News from the IES

This event is organized by the KF-VUB Korea Chair and Wilson Center’s Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy as part of the 2020 Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity: Reinventing Multilateral Security.  

Joining us for this discussion are Joseph YUN of the U.S. Institute of Peace who is  a former U.S. special representative for North Korea policy and deputy assistant secretary for Korea and Japan and has worked in both the Obama and Trump administrations; Jean H. LEE, a former AP journalist who opened the news agency’s Pyongyang bureau; KIM Joonhyung, chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy; KIM Jiyoon, political analyst and talk show host; and Ramon PACHECO PARDO, Korea Chair at the Institute for European Studies, VUB. 

Governments around the world are responding with extensive economic stimulus packages to the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The design of these economic stimulus packages will also determine central framework conditions for future climate policy: The stimulus packages can either provide a strong impetus for a climate-friendly economy or cement unsustainable economic practices. In their new article "Harnessing international climate governance to drive a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," Sebastian Oberthür (IES), Wolfgang Obergassel and Lukas Hermwille (both Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy) discuss how international climate policy can contribute to a green recovery.

The article was published in the journal Climate Policy and is a further developed version of a July 2020 Policy Brief published in the framework of the Jean Monnet Network GOVTRAN, in which the IES teams up with Ghent University, the University of East Anglia, and the University of Eastern Finland.

The European Commission has selected the RePAST project as one out of six success stories of EU social sciences and humanities funded projects. The selection of RePAST reflects the high quality of research work done at Vesalius College and the Institute for European Studies (IES). Prof. George Terzis conducts research for the project on the role of art and cultural diplomacy in conflict resolution and writes policy recommendations for an EU strategy on the above with the engagement of a large number of stakeholders. The project has already received coverage in quality European press and it was the only one awarded funding in one of the most competitive EU H2020 calls in 2017 (CULT-COOP-02) where 63 consortia competed. 

From 1 to 12 February 2021, the IES will organise the very first edition of its online Jean Monnet Winter School on EU Policy-Making, in collaboration with its partners the University of Vienna and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. This Winter School will build on the long-standing expertise of the similar (offline) Summer School that the IES and its partners have organised for almost 20 years.

On 1 October 2020, the newly established Japan Program officially started its activities at the VUB’s Institute for European Studies (IES). Set up with the support of the Japan Foundation, the Program aims to enhance awareness of Japan’s foreign and security policy, steer the European debate on current security issues in East Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region, as well as to promote Japan’s cooperation with the EU and NATO.

The European legislation establishing the climate and energy policy framework for 2030 introduces 'energy communities' as a major innovation in order to advance renewable energy and the energy transition. Under the relevant EU Directives, the applicable provisions have to be transposed into national law this year. To support this process in Flanders and Belgium, part of the Flemish funded Flux 50 project called ‚ROLECS‘, or, Roll Out of Local Energy Communities, explores the existing legal frameworks for energy communities at national level and how these could be adapted to comply with European requirements and to facilitate the creation and development of energy communities.

On 9 October 2020 Laura Westerveen successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled "Ethno-racial (In)equality in Belgium and Germany: Understanding Policy Frames”. Laura’s dissertation explores the framing of inequalities along ethno-racial lines in policy discourses. In particular, it identifies different types of ‘policy frames’ surrounding these inequalities in Belgian and German education and employment policies. 

On Tuesday 29 September, the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development launched their global report, “Balancing Act: Countering digital disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.” This research was led by Prof. Kalina Bontcheva (University of Sheffield)  and Dr. Julie Posetti (International Center for Journalists) along with international researchers and contributing authors, including Prof. Trisha Meyer (VECO-IES). The work charts the wide range of responses to disinformation across the world, focusing on the effects of these measures on freedom of opinion and expression.

The Second Summer School on Modern Diplomacy: Across Actors, Levels and Tracks was co-organised by UNU-CRIS and the Diplomatische Akademie Wien, in collaboration with the Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs, Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), and was held virtually from 24 August to 4 September 2020.


In September 2020, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its Roma and Travellers Survey 2019, covering six countries: Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. The survey includes interviews with almost 4,700 Roma and Travellers, collecting information on more than 8,200 individuals living in their households. IES Postdoctoral Researcher Serena D’Agostino is the author of the Country Report on Belgium, in which she outlines that the access to both justice and education is particularly problematic for Roma and Travellers. Travellers children are, for instance, highly affected by the existing Dutch and French speaking education systems, where the lack of inclusive education based on case-by-case assessments contributes to their marginalisation. She also highlights that in the reported period the evictions of Travellers have repeatedly occurred in the three Belgian regions - such as in July 2019, when the commune of Anderlecht (Brussels) sent in police to clear out a site where some 30 people, including ten children and babies, resided.