Recent Publications

Amelia Padurariu

Abstract

Starting from the concept of delegation of power in external trade policy, this paper aims to investigate the dynamics surrounding the European Union’s position in international trade negotiations. The analysis centres on the role of the European Commission (the agent), which by means of Treaty-based delegation and as mandated by the Council (the principal) acts as the sole trade negotiator in the international sphere on behalf of the European Union (EU). The broader negotiating process is thus conceptualised as a three-level game, where the Commission holds an intermediary position between the European and international levels and also interacts with the Member States in the Council. After an insight into the European decision-making process for external trade, the paper further analyses the Commission’s role during the multilateral trade negotiations of the Doha Development Round. By applying the principal-agent theory to international trade negotiations in general, and subsequently to the controversial agricultural negotiations, this paper seeks to investigate some of the potential sources of autonomy that the Commission can draw upon while upholding an EU position at the international level, in addition to the “hardball” job of balancing the interests of the Member States with those of World Trade Organisation (WTO) partners. Along these lines, the paper finally aims to contribute to the literature concerning agency autonomy in EU external trade relations but also to provide a better understanding of inter-institutional relations within the EU as they may unfold in practice.

About the author

Amelia Padurariu is a PhD candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Her professional experience lies broadly in the area of EU external relations, ranging from matters of European Foreign and Security Policy to socio-economic aspects of world regional integration. She has worked for, amongst others, the Institute for European Studies, the United Nations University and the European Commission’s former Directorate General for Justice, Liberty and Security. Amelia holds Masters degrees in international economic relations and in European politics, from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies and the VUB. The views expressed are solely those of the author and may not, in any circumstances, be regarded as stating the position of the institutions for which the author is or has been working. The research leading to this paper has been carried out at the VUB/IES, intermittently, between July 2008 and November 2010.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Garnet Conference “The EU in International Affairs II”, 22-24 April 2010, Brussels.

Youri Devuyst

Abstract

This paper concentrates on the Nixon-Kissinger view of European political integration. In contrast with the mainstream position of the American Administrations during the 1950s and 1960s, Kissinger was convinced that by encouraging European unity, the United States was in fact creating its own rival. The start of a new system of European foreign policy cooperation in 1970 was seen by Kissinger as a particularly important example of Europe’s attempt to challenge the American hegemony. Kissinger emphasized the need to maintain Western Europe in a subordinate role. Three main lines of action were pursued to keep the development of the European Community under control: maintaining bilateral contacts with key European allies, requesting a seat at the Community's decision-making table, and linking "obedient" European behavior to American military presence in Europe. The legacy of this policy still seems to influence the current American policy on the European Union. The Nixon-Kissinger term was, however, detrimental to rather than conducive of harmonious transatlantic relations. Tendencies to emulate it should therefore be discouraged.

About the Author

Youri Devuyst has been teaching politics and institutions of the European Union at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel since 1994. He has been on the teaching staff of the IES Program on International Legal Cooperation (PILC) since 1997. Devuyst holds a doctorate in Political Science (VUB) and obtained Master’s degrees in International and Comparative Law (VUB) and International Relations (Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies). The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may not, in any circumstances, be regarded as stating the position of the institutions for which the author is or has been working.

Melissa Schnyder

Abstract

A growing body of research focuses on the expanding roles of NGOs in global and supranational governance. The research emphasizes the increasing number of participation patterns of NGOs in policymaking and cross-national cooperation. It has produced important insights into the evolving political role of NGOs and their growing involvement in governance. The focus on activities at a transnational level has, however, lead to the virtual exclusion of research on other levels of governance. It has not been possible to tell whether the locus of their political activity is shifting from the national to the transnational environment, or whether it is simply broadening. Missing from the literature is an examination of the variety of cooperative relationships, including those between NGOs, which impact policy involvement across different levels of governance. To bridge this gap, I address two key questions: 1) Is the strategy of cooperation among NGOs a common feature of social movement activity across levels of governance, and if so, what does the structure of cooperation look like? 2) What impact, if any, does cooperation have on the expanding political involvement of NGOS, both within and across levels of governance? Using data from an original survey of migrant and refugee organizations across much of Europe, I test several hypotheses that shed light on these issues. The findings broadly indicate that 1) Cooperation is a widely-used strategy across levels of governance, 2) Cooperation with specific sets of actors increases the likelihood of NGO involvement at different levels of governance. Specifically, cooperation with EU-level actors increases the likelihood of national-level involvement, and 3) NGOs are more likely to extend their involvement across a range of institutions if they cooperate with a broad range of actors.

