Recent Publications

Luis Simón

Click here to access this article on the Security Studies website.

Most neorealists argue that relative decline constitutes a systemic incentive for European security cooperation. Although this claim is broadly accepted, I argue that the relationship between relative decline and European security cooperation is complicated by a number of factors. First, European calculations about relative decline bear both a global and a regional (that is, intra-European) component. If a European country is to effectively mitigate relative decline, cooperation is not sufficient. It is just as important that cooperation develops in a way that underscores that country's comparative strengths and minimizes its weaknesses. In this regard, European countries are often in direct competition with each other. Secondly, when Europeans are thinking about their relative power position, some countries matter more than others: a given European country may accept to incur a relative loss vis-à-vis another country (European or otherwise) but not others. These calculations are further complicated by issue linkage. Some countries may accept relative losses on some issues (for example, security) in exchange for gains on others (economic). This article examines how intra-European considerations of relative gains affect the way in which Europe's main powers seek to cope with relative decline and assesses how those considerations affect security cooperation in a European Union (EU) framework. In doing so, it aims to unpack the otherwise vague notions of relative decline and European security cooperation.

Sebastian Oberthür
Lisanne Groen

The Paris Agreement on climate change adopted in December 2015 reflects EU policy objectives to large extent. To find an explanation, we develop a general framework that incorporates both structural and actor-/process-related factors, paying particular attention to negotiation strategy and diplomacy. On this basis, we argue that the high level of EU goal achievement in Paris resulted from the interplay of (1) evolving international structures, (2) effective EU strategy fitting these structures and domestic politics, and (3) favourable situational circumstances. While the EU arguably pushed others to their limits, downscaled ambitions also meant that it accepted a Paris Agreement that is insufficient by itself and needs to be strengthened quickly. The application of our conceptual framework to the Paris Agreement demonstrates its added value and that it can build the basis of a fresh programme of work comparing the EU’s performance in international institutions/negotiations across time and policy fields. To access the article click here.

Luk van Langenhove

Executive Summary 

1. Science Diplomacy is globally becoming a crucial issue at a time of major crises, but it is still scarcely known and perhaps not optimally used. Europe, in particular the EU, has a high level of scientific excellence and should therefore be able to mobilise its scientific potential as a main means of action within its external policies. 

2. There is no uncontested definition of science diplomacy, but there is a general agreement that three varieties of Science Diplomacy can be distinguished: Diplomacy for Science is mainly about the facilitation of international scientific collaboration. With Science in Diplomacy the roles are reversed: here the scientists are prompted towards supporting foreign policy. Science for Diplomacy goes one step further: here science is used as a tool to build and improve relations between states. 

3. Science Diplomacy policy or Science Diplomacy practices that are labelled by the stakeholders as such can be referred to as explicit Science Diplomacy. But there are also relevant policies and practices that are not labelled as, Science Diplomacy. They can be referred to as implicit Science Diplomacy. In order to avoid a too broad approach to Science Diplomacy, one should limit the use of the concept to the explicit policies and practices that involve both S&T policy and Foreign Affairs policy. 

4. The EU’s competence in science diplomacy is embedded in how S&T policy is dealt with in the European treaties. As such, it can be said that the EU’s science diplomacy has to be seen as a shared responsibility. This poses two major challenges: (i) how to carve out a specific role for the EU that complements the Science Diplomacy policies of its Member States? and (ii) how to integrate that role in the overall EU’s Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy? 

5. Science diplomacy practices can take many forms and can be classified in three categories: 

Strategic tools for Science Diplomacy are policy documents that aim to give directions to what actors want to achieve and how to realize their policy goals. Here we are mainly talking about governmental communications that set out policies for Science Diplomacy. 

Operational tools for Science Diplomacy are policy instruments used to put Science Diplomacy into practice. They involve the allocations of specific resources as well as mechanisms on how to use them. 

Finally, there are so-called support tools for Science Diplomacy that aim to promote or facilitate Science Diplomacy activities. 

6. The literature review and internet search revealed that it is not easy to find strategic documents at the level of EU Member States with regard to Science Diplomacy. 

7. There exist many different operational tools across the different EU Member States that put Science Diplomacy in action. However, in most cases we are dealing with implicit forms of Science Diplomacy as the concept is not always mentioned. Furthermore, in line with the observed absence of strategic tools, the operational tools are not always clearly linked to Foreign Affairs policies. 

8. In general there is no evidence of a lot of support initiatives for Science Diplomacy at the national level in EU Member States. 

