Recent Publications

Fausta Todhe

By bundling the manifold policy expertise of the researchers of the Institute for European Studies (IES), this paper forms part of a series of analyses investigating the potential implications of a ‘Brexit’ scenario for different EU policies. All papers ask the same three questions: 1) What is the state of the EU policy in focus? 2) What is the UK’s role/interest in this policy field? 3) What are the potential implications of a ‘Brexit’ scenario at the policy-level?
After Claire Dupont and Florian Trauner introduce the project, Richard Lewis sets the historical and cultural context and explains how the UK and the EU have come to such a low-point in their relations. Next, five policy fields are analysed: justice and home affairs; free movement policies; EU external representation; the (digital) single market; and environmental policy.

By bundling the manifold policy expertise of the researchers of the Institute for European Studies (IES), this paper forms part of a series of analyses investigating the potential implications of a ‘Brexit’ scenario for different EU policies. All papers ask the same three questions: 1) What is the state of the EU policy in focus? 2) What is the UK’s role/interest in this policy field? 3) What are the potential implications of a ‘Brexit’ scenario at the policy-level?
After Claire Dupont and Florian Trauner introduce the project, Richard Lewis sets the historical and cultural context and explains how the UK and the EU have come to such a low-point in their relations. Next, five policy fields are analysed: justice and home affairs; free movement policies; EU external representation; the (digital) single market; and environmental policy.

Svitlana Kobzar

This Policy Brief is the first of a two-part feature that examines Russia’s ability to influence French, German and EU narratives on the Minsk II agreement and Ukraine’s evolving position in the international system. This first Policy Brief will focus on the competing Russian and Ukrainian narratives surrounding Minsk II. Thus, it will examine Russia’s efforts to portray Ukraine as a ‘failed state’ and a ‘semi-sovereign’ subject, and to blame the West for provoking a ‘civil war’ in the country. It also outlines Ukraine’s counter-narratives that emphasise its sovereignty and the inter-state nature of its war with Russia.

Sijbren de Jong

Whereas the EU typically views regional integration as a vehicle for positive change, Russia has repeatedly tried to portray European integration as a malign force. Whereas the European Commission prefers to operate as a Union of 28 states, Russia by contrast, prefers to employ a tactic of ‘divide and rule’ whereby it either aims at weakening the centre (Brussels) by playing off one Member State against the other, or undermine EU cohesion and coherence as a whole. This Policy Brief analyses two domains where these competing narratives meet in closer detail: (i) how Russia engages in patterns of information and disinformation to spin certain narratives about Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas imports, which can in turn undermine the EU’s efforts to create an Energy Union, and (ii) how the Kremlin draws on Eurosceptic political parties and stakeholders in support of certain narratives that advance its political goals of undermining the EU’s cohesion and coherence.

Ben Nimmo

One of the key challenges in countering information warfare is identifying when it is taking place. The concept of disinformation is widely understood and has been exhaustively defined; however, the currently available definitions do not allow for the operational identification of disinformation in a sufficiently rapid manner to allow for effective countermeasures. This Policy Brief argues that the essence of disinformation is the intent to deceive. While such an intent is difficult to prove, it can be inferred by reference to three key criteria, termed the “ABC approach”. These criteria are: the accuracy of factual statements, balance in reporting and the credibility of the sources chosen. This ABC approach is intended to give academics, analysts and policy-makers an operational method to determine whether disinformation has been committed in a given sense.

Marie Lamensch
Edoardo Traversa
Servaas van Thiel

UCOTAX Series on European Taxation Volume 46

A fast-growing portion of overall taxable consumption is now realized via online supplies and this ‘digital economy’ is a virtual reality in which suppliers and consumers conclude numerous transactions unrestrained by time and place. The contrast with traditional sales tax and value added tax (VAT) systems, which are based on a physical supply between parties, could not be more evident. Among jurisdictions worldwide, the European Union (EU) took the lead in designing a legal framework for VAT on electronically supplied goods and services. This book, with contributions by internationally re-owned academics, revenue officials, and tax advisors, provides a broad and up-to-date overview of the EU 2015 rules, and an analysis of such elements as the gradual realization of the destination principle, the fight against e-commerce fraud, and simplification of compliance obligations by means of the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS). Topics covered include the VAT dimension of:

· the digital ‘fixed establishment’;
· businesses as tax collectors;
· auditing under MOSS;
· Internet search engines;
· virtual currencies (such as bitcoins);
· cloud computing; and
· technology-based solutions for the assessment and collection of VAT on online supplies.
Relevant EU legislation is annexed. Because of its clear and practical analysis to these issues, this book will appeal to tax authorities and counsel who need to ensure proper taxation of online supplies at destination with the least possible administrative costs and the lowest possible compliance burdens. Because of its forward looking approach it is a ‘must’ for all public and private sector professionals concerned with VAT.

