Recent Publications

Ilke Adam
Tundé Adefioye
Serena D’Agostino
Nick Schuermans
Florian Trauner

Migration, Equality and Racism trigger ever more salient societal debates. More than 80 VUB academics and co-authors joined forces for this book. Philosophers, lawyers, psychologists, health scientists, sociologists, geographers, criminologists, communication and political scientists … look at migration, equality and racism from different disciplinary angles.

Together they aim to contribute to an exercise of humanism as a praxis of criticism or a ‘technique of trouble-making’, in the words of Edward Said. Through 44 thought-provoking and informed opinion pieces, they question widespread beliefs on migration, equality and racism and propose solutions that might disturb.

Let this book be a source of inspiration for those who want to spark an informed debate on the ever more salient issues of migration, equality and racism, for those who want to learn more on how and why humanism has often remained an empty box for migrants and racialized groups. Or for those who are in search of inspiration for a just future for all.

Migration, Equality and Racism is the work of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) think tank POINcaré and was created under the direction of Ilke Adam, Tundé Adefioye, Serena D’Agostino, Nick Schuermans and Florian Trauner.

Download the PDF version of the book for free through the following link: Click here. 
 
Download the e-book for free through the following link: Click here.

 

Lotte Drieghe
Jan Orbie
Diana Potjomkina
Jamal Shahin

Abstract

In response to growing contestation and politicisation of trade policy, policy makers have aimed to enhance the ‘inclusiveness’ of trade policy through the institutionalisation of deliberative forums in which civil society organisations participate. However, it is not clear whether these processes actually enhance inclusiveness. This article adds to our understanding of this question by, first, developing an analytical framework (the ‘inclusiveness ladder’) and, second, applying it to the civil society mechanisms (CSMs) of European Union (EU) free trade agreements. The unique feature of CSMs is their focus on ensuring that the actual implementation of trade agreement does not run counter to sustainable development principles. Specifically, our empirical research involves a mixed methods analysis of primary and secondary sources and a survey of civil society participants. We find that CS is largely included at the level of logistics and partly at the level of information sharing, whereas monitoring capacities remain limited and impact on policy-making is quasi-absent. Moreover, results suggest differences between business participants, who seem largely satisfied with the lower steps on the ‘ladder’, and non-governmental actors who insist on policy impact. Finally, we outline avenues for further research and reflect on policy implications.

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Diana Potjomkina
Jan Orbie
Jamal Shahin

Abstract

Academic and policy interest in civil society participation in the European Union’s trade policy has been growing since the late 1990s. We analyse civil society’s engagement with the Domestic Advisory Groups (DAGs)—consultation mechanisms established by the European Commission at the implementation stage of its free trade agreements. While the Commission’s formal rationale for the DAGs is partnership with civil society, in fact this relationship involves a marked power and resistance dynamic. We focus on civil society’s agency and resistance, develop a conceptual framework laying out different possible types of resistance, and empirically demonstrate the wealth of both overt and subtle resistance practices employed by DAG members. Most of this resistance is (moderately) comprehensive and directed against the DAGs’ rationalities and technologies. While showing that DAGs are deeply contested, our study also provides a nuanced analysis of resistance with particular attention for divisions between business and non-business members.

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Deborah Martens
Diana Potjomkina
Jan Orbie

Executive Summary

Since the EU–Korea trade agreement in 2011, all chapters on trade and sustainable development (TSD) establish civil society mechanisms to monitor the commitments made in this chapter: a domestic advisory group (DAG) for each party and an annual transnational civil society meeting. The former is a membership-based closed mechanism, while the latter is not member-based and therefore more open and less structured than the DAGs.

In this report, we focus on DAGs, the most institutionalised and permanent civil society bodies under the TSD chapters. The objective of this study is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of DAGs, identify their main challenges, distin- guish teething problems from structural issues and put for- ward solutions to address them. Original data collection was carried out through a survey, to which 50 EU and 74 Non-EU DAG members responded, and 18 interviews with

EU and Non-EU DAG members.