9. From the review of national Science Diplomacy initiatives it can thus be concluded that most EU Member States do not have a Science Diplomacy strategy. In most cases however, Member States are engaged in some activities that can be labelled as Science Diplomacy. But the national efforts remain in most cases very limited and there are little support structures. On top of it, most national Science Diplomacy activities are at best only loosely connected to Foreign Affairs policies. In other words, Science Diplomacy is not well developed within most of the EU Member States. 

10. A Science Diplomacy policy of the EU should consist out of two strands: (i) support of the Member States Science Diplomacy policies and practices; and (ii) support of the EUs own Foreign and Security Policy. This can be achieved through implementing the following six recommendations to the EU with regard to the elaboration of an EU Science Diplomacy strategy and structure: 6 

11. Supporting the EU Member States in their Science Diplomacy practices: 

Recommendation 1: Monitor the development of Science Diplomacy in the EU 

Recommendation 2: Create a support structure for Science Diplomacy activities at the level of EU Member States 

12. Supporting the EUs Foreign and Security Policy trough a EU Science Diplomacy Strategy: 

Recommendation 3: Link the EU’s RTD policy with the EFSP 

Recommendation 4: Create a culture of Science Diplomacy in the EEAS 

Recommendation 5: Improve dialogue and collaboration with regard to Science Diplomacy between all relevant EU institutions 

Recommendation 6: Develop a focused EU strategic plan on Science Diplomacy that incorporates the above recommendations. 

13. The above recommendations can be put in practice through the development of a proper EU Science Diplomacy strategy, similar to what exists for the EU cultural diplomacy. But such a strategy needs not only to focus on the organisational issues. It also needs a vision. One proposal is to focus upon three areas that are a mix of self-interests and aspirations to have a positive impact on the world. These areas are: (i) Science and Technology contributions towards enhancing regional security in its neighbourhood and (ii) Science and technology contributions towards improving European trade in the world and (iii) Science and Technology contributions towards tackling global problems. 

Luk Van Langenhove

This paper advocates for the development of a global science diplomacy agenda, consisting of three components: a Science in Global Diplomacy initiative aimed at mobilising the science and technology (S&T) community to carry out research that is relevant for global problems; a Diplomacy for Global Science initiative aimed at facilitating scientific collaborations for dealing with global problems; and a Global Science for Global Diplomacy initiative aimed at developing the institutional nexus between the S&T community and the realm of policy-making at a global level.

Stephen Kingah
Ana B. Amaya
Luk Van Langenhove

This inception paper expatiates on the conditions that are necessary in determining the effectiveness of the European Union’s (the EU’s) leadership in science and cultural diplomacy (SCD) on regionalism and inter-regionalism in the South. These conditions include willingness, capacity and acceptance. Willingness delineates the scope of the ambition of the EU in SCD. Capacity covers elements that pertain to breadth and depth/ quality and quantity of resources mobilized and available to lead SCD that delivers results. Acceptance refers to the nature of the credibility that the EU is able to command both within and outside the Union respecting its influence to attract followers both amongst Member States of the Union as well as third states, regional and international organizations. The emphasis of the paper is on effectiveness in terms of impact on regionalism and inter-regionalism in the South. Focus is placed on regional and inter-regional processes/ initiatives in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. 

Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

The end of the Cold War gave the (western) world an apparent reprieve from weapons of mass destruction. Then came HIV and AIDS. Since then, a host of human insecurities and pandemic threats have converged to upend that semblance of order.

The ‘grand decade of global health’ (2000-2010) posited a litany of responses. These were meant to (re)establish order. They were overwhelmingly characterized by vertical (top-down) solutions to individual health threats: HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria being the three diseases which received the most attention. Being infectious diseases, this focus left non-communicable diseases (NCDs), maternal health, mental health, and even (re)emerging (infectious) diseases largely in the lurch. It also neglected horizontal responses based on local networks and knowledge: the successful response of some communities to the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa showcases alternative solutions.[1] Yet with the grand decade over, the a priori importance once attached to health has disappeared from the international agenda.

Indeed, health has only regained a fraction of its policy prioritization through the ascendance onto the international agenda of potential epidemic/pandemic threats such as Ebola and Zika. Here, however, the risk of non-intervention almost pales in comparison with the risk of intervention: “Epidemics appear not only as a threat, but as a challenge, a chance for the interventionist state that wants to prove its ability to act against infectious disease.”[2] Compounding the direct challenges posed by epidemics and pandemics themselves are the indirect complications such as “panic, social unrest and economic consequences”[3] which up the ante for response – with unknown consequences:[4] A number of regions of Brazil “proactively declared a public health emergency with regard to Zika in November 2015.”[5] If and when the expanded political, and military, powers granted under the emergency are not revoked, these could lead to serious infringement of biological and civil liberties.