About the Author

Melissa Schnyder works as a quantitative consultant at Corporate Executive Board. She holds a PhD from Indiana University Bloomington. She worked at the Institute for European Studies as a Fullbright Fellow between September 2005 – April 2006, focusing on the inclusion of migrant interests in the EU and the patterns of political behaviour across levels of governance.

June 2011
working paper
Marie Lamensch

Abstract

Switzerland has for a long time been an important centre of banking services in Europe and beyond. Consequently, the banking sector has become important to Switzerland’s prosperity. This paper focuses on a central reason behind the success of the Swiss banking sector: the institution of banking secrecy, deeply enshrined in the Swiss history and tradition. The rapid development of international markets that eventually gave rise to a “group structuration process” has, however, progressively eroded Swiss banking secrecy. It has had to bend before the duty of transparency within the groups in order not to promote financial criminality through accelerated asset inflows. Switzerland has also had to develop a comprehensive legislative frame to tackle financial criminality, and to enter into international agreements providing for mutual assistance. This process has undoubtedly and irremediably weakened the Swiss banking secrecy. Most importantly, nevertheless, the questionable ethical and socio-economic grounds of this controversial institution could and should also start to erode it from within.

About the Author

Marie Lamensch is member of the Brussel's bar and currently works as a lawyer for Kremer Associés and Clifford Chance (Luxembourg). She previously worked for Simont Braun (Brussels) and as a teaching assistant at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). She holds a law degree from the ULB and an LL.M degree (Master in International and Comparative Law) from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s (VUB) PILC Program, organized under the auspieces of the Institute for European Studies (IES). The views expressed in this paper are purely personal and do not reflect the position of any of the institutions mentioned above.

June 2011
working paper
Richard Lewis

Abstract

This paper examines issues relating to the integration of immigrants, particularly Muslim immigrants, into European societies. It first contemplates whether a true European identity really exists. Building on the different conceptions of (European) identity, the paper claims that a sense of belonging is crucial in helping immigrants integrate into Europe. The paper also argues that identity is, actually, most relevant when it is under threat. The paper therefore looks at the nature of Muslim society in Europe and some of the reasons for disaffection in that population. While doing this, the paper compares the various models of integration in, for example, the United States, Canada and Israel with the attempt by a number of EU Member States to find satisfactory integration strategies. Also, the efforts of the European Commission to forge an acceptable integration framework through the principles elaborated following the Hague declaration in November 2004 are discussed. The paper concludes that integration is best approached by creating cohesive communities and loyalties at the local level.

About the author

Richard Lewis is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel specialising in migration issues. He was formerly an official at the European Commission from 1974 to 2003 latterly dealing with immigration and asylum. He was European Union Fellow at Duke University for the academic year 1996-7. He is married to an American citizen with two sons and two grandsons.

May 2011
working paper
Gerben Kristian Wedekind

Abstract

This research forecasts the implications of Turkish membership for decision-making effectiveness and dynamics within the Council of Ministers of the European Union (EU). Effectiveness is determined in this research by 'passage probability': the chance that a random proposal as put forth by the European Commission (EC) is accepted by the Council of Ministers. Dynamics are determined by means of the Shapley-Shubik Index (SSI), which plots power values of individual member states by forecasting a number of possible EU enlargement scenarios. This study falsifies earlier research by Baldwin and Widgrén.1 It finds that the implications of Turkish EU-membership for EU decision-making efficiency are ambiguous and depend on the number of other candidate states entering the EU alongside Turkey, as well as the timeslot - 2014 or 2020 - at which the accession would take place. Moreover, this study asserts that Turkish EU-accession would result in unequal- but generally negative - power changes among other EU member states, although member states with similar demographic weight will experience comparable changes. Finally, it appears that the larger a EU member state is, the more power it loses if Turkey would join the EU.

Herman Matthijs

Abstract

This paper first provides a short history of the European budget, focusing on the development of the EU's “own resources”. It then elaborates on the fundamental changes to the financial system and the budgetary procedure that the Treaty of Lisbon introduced. It is posited that with the amendments the budgetary process has lost clarity. Whilst the multiannual framework may provide for long-term stability, it stands in contradiction to a central principle of parliamentary democracy: annual budgets. The EU's search for a fair and transparent budgetary system has not yet come to full fruition. Europe needs a fairer and more transparent system. Since the Luxembourg agreement of 1970, the Union has not done anything with the VAT as own resources. The VAT is related to the welfare standards and developments in the Member States. A fixed share of this indirect tax could form the base of a long term financing plan for the general EU budget.