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Sebastian Oberthür
Gauri Khandekar
Tomas Wyns

Abstract

This article investigates the contribution of global governance to advancing the decarbonization of energy-intensive industries (EIIs – steel, chemicals, cement, aluminium, etc.). It explores to what extent relevant intergovernmental and transnational institutions have exploited the potentials of global governance to address related barriers and challenges, in particular competitiveness concerns, the need to incentivise investments in breakthrough technologies and enhance circularity across global value chains. We find that global governance's high potential to contribute to the decarbonization of EIIs has remained very much underexploited. Few international institutions contribute and there is no clear centre. Existing institutions have especially not delivered a sector-specific signal/vision and consequent international rules. In response, the formation of a central institution and/or subsector-specific initiatives might be considered. We argue that advancing global governance to tap into its considerable but so far underexploited potential ought to be an integral part of any strategy for the decarbonization of EIIs.

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Wolfgang Obergassel
Lukas Hermwille
Sebastian Oberthür

Abstract

The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and the global response to it will co-determine the future of climate policy. The recovery packages responding to the impacts of the pandemic may either help to chart a new sustainable course, or they will further cement existing high-emission pathways and thwart the achievement of the Paris Agreement objectives. This article discusses how international climate governance may help align the recovery packages with the climate agenda. For this purpose, the article investigates five key governance functions through which international institutions may contribute: send guidance and signals, establish rules and standards, provide transparency and accountability, organize the provision of means of implementation, and promote collective learning. Reflecting on these functions, the article finds that the process under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), together with other international institutions, could promote sustainable recovery in several ways.

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Sebastian Oberthür
Lisanne Groen
 
Abstract

This article assesses the evolving ‘stringency’ of multilateral climate mitigation governance towards the 2015 Paris Agreement. To do so, we systematically distinguish four key dimensions of hard/soft governance: (1) formal legal status; (2) the nature of the obligations (procedural-substantive); (3) prescriptiveness and precision; and (4) implementation review and response. We find that the governance approach of the Paris Agreement is significantly softer than the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, but harder than the 2010 Cancun Agreements under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. As a result, the Paris Agreement has had a differentiated effect on the stringency of governance. On the one side, it has softened climate governance for countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol, most notably the European Union. On the other side, it has hardened the international governance framework for developing countries and industrialised countries that are not subject to the Kyoto Protocol, including the US, Japan, Canada, and Russia. The shifting climate geopolitics of the twenty-first century helps us understand this development.

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Giulia Tercovich

Book chapter, Routledge (December 2020)

A book chapter by Dr. Giulia Tercovich titled ’The unintended consequences of interregionalism on actorness of the European Union: the case of EU-ASEAN cooperation in disaster management’.

Book Description

This edited book brings a new analytical angle to the study of comparative regionalism by focussing on the unintended consequences of interregional relations. 

The book satisfies the need to go beyond the consideration of the success or failure of international policies. It sheds light on complex interactions involving multiple actors, individual and institutional, driven by various representations, interests and strategies, and which often result in unintended consequences that powerfully affect the socio-political context in which they unfold. By providing a new conceptual framework to understand how interregionalism brings about social change, the book examines the effects on the individual and institutional actors of interregional relations, and the effects on the social structures that constitute interregionalism. It also examines interregionalism’s transformational character for structures of regional and international governance, as well as societies.

This book will be of key interest to scholars and students in the fields of comparative regionalism, interregionalism, EU studies, international and regional organisations, global governance and more broadly to international relations, international politics and (comparative) area studies.

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Giulia Tercovich

Journal of Common Market Studies, December 2020

Contemporary Inter‐regional Dialogue and Cooperation between the EU and ASEAN on Non‐traditional Security Challenges, by Maier‐Knapp, N. ( Abingdon: Routledge,  2019, ISBN 9780367272180); xx+148pp., £115.00 hb.

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Marc Jegers
Leo Van Hove

Journal of Cybersecurity, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2020

Arce (Malware and market share. J Cybersecur 2018;4:tyy010) presents a game-theoretic model in which users select and hackers target one of two IT platforms based upon the platforms’ network benefits and security levels. Unfortunately, in modelling the network benefits, Arce misinterprets Metcalfe’s law. In particular, he assumes that the utility that a user obtains from a platform increases quadratically with the number of users, whereas Metcalfe’s law holds that utility increases linearly with network size.

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