Jean Monnet Chair in EU Counter-Terrorism (EXACT) awarded to IES’ Christian Kaunert

Prof. Dr. Christian Kaunert, assisted by Mr Silviu Piros, leading a team of researchers from the Institute for European Studies (IES), has been awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in EU Counter-Terrorism (EXACT) for three years, starting from September 2017. Jean Monnet Chairs, as part of the prestigious Life Long Learning programme of the European Union, are very competitive, highly prestigious awards designed to undertake advanced research and teaching activities at a leading research organisation in Europe. Each award is worth € 50,000. This award underlines the research prestige of the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, at the back of another Jean Monnet Chair awarded to Prof Dr Harri Kalimo in 2016. In total, the IES has been awarded 3 Jean Monnet Chairs, with two Chairs unprecedentedly running at the same time. This strongly fits with the IES’ mission of delivering research-based and cutting-edge education in the field of EU studies.

The new Jean Monnet Chair will be centred on the EU policy area of Counter-Terrorism, which has often been overlooked in European integration and therefore underlines the innovative character of the project and its aims. EXACT provides research-led excellence in teaching and learning at the intersection of two fundamental areas of EU policy - the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (formerly known as Justice and Home Affairs) and EU counter-terrorism policy and law (also within the Common Foreign and Security Policy, notably in relation to counter-terrorist financing). The Chair advances cutting-edge blended learning formats, distance-learning, strong inter-disciplinarity and policy relevance by creating three new courses contributing to the creation of a full Masters programme in EU Governance by distance learning – the first such Masters programme in Belgium, and one of the very few in Europe as a whole. These events will lead to significant research outputs.

The proposed project is both relevant and timely for several reasons. The ‘EU acquis’ on EU Justice and Home Affairs has grown significantly over the past years; a majority of Union citizens, according to Eurobarometer (1997-2017) periodic surveys, increasingly feel that EU-level actions have an added value compared to those taken solely at a national level and two thirds of citizens support EU-level actions in the fight against organised crime, irregular migration and terrorism. The detailed analyses of EU policy-making in European internal security will be of profound benefit for representatives of the EU member states’ diplomatic and home affairs establishment. This will also provide further insights into the policy-making of the most dynamic policy area of the European Union, and the workings of the European institutions. It has practical relevance for EU officials and national officials working for national ministries and embassies in Brussels.