News from the IES

Financing research and development programmes have never been more expensive in Europe. Defence budgets are on the wane, international competition is fierce and high-end technologies are increasingly expensive. Europe’s defence-industrial base is under significant strain, and options are needed to fund elements of a sector that is still crucial to Europe’s security and industry. This Policy Brief argues that the European Investment Bank could play a much greater role in Europe’s defence sector.

The European Commission published a feasibility study on the technological options and the possible “governance framework” necessary for the deployment and management of the Global Internet Policy Observatory.

2014 represents a strategic crossroads for NATO. To encourage debate in the policy and academic communities, the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Royal United Services Institute and NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division organised a workshop on 30 June in Brussels. In discussing present challenges and paving a way forward for NATO, the workshop saw high-level participants come together for a stimulating and in-depth strategic debate. The event showcased a special feature that was published with the RUSI Journal in advance of the Alliance's Summit in Wales, 4-5 September 2014, with contributions from IES Researchers Alexander Mattelaer and Luis Simón.

Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh), a former PILC (now LLM in International and European Law) student who graduated in 1987, has been nominated for the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. This prize is awarded by the International Human Rights Community and given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to provide protection through international recognition.

The SOURCE Network of Excellence on societal security organized a sector survey meeting with high-ranking experts from different fields at the VUB on 5 June 2014. About 20 invited representatives from different professions and institutions, including partners of the SOURCE consortium discussed a number of security problems and solutions, following a structured approach of decision support for security solutions, based on the DESSI method.

The IES was present for the successful kick-off meeting of the TEMPUS project 'Innovating Teaching and Learning of European Studies' (INOTLES) on 12 February in Maastricht. The partners are now working on the first substantive Work Package aimed at mapping the state of the art in teaching European Studies.The IES is one of nine partners of the consortium led by the University of Maastricht and involving universities from the UK, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The SOURCE project, of which the IES is a partner, “Virtual centre of excellence for research support and coordination on societal security" held its kick-off meeting in Brussels on 28 January 2014 thereby officially launching the five-year project funded by the EU FP7 programme.

In recent months, the migratory impacts of environmental degradation and climate change have gained increased worldwide attention. In response to the publication of the EC Staff Working Document on Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Migration, this policy brief critically outlines current themes and issues that surround this global phenomenon, specifically the findings of current international research which frame the discussions on terminology and current legal, political and institutional conceptual debates.

New book on European Crisis Response Operations

How do European armed forces generate the desired political effects in containing crises? In his new book, The Politico-Military Dynamics of European Crisis Response Operations, Alexander Mattelaer argues that modern operations rely on a strategic template based on deterrence and capacity-building. The book appeared in the new "European Union in International Affairs" series published by Palgrave Macmillan and institutionally supported by the IES.