News from the IES

Planning your summer 2020? - Join this year’s Inter-University Summer School on EU Policy-making at the Institute for European Studies, VUB and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Explore both the old and the new centre of Diplomacy in Europe with this summer school. The intensive two-week programme is held one week in Brussels and one week in Vienna from Monday 6 to Friday 17 July 2020. 2020 Summer School theme is Analysing human security in today’s EU. Application is open! Don't miss the early-bird deadline of 15 March to get a 10% discount on the tuition fee! 
For more information, visit the Summer School website.

The 'European Union in International Affairs' (#EUIA20) has taken a next step in its organisation. It has accepted or rejected paper and panel proposals based on a thorough blind review process involving the members of our national and international steering committees. Each proposal was reviewed anonymously by at least two experts and graded independently each time, taking into account scientific quality, novelty and fit with the conference theme. The overall acceptance rate was 51 percent. #EUIA20 will take place from 27-29 May 2020. Regular updates on the organisation are provided at the conference website.

Congratulations to the newly elected Croatian president, Mr. Zoran Milanović! He is the latest example of alumni from the Advanced Master Programme on International Legal Cooperation  (known today as LLM in International and European Law), reaching the very highest positions in the judiciary, the EU institutions, law firms, companies and also in politics. The programme is taught at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Brussels. Mr Milanović previously served as Croatia’s Prime Minister (2011-2016).

On 18 and 19 November 2019, the Institute for European Studies of the VUB convened a closed-door expert meeting and a public roundtable on current challenges to extended deterrence in Europe and East Asia. The closed-door meeting on 18 November was attended by a number of policy-makers and experts from Europe and East Asia, and held under the Chatham House rule. Experts discussed the future of extended deterrence in Europe and East Asia from the perspective of the US allies.

What better way to engage the Youth in EU decision-making, than by reversing the roles and giving the baton in policy work to the youth itself? The students from IES’ LLM in International and European law (PILC) had this unique opportunity as a part of the ALL-YOUTH research project that IES researchers Ferran Davesa, Jamal Shahin and Harri Kalimo have been contributing to over the past two years under the lead of Tampere University. To actually chair a Council Working Party was an innovative way to break new ground on the matter. The PILC students had worked as four teams, facilitated by Prof Harri Kalimo,  on key themes of youth participation – online, social media, non-discrimination and education – and provided the Council experts their insights on what they considered as main barriers and bottlenecks in these areas, as well as policy solutions to solving them.

The Institute for European Studies (IES), Vesalius College (VeCo) in Brussels and the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) of the University of Warwick in the UK are offering a joint training programme on the Politics of International Development. 

The training will be held at the West Midlands Europe Hub in Brussels on Friday evening 17th January and all day Saturday 18th January 2020.

The training, aimed at early to mid-career professionals, will provide a solid introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals in context and detailed knowledge on the framing, implementation and implications of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peaceful, just and inclusive societies. It will take a critical approach to the dominant international development agenda. It will enable participants to situate the Sustainable Development Goals in an intellectual history of thinking on development, as well as the contemporary challenges of the pressures on multilateralism and resources and demands for evidence-based policy making.

In her speech to the European Parliament on 27.11, Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen highlighted the need to make the European internal market work better. She highlighted the need to open up the markets, while at the same time not leaving anyone behind. The challenge is to support a better functioning EU market, in particular on services, while making sure that the workers’ rights and professions are governed in fair and transparent fashion. A balance needs to be struck between the free movement of workers, services and establishment, on the one hand, and the regulation of professions, on the other. These themes were explored in great detail in 2-day training sessions on Free movement in the context of Professional Qualifications, offered by IES Professor Harri Kalimo, Professor Vassilis Hatzopoulos (Pantheion University, Athens) and researcher Lea Mateo, on 22.-23.10. and 4.-5.12. at the IES. The trainees were experts from the SOLVIT network, established by the Commission in 2001 to help companies and individuals with problems to operate across the borders. 

The Security and Defence subcommittee (SEDE) of the European Parliament is organizing a public hearing on “Opportunities and challenges of the use of Artificial Intelligence - enabled systems in security and defence”. The aim of the hearing is to assess the possible impact of AI on security and defence. AI is viewed as a new strategic enabler that can present a number of opportunities, but also challenges. In CSDP missions and operations, AI-enabled systems can be used in multiple ways to enhance EU’s capabilities. At the same time, the use of AI-systems in defence can also have non-desirable legal and ethical implications, in particular the potential lack of human oversight on the functioning and use of AI-enabled weapons could lead to actions violating international norms, and raise accountability concerns. The hearing will therefore look into ways on how to ensure ethically and legally sustainable use of AI in security and defence, taking into account recent EP’s call for the prohibition of lethal autonomous weapons.

Marie Lamensch, Research Professor of International and European Tax Law at the Institute for European Studies and the Law Faculty of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, has co-authored the second edition of the book “Taxing Global Digital Commerce”, with Arthur Cockfield (Queen’s University) and Walter Hellerstein (Georgia Law School). This new book includes a detailed and up-to-date analysis of income tax and VAT developments regarding digital commerce under the OECD and G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) reforms.

For the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission has proposed a new mega instrument in the area of external action that will make migration a key focus of the EU’s development cooperation. The nexus between migration and development will thus take centre stage in the EU’s engagement with third countries. In this context, it is interesting to look at current policies combining external migration governance with development cooperation. While the EU seems to assume that policies concerning migration and development cooperation are coherent, a closer look reveals that this is not always the case. Particularly concerning aid conditionality and the emphasis on short-term versus long-term goals, development cooperation and migration policies have different objectives, at times leading to incoherence in the EU’s external policies.