Recent Publications

Richard Higgott
Neil Collins
Kristina Bekenova
September 2017
working paper
Joren Selleslaghs

The European Union (EU) has adopted a very generous region-to-region approach towards Latin America in recent decades. However, although the EU adopted the same interregional strategy across different policy areas, the quality of interregional interaction (and success) vary significantly. A telling example is the EU’s interregional approach to sign a far-reaching region-to-region association agreement with Latin America: instead of having one overarching EU-LAC agreement, the EU had to negotiate agreements with sub-regions in Latin America, and eventually only successfully concluded an Association Agreement with the Central American region (SICA) as negotiations with MERCOSUR have only recently been re-launched after a deadlock of six years and negotiations with the Andean region failed permanently, leading the EU to conclude bilateral association agreements with several Andean states instead. Another interesting case of EU-driven interregionalism is the case of EU-Latin America science diplomacy. In this policy area, it seems that the EU’s interregional approach has been particularly successful, as both regions continuously call for the creation and strengthening of a “Common Area for Higher Education, Research and Technology” and various high-level working groups and action plans have been established to achieve this end. Yet, in contrast to the considerable scholarly attention for understanding the success/failure of EU-driven economic interregionalism, a critical assessment of EU-Latin America interregional cooperation in the field of science, higher education and innovation has not been produced to date. This paper aims to fill this notable academic (and policy-making) gap by providing a thorough overview of (1) the EU’s drivers behind this particular foreign policy action and the chosen interregional approach; (2) the applied policy instruments and actions of this specific case of EU-Latin American interregional relations; and (3) achieved impact of this specific case of EU-Latin American interregional relations.

Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

Since the International Sanitary Regulations were adopted in 1851, the twin issues of international and global and health security have been on the international diplomatic agenda. States and increasingly non-state-actors (NSAs) have engaged with one another through traditional as well as newer forms of diplomacy in order to stem the tide of various initially infectious diseases, from cholera to HIV and AIDS to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This diplomacy wrought the International Health Regulations (IHRs) of 1969, updated in 2005 (2007), as well as the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  A Framework Convention for Global Health, focusing on universal health coverage (UHC) is being negotiated. At this juncture, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and, among others, the U.S. National Security Council, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the German Foreign Office (AA), have also raised the profile of and established health security desks, further propelling health to the heights of the diplomatic agenda.

Newly, or newly re-emerging diseases present the latest health security challenges to be addressed by health diplomacy. The urgency of responding to these challenges is increasing as population movements and (always) fluid borders raise the attendant questions of how to secure the health of both mobile and sedentary populations. Movement implies both transfer and exchange, not only of people, but also of knowledge. This Policy Paper first traces such transfer to identify whether it is one-way or multi-directional. Second, it bases its results on primary-source findings from recent fieldwork in South Africa, drawing on policy, culture, science and industry transfers and / or exchange. Third and finally, and with a view towards both the independent role of the EU and its place within the G20, the Paper articulates a number of proposals to enhance knowledge exchange in the service of international health diplomacy for global health security.

Sibel Aydogan
Leo Van Hove

This paper examines the usage of internet banking by individuals, and does so from the perspective of technology acceptance theories. Previous studies have shown that both perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use are important drivers of the adoption of internet banking. Only a few studies examine the drivers of internet banking usage. We have primary data on the self reported behaviour of 725 respondents in Flanders, and by means of ordered logit regressions we analyse what factors determine whether someone is a nonuser, a ‘regular’ user, or an ‘intensive’ user of internet banking. Our findings confirm that perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use are also crucial determinants of internet banking usage. In addition, we find that perceived credibility of the internet banking application as well as several socio demographic variables – age, occupation, relational status, and income – have an impact.

Determinants of internet banking usage: survey evidence for Belgium. Available from: 

Nicolas Rüffin
Ulrich Schreiterer
  • Both practitioners and scholars tend to regard Science and Technology Agreements (STA) to be important, prominent, and highly effective tools for science diplomacy (SD). Yet it is far from clear whether they form an integral part of strategic approaches toward SD or mostly remain rather erratic ad-hoc agreements with more probably vague or even insignificant roles. Since we know but little about the development of STA over time, it is very difficult to get data and a valid picture on what is going on there at all and what impact STA might have.
  • Based on a working definition of STA, we conducted a quantitative study to map the STA that six countries (DK, FR, DE, CH, UK, U.S.) and the European Union have signed between 1961 and 2016. In addition, through a range of expert interviews, we tried to capture practitioners’ views on the role and workings of STA in the realms of international science policy and SD in particular.
  • What we see is a large increase in the number of concluded STA over time. While some of the countries in our sample made extensive use of STA, others were more hesitant or even reluctant to do so. Still, we witness a strong integration of G20-states in a network of bilateral STA. To illustrate the highly diverse uses and importance of STA, we present four cases of negotiations that point to their limited strategic use. From our expert interviews, we could differentiate between four types of views or opinions with regard to the uses of STA.
  • If we view STA in their respective political context, some apparently erratic provisions turn into meaningful strategic instruments. Overall, STA may carry different meanings to different stakeholders engaged in the negotiations; this is why they always serve as boundary objects.
  • For future research, it would be worthwhile to look into the interconnections, or interplays, between STA and other tools of SD on the one hand and contextual variables like geopolitical shifts and organisational backgrounds that shape negotiations and appraisal of STA on the other.
Ellen Van Droogenbroeck
Leo Van Hove

This paper first analyses how socio-demographic characteristics impact the adoption of online grocery shopping and, in a second step, relies on the Motivation-Opportunity-Ability (MOA) model to explore what these socio-demographics actually capture and how they are linked with consumer motivations. We exploit a survey among 468 customers of Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt. Our logistic regression shows that while variables at the personal level do affect adoption of the online channel, consumers’ motivations to adopt in fact lie on the household level. In particular, in our analysis the effect of age disappears or becomes less strong when it is combined with household characteristics. An examination of our respondents’ self-reported motivations confirms that age does not only capture a person’s ability to use the technology but also its usefulness for that person’s household, in that age is correlated with the presence of young children and the working situation in the household.

You can access the publication here.

Gauri Khandekar
Bart Goens

As tensions between China and Japan increase, including over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, Japan has adopted under Prime Minister Abe a new security posture. This involves, internally, adapting Japan’s constitutional position on defence and, externally, building stronger international relationships in the Asia-Pacific region and more widely. This book presents a comprehensive analysis of these developments. It shows how trust and co-operation with the United States, the only partner with which Japan has a formal alliance, is being rebuilt, discusses how other relationships, both on security and on wider issues, are being formed, in the region and with European countries and the EU, with the relationships with India and Australia being of particular importance, and concludes by assessing the likely impact on the region of Japan’s changing posture and new relationships.

Naciye Selin Senocak
Augusto Veloso Leão
Laura Westerveen
Ilke Adam

In June 2016, the European Commission launched the ‘EU Action Plan on Integration of third country nationals’. The Action Plan provides a common policy framework for integration policies in the Member States and aims to promote cooperation and policy coordination in the field of migrant integration. Due to the multilevel and cross-sectoral character of migrant integration, policy coordination is crucial to an effective policy strategy in this area of policymaking. In this policy brief, we take the one year anniversary of the Action Plan as an occasion to evaluate the role of the European Commission in European policy coordination on migrant integration. We discuss the relevant European tools for policy coordination that have been put into place over the last decade and recommend an evaluation of the effect of these tools on the policy responses and outcomes in the Member States.