Recent Publications

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. 

Fouad Nohra

As cultural diplomacy is usually grounded in a set of values that state or non-state actors are expected to share, we opted for a preliminary study of the cross perception of fundamental European values as they are perceived on the Arab side, with a limited scope and a selected theoretical object that is the model of European political models and especially the European liberal democracy as perceived by the Arab intellectuals. 

The choice is motivated by a serious concern about the superficial statements which is often displayed by the past studies on public opinion, in order to know whether they approve or reject the European political model of democracy or whether the value promotion of European union can reach the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. 

How can we discard the simplistic mass media statements on the Islamic reluctance to democracy and human rights etc., and the simplistic model of Clash of Civilizations carried out in the nineteen nineties, if we do not get back to the origin of the European-Arab interaction process1? 

By getting back to the nineteenth century, a period when the Arab world had its intellectual “renaissance” (al-Nahda), we would be able to identify the deep roots of the Arab perception of European modern values, focusing on one of them in particular, “liberal democracy”. 

This is the first step in a presentation whose aim is to analyse the track of the Arab perception of the European political modernity, through the lenses of the Arab intellectual elite. 

This theoretical paper, based on compilations and literature analysis seems to be a first step enabling us to understand two phenomena: 

• the perception, by the Arab public opinion of the European values related to democracy and human rights 

• its perception of the way the European union is promoting them and developing its own public diplomacy. 

Naciye Selin Senocak

The principal purpose of this theoretical analysis is to identify the different assumptions between Europe and Turkey regarding the axiological perspective which distinguishes the value judgments used as an instrument of persuasion by each culture. For decades, Turkey’s accession process within the EU is a highly controversial issue which has been an intensive process, brimmed with ups and downs. Due to its geopolitical position and cultural identity, as a Muslim secular state, Turkey is a cultural bridge between the West and Muslim countries, making it particularly important in cultural diplomacy for EU foreign policy. Nevertheless, the cultural misunderstanding, the misinterpreted perceptions, the axiological nihilism between Turkey and the EU seems to be the sources of tension for Turkey’s accession. The recent official declaration by both sides, which is dialectic rather than a consensus, has also deteriorated the diplomatic ties established between them, while also underlining the weaknesses of cultural diplomacy. 

Riccardo Trobbiani

On the 23rd of May 2017, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on Culture in the European Union's external relations, by welcoming the Joint Communication Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations  presented by the European Commission in June 2016. 

This EL-CSID Policy brief argues that, if the EU wants to define a real strategy for its external cultural action, it needs to provide a clearer definition of what ‘culture’ it is promoting (and how), and of what ‘complementarity’ with Member States means. First, EU Cultural Diplomacy should build upon EU’s experience in intercultural dialogue and capacity building rather than try to showcase European culture as a Soft Power tool. Consequently, cooperation with Member States and their cultural institutes should be sought on intercultural dialogue and capacity building, by jointly using MS’ networks, resources and connection with local actors to build locally-tailored strategies in co-ownership with target countries. Finally, the EU should identify specific financial means supporting cultural capacity building and intercultural dialogue, both in its own external relations as well as in its enhanced cooperation with Member States and their cultural institutes.

This Policy Brief is part of the KF-VUB Korea Chair, which serves as an independent platform in Brussels to advance academically rigorous and informed discussions on policy questions that are of relevance to the Republic of Korea and Europe. The Chair aims to fulfil the following objectives: i) increase awareness in Europe about current security and geopolitical challenges affecting the Korean peninsula; ii) provide a platform to enhance a common understanding between Korea and Europe, and strengthen our mutual awareness of geopolitical, strategic and economic developments in East Asia and Europe; and iii) solidify the strategic partnership between Europe and the Republic of Korea (ROK). 

The Chair will publish academically rigorous and policy-relevant analyses, organise public conferences and expert workshops for in-depth discussions amongst key European and South Korean policy-makers and business leaders, and organise training programmes aimed at the next generation of European academic, policy and business leaders working on South Korea and East Asia.

May 2017
Alexander Mattelaer (Rapporteur)

This report is inspired by the discussions of the BELGIAN National Reflection Group enriched by exchanges with National Reflection Groups from FINLAND and SLOVAKIA. It reflects on the ‘state of the Union’ from a national perspective and discusses the main challenges the EU and its members are facing, taking into account both the European and national perspective. Finally, it proposes ideas and recommendations on how the EU and its members should react to these main challenges and sets out how the EU and European integration should develop in the years to come.

This paper is part of a series of ten national reports. These reports and the debates in the member states will provide a solid basis for the discussions in the NPE European Reflection Group. The latter will be asked to take the reflection a step further through in-depth and thorough discussions at the European level. The Advisory Group chaired by Herman Van Rompuy will provide input into this process. All these reflections will lead to a final NPE report that analyses the current ‘state of the Union’ and contains several proposals on how to re-energise the European project. It will be published at the end of 2017. 


Alexander Mattelaer

As NATO prepares for a meeting of Allied heads of state and government in Brussels on 25 May, the debate on burden-sharing is heating up considerably. Both before and after entering office as 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump has harshly criticised various NATO Allies for not spending enough on defence. In fact, this reinforced longstanding US complaints about the tendency of many Allies to hitch a free ride on the back of the global US defence effort. Has the day of reckoning for European security now arrived? It is clear that many Allies must do more, however, the burden-sharing debate should be grounded in rigorous analysis. We must keep in mind the object of the burden that must be shared: a European continent that is whole, free and at peace. This requires not only sufficient financial resources, but also credible common defence plans.

Read more >>>