About the author

Herman Matthijs is associated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). He holds a PhD in political sciences, and has published several articles and books concerning the budget of the European Union. At the political sciences department, he is responsible for courses on public administration, political structures of the USA and public budgets. He is also a member of the inter-federal Belgian institution High Council of Finances, which advices the Belgian governments on the public finances.

Matthaios Charalampous

Abstract

The Lisbon Treaty has introduced significant changes in the field of EU security and defence. On the one hand, important institutional reforms, such as the creation of a renewed High Representative, have of course a great impact on this policy field. On the other hand, the Lisbon Treaty has also introduced specific innovations in the security and defence of the European Union. The mutual defence clause and the new mechanisms for flexible cooperation such as the permanent structured cooperation, are only some of the key innovations. Generally, the European Security and Defence Policy receives its own section in the Treaty on European Union and is rebranded as Common Security and Defence Policy. Thus, the Lisbon Treaty sets the objective for a common policy in this field. However, does this reform really provide for the means for the realization of such a common policy? Furthermore, does the Lisbon Treaty increase the importance of CSDP or is the increasing importance of this policy field just reflected in the Treaty text? These are the main questions that the present paper attempts to address through the analysis of the new institutional setting of the post-Lisbon security and defence policy, as well as through the examination of the specific innovations in this area.

About the author

Matthaios Charalampous has graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Brussels (VUB) with a Master of Laws Degree (LL.M.) in international and European law (PILC program, IES). He holds a university degree in law and in linguistics, both from the University of Athens. Matthaios Charalampous is a qualified Greek lawyer, has work experience as a lawyer, and has held a traineeship at the European Parliament. He takes a particular interest in security and defence issues, some of which are dealt with in the present paper.

Viktorija Balciunaite

Abstract:

The impacts of WTO on women’s labour rights in the developing countries have been raised to the international agenda by various nongovernmental organizations. On the one hand it is assumed that international trade policies are gender neutral. On the other hand a number of authors hold the view that the negative impacts of WTO policies are more pronounced on female than male workers. This paper takes a critical look at these claims. It argues that the impact of the WTO system, the driving force of trade liberalization, on women’s labour rights in the developing countries is a complicated issue, because the effects have been both negative and positive. In support of this claim, this paper first briefly reviews the international framework for the protection of women’s labour rights. Next, the WTO agreements and policies are analysed insofar as they are relevant for the protection of women’s labour rights. The analysis covers, for example, the use of the trade policy review mechanism and restrictions of trade on grounds of violation of public morals.. Finally, a case study is conducted on the situation of female workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan, countries that have recently undergone a liberalization of trade in the textiles and clothing sectors. It is concluded that the increase of international trade in the developing countries has created many work opportunities for women, helped them to become more independent and allowed them to participate in the society more actively. However, it is at the same time posited that in order to comply with its own objectives of raising standards of living and full employment, the WTO should engage itself in active policies to overcome the negative aspects of trade on female workers in the developing countries.

About the author

Viktorija Balciunaite has graduated from Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2006 and obtained Master’s degree in International and Comparative Law of the IES Program on International Legal Cooperation (PILC) in 2007. At the moment she is working in the European Law Department of the Ministry of Justice in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Ben Van Rompuy

Abstract

One of the most important developments in EC competition policy during 2006 was the Court of First Instance’s (CFI) Impala v. Commission judgment annulling the European Commission’s approval of the merger between the music units of Sony and Bertelsmann. It harshly criticized the Commission’s Decision because it found that the evidence relied on was not capable of substantiating the conclusion. This was the first time that a merger decision was annulled for not meeting the requisite legal standard for authorizing the merger. Consequently, the CFI raised fundamental questions about the standard of proof incumbent on the Commission in its merger review procedures. On July 10, 2008, the European Court of Justice overturned Impala, yet it did not resolve the fundamental question underlying the judicial review of the Sony BMG Decision; does the Commission have the necessary resources and expertise to meet the Community Court’s standard of proof? This paper addresses the wider implications of the Sony BMG saga for the Commission’s future handling of complex merger investigations. It argues that the Commission may have set itself an impossible precedent in the second approval of the merger. While the Commission has made a substantial attempt to meet the high standard of proof imposed by the Community Courts, it is doubtful that it will be able to jump the fence again in a similar fashion under normal procedural circumstances.

About the author

Ben Van Rompuy joined the IES team as a doctoral researcher in August 2006. Together with Karen Donders, he is working on the project “Towards i2010: Bargaining for an equitable information society”.His research is concerned with EC antitrust control in the audiovisual and telecommunications sectors.