News from the IES

Korea-Foundation-VUB Korea Chair Dr. Ramon Pacheco Pardo has been invited to teach a course on 'EU and Asia' as part of Seoul National University's International Summer Institute. SNU is Korea's top university. As South Korea's first national university, Seoul National University has a tradition of standing up for democracy and peace on the Korean peninsula. Graduates have long served as public servants in key positions of the Korean government. In teaching, research, and public service, Seoul National University continues to set the standard of excellence. If you would like to find out more about the courses of the Seoul National University International Summer Institute, please visit this website.

In the framework of the Master of Arts in Transatlantic Affairs (MATA), jointly offered by the College of Europe and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), and in cooperation with the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project EL-CSID (European Leadership in Cultural, Science and Innovation Diplomacy), the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, is organising a workshop on "Soft Power in Transatlantic Relations" on 13 and 14 April 2018. Luk Van Langenhove, IES Academic Director and EL-CSID Scientific Coordinator, will draw concluding remarks. More information is available on conference website.

Following the University Council’s approval on 30 March 2018, the Annual Report 2017 of the IES is now available online. In its 15th anniversary year, the IES organised 33 public events, awarded 4 PhDs (bringing the total of PhDs awarded by the institute to 32), produced 117 publications, of which 24 peer-reviewed articles, and 25 book chapters, and collected 4 academic awards. Additionally, the IES also internally published 7 policy briefs, 2 policy papers and 7 working papers. Our Institute now counts 106 people or 48.9 full-time equivalents.

On 28 March 2017, the IES (VUB) and the IEE (ULB) co-organised a panel debate on the reform of the EU’s asylum system in the Ravenstein Gallery in the centre of Brussels. The event was part of the VUB-ULB initiative ‘’, which sought to improve the links between the Brussels-based universities and the city of Brussels. The guiding question for the event was: ‘Is the reform of the EU’s asylum system on track?’. It was debated by a high-level group of experts consisting of Prof. Philippe De Bruycker (IEE), Stefan Maier (UNHCR), Sara Silvestre (IES), Jihad Mustafa (VUB Refugee Student) and Dr. Leonhard den Hertog (Policy Advisor in the European Parliament). IES Prof. Florian Trauner moderated the discussion.

IES Professors Sebastian Oberthür and Florian Trauner were invited to teach one course each at the College of Europe’s Natolin Campus in Warsaw in the spring of 2018. Prof. Trauner taught a course on immigration, asylum and border management in the EU (jointly with Prof. Sandra Lavenex from the University of Geneva). Sebastian Oberthür engaged with students on the topic of international climate negotiations in February/March 2018, including a role play on 18 March. The College of Europe has a unique ‘flying faculty’ consisting of selected visiting academics and practitioners from Europe and beyond.  

In March, Klaudia Majcher, a PhD researcher in the Economic Governance Cluster, was invited by the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb to teach few sessions of the seminar ‘European Public Law and Global Mobility’ to a group of international students. The seminar is part of the Jean Monnet Chair called ‘Global Effects of EU Law’. The sessions discussed a range of contemporary legal issues such as Brexit, competition law enforcement in the technology sector, and protection of personal data in the age of digital globalization.

IES Professor Sebastian Oberthür gave a keynote presentation on “Polycentric Climate Governance: Challenges and Opportunities for the EU” at the Final Conclusions Meeting of the COST Action INOGOV, a pan-European network of research excellence dedicated to understanding policy and governance innovation for climate change, on 15 March 2018 in the Norway House in Brussels. 

Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Warwick to establish a double master’s in Politics, International Studies and European Integration

On Wednesday 28 March, Caroline Pauwels, rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and Stuart Croft, vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick in the UK, signed a collaboration agreement in the University of Warwick’s base in London’s Shard building. This is a remarkable move, as the consequences of Brexit for cooperation between European and British institutions are still not clear. The two universities are aiming to strengthen their ties – beginning with a joint master's programme in Politics, International Studies and European Integration.

The draft programme of the #EUIA18 conference is now published and available here. From May 16-18th, academics and policy-makers will discuss the international role of the EU. Around 290 academic papers will be discussed in the course of these three days. #EUIA18 will also feature a range of policy-link panels gathering senior policy-makers and EU politicians to discuss issues such as EU-UN relations, the future of European defence policy or the EU’s standing in the world. 

The German Bertelsmann Stiftung has today released its updated Transformation Index (BTI 2018). Every second year, the BTI measures political and economic progress in 129 transformation countries around the world and belongs to the most detailed comparative country analyses.

IES researcher Jan Claudius Völkel serves as the BTI’s Regional Coordinator Middle East & North Africa, and is hence responsible for the detailed assessment of 19 MENA countries, which stretch from Morocco in the West to Iran in the East, and from Turkey in the North to Sudan in the South. For this, he has organised and supervised the conduct of independent analyses by two renowned experts per country. The findings are worrying: overall, democracy has reached its lowest level ever in the MENA region, only Tunisia has stabilised its achievements since the 2011 revolution.