Mind the Gap: interpreting the Minsk II Agreement

Svitlana Kobzar

This Policy Brief is the first of a two-part feature that examines Russia’s ability to influence French, German and EU narratives on the Minsk II agreement and Ukraine’s evolving position in the international system. This first Policy Brief will focus on the competing Russian and Ukrainian narratives surrounding Minsk II. Thus, it will examine Russia’s efforts to portray Ukraine as a ‘failed state’ and a ‘semi-sovereign’ subject, and to blame the...

Confuse, Divide and Rule - How Russia Drives Europe Apart

Sijbren de Jong

Whereas the EU typically views regional integration as a vehicle for positive change, Russia has repeatedly tried to portray European integration as a malign force. Whereas the European Commission prefers to operate as a Union of 28 states, Russia by contrast, prefers to employ a tactic of ‘divide and rule’ whereby it either aims at weakening the centre (Brussels) by playing off one Member State against the other, or undermine EU cohesion and coherence as a whole. This Policy...

Identifying disinformation: an ABC approach

Ben Nimmo

One of the key challenges in countering information warfare is identifying when it is taking place. The concept of disinformation is widely understood and has been exhaustively defined; however, the currently available definitions do not allow for the operational identification of disinformation in a sufficiently rapid manner to allow for effective countermeasures. This Policy Brief argues that the essence of disinformation is the intent to deceive. While such an intent is difficult to prove...


How to reconcile the EU border paradox? The concurrence of refugee reception and deterrence

Giacomo Orsini

The refugee crisis that unfolded in Europe in the summer of 2015 questions the effectiveness of European border and refugee policies. The breakdown of the Dublin and Schengen rules due to chaotic situations at the borders in the Balkans marks a critical juncture for the EU. We consider this breakdown as a consequence of a long-lasting co-operation crisis among EU Member States. The most recent Council decision responds to this co-operation crisis (Council Decision 12098/15). This Policy...


The EU Blue Card - is there a need for a more comprehensive approach?

Martina Belmonte

This Policy Brief reviews the implementation of the EU Blue Card (BC) Directive in Member States and offers some suggestions on how to improve its potential. Firstly, it traces back the origin of the current partitioned approach in labour migration and the objectives that an EU labour migration policy should achieve according to the Commission. Secondly, it reports on the content of the directive and its implementation in Member States. Thirdly, there is an analysis of the weaknesses of the...


Immigrant labour market participation in Belgium - high time to mainstream


Immigrant labour market participation in Belgium - high time to mainstream

The gap in labour market participation between natives and people with an immigrant background is significant in Belgium, one of the largest in the OECD. In this Policy Brief, we present research that investigated one of the possible causes of this poor performance, and we propose three main policy recommendations....


The Schengen Governance Package – another missed opportunity?

Markéta Novotná

The Schengen Area of free movement is considered to be one of the most substantial and, in the eyes of many, most successful achievements of European integration. In 2014, the ‘Schengen Governance Package’, which alters the rules of the Schengen co-operation, came into force. It is a response to conflict among Member States in maintaining the common zone of freedom of movement. This Policy Brief aims to analyse how this package was developed and to assess whether it represents a...


Regulatory Gaps in the Global Governance of Synthetic Biology

Florian Rabitz

Synthetic biology is an emerging technology with potentially far-reaching benefits and risks. As a cross-cutting issue, different aspects of synthetic biology fall within the scope of different international agreements. Contemporary biosafety and biosecurity frameworks are characterized by important regulatory gaps which policy makers need to address to minimize risks that may arise in the future both from commercial use and weaponization. In some cases, this may require formal treaty...


The Missing Piece: Empowerment of Roma Grassroots Organisations in EU Roma Integration Policies

Serena D’Agostino

The fourth edition of Roma Pride has brought Roma civic activism back in the spotlight. This Roma-rights mobilization, taking place every October in several European cities, has emphasized the centrality of an active civil society in pursuing a successful integration of the Roma in Europe. The ‘Award for Roma Integration’ and the ‘Civil Society Prize 2014’ conferred last October by the European Union (EU) to Roma and pro-Roma Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have...


EU Foreign Policy Between the Revolution and the Status Quo

Sven Biscop

When a new High Representative takes office, an opportunity presents itself to take a look at existing EU external policies and assess whether these are still sufficient to safeguard Europe’s interests in light of recent events. New strategic priorities have to be defined where necessary, not on each and every topic of foreign policy, but on those big issues that European nations can only deal with collectively, through the EU. How to pursue these strategic priorities is an equally...