ISBN: 9789041166128

Pages: 272

SKU: 9041166122

Giacomo Orsini

The refugee crisis that unfolded in Europe in the summer of 2015 questions the effectiveness of European border and refugee policies. The breakdown of the Dublin and Schengen rules due to chaotic situations at the borders in the Balkans marks a critical juncture for the EU. We consider this breakdown as a consequence of a long-lasting co-operation crisis among EU Member States. The most recent Council decision responds to this co-operation crisis (Council Decision 12098/15). This Policy Brief analyses EU policy and politics and argues that plans for refugee relocation and reception centres as well as the use of qualified majority voting in the Council can unfold a dynamic that helps to solve the co-operation crisis. However, underlying the problems of co-operation and effectiveness is the EU’s border paradox: while EU border policy works towards refugee deterrence, EU asylum policy aims at refugee protection. The EU’s approach in regulating borders and asylum can be understood in terms of ‘organised hypocrisy’ (Brunsson, 1993). Reconciling the paradox calls for overcoming such hypocrisy.

 

Claire Dupont

Climate change is a cross-cutting, long-term, global problem that presents policymakers with many challenges in their efforts to respond to the issue. Integrating climate policy objectives into the elaboration and agreement of policy measures in other sectors represents one promising method for ensuring coherent policies that respond adequately to the climate change challenge.

This book explores the integration of long-term climate policy objectives into EU energy policy. It engages in-depth empirical analysis on the integration of climate policy objectives into renewable energy policy; energy performance of buildings; and policies in support of natural gas importing infrastructure. The book describes insufficient levels of climate policy integration across these areas to achieve the long-term policy goals. A conceptual framework to find reasons for insufficient integration levels is developed and applied.

This book is a valuable resource for students, researchers, academics and policymakers interested in environmental, climate change and energy policy development in the EU, particularly from the perspective of long-term policy challenges. The book adds to scholarly literature on policy integration and EU integration, and contributes to new and developing research about EU decarbonisation.

Martina Belmonte

This Policy Brief reviews the implementation of the EU Blue Card (BC) Directive in Member States and offers some suggestions on how to improve its potential. Firstly, it traces back the origin of the current partitioned approach in labour migration and the objectives that an EU labour migration policy should achieve according to the Commission. Secondly, it reports on the content of the directive and its implementation in Member States. Thirdly, there is an analysis of the weaknesses of the directive in terms of numbers of BCs issued and harmonization achieved. Finally, recommendations are put forward on how to improve EU labour migration policy.

May 2015
annual report

Executive Summary

Whereas 13 is usually associated with bad luck, our Institute can, on the verge of its 13th birthday, look back at good fortune, albeit that this fortune was only possible through hard work and good investments. These investments - in quality researchers and postdoctoral staff – have come to fruition in 2014. The Institute awarded no less than six new PhDs in the course of the year, bringing the total number of awarded PhDs from 13 up to 19, while a total of 60 students obtained their advanced Masters diploma. The Institute also initiated three new PhD projects. Output-wise, IES researchers contributed to more than 90 scientific articles, of which 56 peer-reviewed.

With the organisation of the fourth edition of the EU in International Affairs Conference (EUIA) at the Royal Flemish Academy for Arts and Sciences, the Institute confirmed its position as a major academic player in the European field, attracting more than 300 top scholars from all over the world, as well as several high level European and international policy-makers and other stakeholders.

The Institute delivered further services to the wider Flemish and European community via the organisation of over 70 other events in the past year – most of which were open to the public. With nearly 50 media appearances in national and international press, IES researchers and staff saw to an ever increasing visibility of the institute, providing service to the wider community.

The Institute did not grow in quantity - its amount of employed FTEs hardly changed over the past year - yet it definitely grew in quality. Building on its four research clusters (EFSP, Environment & Sustainable Development, Migration Diversity & Justice, and European Economic Governance) and its Educational Development Unit, the Institute contributed to more than 45 academic research and/or teaching projects (of which more than 30 externally funded). This was also reflected at the income side of our accounts, as the Institute was able to obtain more than 45% of its funding from non- governmental sources (half of which stems from externally funded projects).