News from the IES

The arrival of GDPR, the growing EU involvement in cybersecurity, and the regulation of ‘fake news’ are but a few examples of the rapidly increasing importance of data law in society. As a frontrunner in international and European law, the Institute for European Studies now offers its LLM students the opportunity to specialise in this exciting area of law (starting in the 2018-19 academic year).

In the context of the SOURCE project, an IES team consisting of Ólöf Soebech, Irina van der Vet and Florian Lang designed a 90-page E-Handbook on Societal Security Crises and Emergency Response in Europe. The e-handbook is an innovative educational tool for first responders managing crises in the area of societal security. It features six multi-media case-studies coming from different parts of Europe, namely: Austria, Sweden, Belgium, and Spain. The case-studies explore and re-construct strategies and actions of first response professionals involved in management of socio-political emergencies and natural disasters. In addition to texts, the interactive content includes educational assignments and video interviews, in which professionals, who took on key roles in the crisis management and emergency response, share their experiences.

The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) published its 2017 Annual Report. UNU-CRIS has a strong bond with the Institute for European Studies, since it signed an agreement in 2016 with Ghent University and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel which marked the start of a new partnership.

In 2017, UNU-CRIS organized several academic sessions and a research seminar series, welcomed its first PhD Fellows, launched the research project AMIREG, and continued working on RIKS and the European funded project EL-CSID. UNU-CRIS engaged actively with policy-makers and civil society. The institute generated a steady output with no less than nine books and 20 book chapters. 

In the framework of his MSCA research project “The role of national parliaments in the Arab transformation processes”, IES researcher Dr Jan Claudius Völkel spent two weeks for research in Egypt recently. Besides meetings and discussions with high-level observers of, and experts on, the Egyptian parliament, the main purpose of his stay, he also gave two lectures on different topics at prestigious Political Science departments.

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.