News from the IES

On 5 December Silviu was invited to speak at the NORTIA Practitioner-Academic Roundtable ‘EU Foreign Policy Cooperation: Quo Vadis EU Diplomacy in the EaP?’ event held at Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. The roundtable brought together practitioners and academics to discuss the role and practice of EU diplomacy in achieving the goals of the EU Global Strategy in building state and societal resilience in the neighbourhood, of engagement in a practical and principled way of peacebuilding and supporting global governance around the world. 

IES researcher Jan Claudius Völkel organised an international conference on 15-16 December 2018 in Tunis with ca. 30 participants from different Arab countries, who were invited to discuss aspects of “Parliamentary work and scientific counselling” (so the conference theme) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The conference was one of the main deliverables of his EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship “The role of national parliaments in the Arab transformation processes”, that Jan is currently conducting at the IES [grant number 706113].

On 28 November, the European Commission launched its long term strategy for emission reductions, entitled ‘A clean planet for all – A European strategic long term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive an climate neutral economy’.

The EU Strategy document puts forward substantial emission reduction efforts by the industry as one of the crucial elements to reach the goal of a carbon neutral Europe by 2050. The European Commission is using insights from research and policy advice provided by the Institute for European Studies (IES) in two IES research reports commissioned by the EU.

Trisha Meyer (Assistant Professor at Vesalius College and Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute for European Studies) recently concluded a study on the use of artificial intelligence to combat disinformation online. The study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s STOA (Future of Science and Technology) panel and focuses on the consequences of automated content moderation for freedom of expression and media pluralism. On 13 December 2018, she presented the study with her co-author Chris Marsden (Professor of Internet Law at the University of Sussex) in Strasbourg.

Research internationalisation is vital for an open and modern university like the VUB. International research co-operation brings impact, visibility, quality, and (of course) funding. But internationalisation can have its dark sides: the problems of human rights violations, industrial espionage, and working with questionable regimes cannot be ignored, particularly when they touch the VUB community directly. During this session on 4 December, the VUB research community discussed the challenges of international collaboration with a panel of policy-makers.

The VUB educational services organize regular Get Inspired! -sessions to VUB staff, where peers present perspectives in educational and research practices to inspire one another. On Tuesday 4 December the session zoomed in on sharing practices on benchmarking of educational programmes; invited to speak in the session was IES professor Harri Kalimo.

On Tuesday 27.11. the European Parliament organized the 10th European Innovation Summit. These summits address hot topics on the EU’s policy agenda, highlighting developments in areas crucial for the Union’s competitiveness and sustainable development. The 10thSummit kicked off with a session “Tackling Microplastics with Sustainable Solutions”. Microplastics refer to the very small pieces of plastics that are either intentionally added to products (such as make-up, cleaners and toothpaste) or detach from larger plastic objects as they wear down (e.g. car tyres, textiles) or fragment over a longer period of time (e.g. plastic bottles). An interdisciplinary group of top scientists elaborated on the current state knowledge on microplastics in the 10th Summit. 

In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and with the support of the Institute for European Studies (IES/VUB), the ALL-YOUTH project calls on youth/young researchers to apply for the MasterClass: “The Future of the Council of Europe”. The session will take place on Monday 4 February 2019 at the Tampere University, Finland.

IES Research Professor Jamal Shahin gave a keynote speech at the Conference Finland 3.0 of the ALL-YOUTH project, held on 22-23 November at the University of Helsinki. Jamal’s presentation, entitled ‘Youth Participation in Internet Governance’, addressed the role of youth organizations in the global multistakeholderism dynamics of Internet governance. The session used interactive tools to engage the audience in a debate around how is the Internet governed, and why is it politically, economically and socially relevant. Jamal pointed at youth as an actor with a strong voice that has had a key role in the different fora with which the Internet has opened up to stakeholder participation. The session displayed several video testimonies of young people involved in the Internet governance through platforms such as the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) or the No Hate Speech Movement of the Council of Europe. In addition to Jamal’s intervention, the Conference included a keynote speech from prof. Ann Phoenix of the University College London entitled “Understanding Youth Wellbeing in Intersectional Perspective”. 

The prevention of violent radicalisation as part of counter-terrorism measures is a top priority of the European Union and national security agendas. In 2015 Belgium introduced promising reforms in countering radicalisation and terrorism that aimed at connecting not only intelligence, security and police services across different policy levels but also the multitude of other stakeholders representing the government and civil society. However, the implementation and further development of the Belgian approach to prevention of radicalisation remain contested in political and public debate.