Recent Publications

Marco Giuli

Marco Giuli authored a chapter on "Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean Resources" in a new Palgrave volume on "Transnational Security Cooperation in the Mediterranean" edited by Robert Mason. 


Sung Kyoo Ahn
Maximilian Ernst
Tongfi Kim
Ramon Pacheco Pardo
Riccardo Villa

Contributors: Sung Kyoo Ahn, Maximilian Ernst, Tongfi Kim, Ramon Pacheco Pardo, Riccardo Villa

This report sets out to analyse South Korea’s positioning in non-traditional security. Since the end of the Cold War, non-traditional threats have become more central to the national security of countries everywhere across the world. South Korea is no exception. However, most existing analyses of South Korea’s security tend to focus on traditional issues and great power politics, most notably North Korea’s military capabilities or Sino-American rivalry and the threat that each of them poses to South Korea. This report helps to address this imbalance in our understanding of threats to South Korean national security. The report analyses non-traditional security by focusing on four key domains: cyber, energy, maritime and trade.

Read the full report here.

Sebastian Oberthür
Ólöf Söebech
Carlos Soria Rodriguez
Jesus Moreno

The European legislation establishing the climate and energy policy framework for 2030 introduces 'energy communities' as a major innovation in order to advance renewable energy and the energy transition. Under the relevant EU Directives, the applicable provisions have to be transposed into national law this year. To support this process in Flanders and Belgium, part of the Flemish funded Flux 50 project called ‚ROLECS‘, or, Roll Out of Local Energy Communities, explores the existing legal frameworks for energy communities at national level and how these could be adapted to comply with European requirements and to facilitate the creation and development of energy communities.

Based on an in-depth analysis of Belgian federal and regional law as well as the relevant EU Directives, the IES - along with the law firms Metha, Blixt and Fieldfisher and with ENGIE - have now released a summary report on "Legislative options and obstacles for energy communities in Belgium". In the report, the team investigates key challenges that Belgian policy makers and energy community organisers may face and suggests concrete steps to address these issues through legislative and organizational adaptations. Sebastian Oberthür, Ólöf Söebech, Carlos Soria Rodriguez and Jesus Moreno have participated in the project for the IES, which coordinated the report and analysed the EU legislative framework.

Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré
Giulia Tercovich

The post-Lisbon High Representative was supposed to bridge the supranational and intergovernmental facets of EU foreign policy. But Catherine Ashton and Federica Mogherini showed that institutional constraints persist – and their personal leadership skills were significant in achieving a common foreign policy, write Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré and Giulia Tercovich.

Read more >>>


Heidi Maurer
Silviu Piros

Heidi Maurer and Silviu Piros remind us that there is no silver bullet to meet the challenge of online teaching. Keep it simple, use the tools you are comfortable with, and create meaningful social connections with (and among) students.

Read more >>>

Muzaffarjon Ahunov
Leo Van Hove


We examine to what extent a specific aspect of national culture—uncertainty avoidance—can explain cross‐country variations in (dis)trust in banks. Relying on data from the World Values Survey, we find that trust in banks is lower in countries that score high for Hofstede's uncertainty avoidance index. Similarly, with Global Findex data, we find that financial exclusion due to a lack of trust in banks is high in high uncertainty avoidance cultures. These results highlight the need for a more culturally aware approach when designing consumer protection measures for the banking sector.

Ahunov, M. and L. Van Hove, National culture and (dis)trust in banks: cross-country evidence, Economic Notes, Vol. 49, Nr. 3, November 2020, 1-22, e12165 

Kalina Bontcheva
Julie Posetti
Denis Teyssou
Trisha Meyer
Sam Gregory
Clara Hanot
Diana Maynard