The current context is one defined by varying degrees of disorder. This is the state of affairs in the realms of geopolitics to market (dis)regulation, of climate (dis)agreement to (il)legal migration status. Each of these has a bearing on global as well as local health. In fact, health is of particular importance as its causes and consequences, alongside its associated vulnerabilities and threats, crosses borders.

As such, mounting a coordinated effort to respond to global health issues is an imperative. The question is, how to do it?

[1] Villagers in a number of the affected countries identified transmission chains and implemented isolation of the sick to interrupt the spread of disease.

[2] Author’s translation. Original: “Epidemien erschienen nun nicht nur als Bedrohung, sondern ebenso als Herausforderung, ja als Chance für den Interventionsstaat, der seine Handlungsfähigkeit in der Seuchenbekämpfung unter Beweis stellte,” in Thießen, Malte (2015). ‘Infizierte Gesellschaften: Sozial- und Kulturgeschichte von Seuchen,’ in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (ApuZ), 65. Jahrgang, 20-21/2015, S. 16.

[3] Author’s translation. Original: “Panik, soziale Unruhen und wirtschaftiche Folgen”  in Ehlkes, Lutz und Jürgen May (2015). ‘Seuchen – gestern, heute, morgen.’ in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (ApuZ), 65. Jahrgang, 20-21/2015, p. 9.

[4] ibid.

[5] Gostin, Lawrence O. and Daniel Lucey (2016). “The Emerging Zika Pandemic: Enhancing Preparedness,” JAMA (Online), (27 January). 

Luis Simón

The global proliferation of precision-strike systems and the concomitant emergence of anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities challenges the foundations of Western global military-technological supremacy. What does this mean for current EU debates on military ambition? This Policy Brief argues that the assumption of the freedom of (military) access and movement, which has guided European strategic thinking since the end of the Cold War, is no longer valid. Europeans should get to grips with the new military-strategic paradigm and translate this into an updated ambition level and related capabilities.

Alexander Lanoszka

Western European countries rely on intelligence to collect information on the capabilities and intentions of friends and foes alike. They also perform counter-intelligence missions in order to hinder the intelligence operations of others. This policy brief highlights how the Russian disinformation campaign strives to enhance Russian deterrence of unfavourable policy responses to its foreign policy actions. It also illustrates how it affects intelligence and counter-intelligence missions undertaken by Western European countries in at least two ways. The first involves increasing the so-called noise-to-signal ratio via the dissemination of preferred narratives through media outlets, Internet trolling on social media, the cultivation of friendly populists in Western Europe, and the manipulation of complex ethnic grievances in Eastern Europe. The second involves creating potential, and exploiting existing, barriers to cooperation between national intelligence agencies via the use of Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, and its potential violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Western European countries must deepen their cooperation in order to prevent Russia from being successful in its divisiveness. 

Catalina Capatina
Katarzyna Jakimowicz

The Global Internet Policy Observatory (GIPO), an initiative of the European Commission, is an online tool to help monitor developments on Internet policy around the world and provide better understanding and access to the largest number of potential stakeholders. Governments, NGOs and others interested in Internet Governance, including Internet users, are often daunted by the complexity of this fast-paced policy area.

Thanks to the use of advanced IT technologies, GIPO provides a practical tool to navigate this eld, increasing expertise and understanding among many more interested actors. Tool which helps governments, NGOs and those interested in Internet Governance to navigate the labyrinth of global Internet Policy. This policy brief outlines the results of a meeting held on the fringes of EuroDIG in Brussels in 2016, and presents some of the challenges and opportunities for such an experiment in ‘machine-driven information monitoring’ on a given topic of global importance. It provides recommendations for the future development of the tool, and continues the debate launched by the GIPO project’s Federation Roadmap, to help the tool maximize its impact in this complex policy environment.

Joachim Koops
Rafael Biermann

This unique handbook brings together a team of leading scholars and practitioners in order to map, synthesize and assess key perspectives on cooperation and rivalry between regional and global organizations in world politics. For the first time, a variety of inter-disciplinary theoretical and conceptual perspectives are combined in order to assess the nature, processes and outcomes of inter-organizational partnerships and rivalries across major policy areas, such as peace and security, human rights and democratisation as well as finance, development and climate change. This text provides scholars, students and policy-makers of International Relations with an exhaustive reference book for understanding the theoretical and empirical dimensions of an increasingly important topic in International Relations (IR), Global Governance and related disciplines. IES Senior Associate Researcher Katja Biedenkopf contributed an excellent chapter on ‘Relations between International Organisations in Combating Climate Change’.