the EU’s long-term climate objective. Between 1990 and 2013, EU industry contributed significantly to the economy- wide emission reductions in the EU. This report illustrates that further deep emission reductions, up to -80% or more (compared to 1990 levels) are possible in each of the industries considered. This transition will also enable opportunities that can enhance the competitiveness of European industry. There is, however, no single silver bullet that will break through the final frontier for deep emission reductions in energy intensive industries. An economically attractive low-carbon transition will require the combination of three pillars. These are the process, product and business model transformations.

On Friday 3 June the IES will be hosting together with the Representation of the European Commission to Belgium an Expert Conference to debate the future of economic governance in Europe.

Delivering a deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union is one of the top 10 priorities of President Juncker in his Political Guidelines. The 5 Presidents' Report on Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union proposes an ambitious roadmap for completing EMU within the next decade by making progress towards four objectives:

  • Genuine Economic Union that ensures each economy has the structural features to prosper within the Monetary Union;
  • Financial Union that guarantees the integrity of our currency across the Monetary Union by limiting risks to financial stability and increasing risk-sharing with the private sector;
  • Fiscal Union that delivers both fiscal sustainability and fiscal stabilisation and; finally,
  • Political Union that provides the foundation for all of the above through genuine democratic accountability, legitimacy and institutional strengthening.

On May 12th, the EL-CSID project was officially launched at the EL-CSID Kick-Off Conference. The event was aimed at presenting the EL-CSID research agenda to the academic and policy communities and at gaining insights into the stakeholders’ views and expectations. Session one - a Roundtable Discussion on "European Cultural and Science Diplomacy: Policy Demands and Challenges" - provided room for interaction among the EL-CSID researchers and EU officers and policy-makers. Second Two - an Academic Panel on "European Cultural and Science Diplomacy: An Agenda for Research" - offered a platform for the EL-CSID researchers to discuss the early steps of their research on cultural and science diplomacy with an academic audience.