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, co-founded by UNESCO and ITU, has launched a comprehensive new research study on one of the world's most difficult challenges: ‘Balancing Act: Countering Digital Disinformation while respecting Freedom of Expression’. The book is published in the context of the Commission’s 10th Anniversary. 
A clear and evidence-based message of this report is that we should unite our work to combat disinformation with actions to advance freedom of expression. The study is unique in its global scale and comprehensiveness, with a suite of sector-specific actionable recommendations, and a bibliography of 700 citations. The book-length report was compiled by a consortium of seven international researchers and reviewed and endorsed by leading external experts from five continents. 
The findings are organised into a typology of 11 different categories of responses to disinformation – ranging from identification and investigatory responses, through to policy and legislative measures, technological steps, and educational approaches. 
For each category of response, the reader will find a description of work being done around the world, by which actors, how it is funded and who or what is targeted. The report further analyses the underlying assumptions and theories of change behind these responses, while weighing up the challenges and opportunities. Each category of response is also assessed in terms of its intersections with the universal human right of freedom of expression, with a particular focus on press freedom and access to information. Finally, case studies of responses to COVID-19 disinformation are presented within each category. 
The report provides stakeholders with a rich suite of sector-specific recommendations, as well as a helpful 23-point framework that can be used for assessing any particular response to disinformation in the context of freedom of expression challenges. This research will help the widest range of key actors to better understand this phenomenon, and especially the way the world is responding to it, and where the gaps are. 
At the heart of this knowledge product is the need to balance responses to disinformation with respect for freedom of expression. The research shows us that this can be done. 
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, co-chaired by H.E. President Paul Kagame and the entrepreneur/philanthropist Carlos Slim, is a public-private forum of leaders in technology, government, multilateral and UN, civil society and academia to help advance universal access to information through enhancing broadband connectivity. UNESCO secretariat and Dr. Hessa Al Jaber of Qatar co-chaired the Working Group that commissioned this research. 
This research of the Broadband Commission study is edited by Professor Kalina Bontcheva (University of Sheffield, UK) and Dr Julie Posetti (International Center for Journalists,U.S.; Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield/ Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford, UK). The other contributing authors are Denis Teyssou (Agence France Presse, France); Dr. Trisha Meyer (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium); Sam Gregory (WITNESS, U.S.); Clara Hanot (EU Disinfo Lab, Belgium); and Dr. Diana Maynard (University of Sheffield, UK). 


Download the Report

Agnieszka Vetulani-Cęgiel
Trisha Meyer


This paper asks to what extent the European Commission’s stakeholder participation model takes into account non-expert citizen contributions in policy processes pertaining to copyright. In theory, the increasing scale of citizen engagement in stakeholder consultations on copyright could help address the EU’s democratic deficit. The paper analyses the European Commission’s consultation processes in copyright policy across the Barroso 1&2 and Juncker Commissions (2004–2019). It documents the scale and the type of stakeholder involvement in public consultations. Through expert interviews and a survey, the paper gives critical insight into stakeholders’ perception of the Commission’s consultation practices and citizens’ role in policymaking. It concludes that the Commission is inclusive of different types of stakeholders, but casts doubt on the (perceived) motivation and appropriateness of its stakeholder participation model for non-expert citizens. The paper thus sheds light on the attempts and the struggle to engage with citizens in a digital age.

Read more >>>

Sébastien Lumet
Elie Perot
Clémence Pèlegrin

In the wake of the speech on the state of the Union by the President von der Leyen, this policy paper sheds some light on what a “geopolitical” Union may mean in more concrete terms. In particular, the paper looks first at the Union's overall strategy – or “grand strategy” – to cope with geopolitical challenges and then at how this grand strategy may be applied through three specific examples: defence (an issue which was largely absent from von der Leyen's speech), industrial policy and, lastly, climate policy. In these three policy domains, the European Union is faced with different types of strategic problems, however. EU defence policy, for example, still progresses essentially "from the bottom up", notably through its economic and capability dimensions, but without being guided by a clear level of political ambition. In consequence, EU defence policy remains ill-suited to deal with contemporary geopolitical upheavals and with the return of great power competition. In the field of industry, the stakes are quite different. While strengthening the Union's industrial policy, it has become necessary to ensure that the latter works well in tandem with its trade and competition policies. The question here is therefore one of ensuring horizontal coordination within the Union. Finally, with regard to climate change, the Union has to deal with a challenge which is the reverse, one could say, of the one it faces with respect to defence policy: it essentially consists in turning a clear and ambitious vision, expressed at the highest level of the Union, into a project that is truly shared across all sectors of the economy and between all member states. In sum, to face the geopolitical marathon that lies ahead, the Union must be able to rally around a common ambition, but without losing sight of how the latter can be tangibly implemented every step of the way.

Une Union toujours plus géopolitique ?