News from the IES

Effective 1 October 2019, the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Vesalius College (VeCo) have appointed Luc Soete as their new Dean. The appointment goes hand in hand with a change of statutes, which are now embedded in the VUB’s statutes thus enabling an alignment of management roles. Two other new appointees include Alexander Mattelaer who will take up the new function of Vice-Dean for Research of both institutions, while Sven Van Kerckhoven will take up the new role of Vice-Dean for Education. The IES-VeCo joint management team further consists of Executive Director Anthony Antoine and Assistant Executive Director Jacintha Liem.

Professor Richard Higgott of the IES produced a major report entitled “Civilisations, States and World Order: Where are We, Where are We Heading”. This new publication was commissioned by the Berlin based think tank Dialogue of Civilisation Research Institute in anticipation of the Rhodes Forum on 11-12 October 2019. The theme of the Forum is “ Global (Dis)Order: Towards Dialogue-Based World Views".

Prof. Dr. Caterina Carta (Director of Master Studies at Vesalius College and former project researcher at the IES) together with Prof. Dr. Richard Higgott (Emeritus Professor at the University of Warwick and Research Professor at the IES), have published a new book that explores European cultural diplomacy, a topic of growing interest across the scholarly and applied public policy communities. 

For decades, the Institute for European Studies (IES) and Vesalius College (VeCo) have built up strong reputations as frontrunners in education, research, and academic services on the international scene. Both being associated with Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), one of Belgium’s prime universities with a strong internationalisation focus, the IES and VeCo have decided to work together more closely as of the summer of 2019. 

Although both institutions remain independent, their combined resources and expertise in both European studies and global governance will create multiple synergies that their stakeholders will benefit from – not in the least the students in their academic programmes. 

Among the objectives composing the 2018 UN Global Compact for Migration, Objective 21 deals with the return of migrants to their countries of origin. This objective includes a reference to sustainable reintegration occurring when returnees have access to psycho-social assistance, justice and occupational prospects. The policy objective of sustainable reintegration apparently enjoys broad support in the face of some countries increasingly opposing the global governance of migration. Such support can be explained by making reference to sustainable reintegration’s potential to accommodate diverse interests and the limited monitoring of the programmes it underpins. 

The first joint publication of the EDGE Programme is finally out! The book “The Edges of Political Representation. Mapping, Critiquing and Pushing the Boundaries”, edited by VUB researcher Mihnea Tanasescu and former IES researcher Claire Dupont, provides a nuanced overview of what political representation means today and how it can be approached from an academic perspective. In line with one of the main scopes of the EDGE programme, namely building bridges between the Department of Political Science and the Institute for European Studies, this books collects a series of essays and reflections on political theory, political philosophy, party politics, electoral politics, feminism, European politics, minority politics and online governance.

On Wednesday 28 August, Ms. Carla Mascia successfully defended her PhD on the implementation of (family) migration policies. It was a joint PhD between IES, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and GERME, Université Libre de Bruxelles, co-supervised by Prof. Ilke Adam (IES-VUB) and Prof. Andrea Rea (GERME, ULB). Further members of the jury were: Prof. Dirk Jacobs (ULB), Prof. Florian Trauner (VUB), Prof. Dirk Jacobs (ULB), Prof. Saskia Bonjour (University of Amsterdam) and Prof. Sylvie Saroléa (Université Catholique de Louvain).

The ‘European Union in International Affairs’ (#EUIA20) conference invites paper abstracts and panel proposals. It will be the seventh edition of the EUIA conference, focusing on the theme ‘Assessing the EU’s Capacity to Act’. The EUIA biennial conference provides a major forum for discussion and exchange of ideas amongst academics and policy-makers who engage with these issues. We encourage the submission of paper abstracts and panel proposals that focus on the EU’s capacity to act internationally.

On Saturday 24 August, IES and University of Turku Joint-PhD candidate Max Jansson defended his doctoral thesis publicly on the legal aspects of PPMs in interstate trade at the University of Turku. In his work, Jansson examined specifically the environmental PPM-criteria on renewable energy implemented by the EU Member States and U.S. states from the perspective of rules on free trade. Jansson argued that under WTO law, EU free movement law and U.S. constitutional law, PPM-criteria can indeed be adopted both for in-state production and imported goods, as long as the criteria are carefully designed. Max’s findings and conclusions provide valuable insights to stakeholders that design and apply sustainability criteria and programs on essential products such as biofuels or electricity from renewable resources.

The network ‘Governing the EU’s Climate and Energy Transition in Turbulent Times’ (GOVTRAN), to which the IES-VUB serves as leading coordinator, is organizing a 2-day International workshop on Climate and Energy Governance and the Future of Europe. The event will take place at the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome on 30 September-1 October 2019. The workshop will explore recent advances in European Union (EU) climate and energy governance and policy in the context of broader contemporary aspects and challenges of European integration. A special issue in a high-profile, peer-reviewed academic journal is envisioned as a major outcome of the workshop. We look forward to Director General Mauro Petriccione of DG CLIMA of the European Commission delivering a keynote. More information about the GOVTRAN project is available here.