Recent Publications

Pieter Boussemaere
Jan Cools
Michel De Paepe
Cathy Macharis
Erik Mathijs
Bart Muys
Karel Van Acker
Han Vandevyvere
Arne van Stiphout
Frank Venmans
Kris Verheyen
Pascal Vermeulen
Sara Vicca
Tomas Wyns

This report was developed and written by researchers from diverse disciplines and across different academic and research institutes in Belgium. It is the contribution of these researchers to the call for action under the ‘Sign for My Future’ campaign. It is inspired by the widespread societal call for climate action by ‘youth for climate’ and the coalition of a wide range of societal actors. It also,in particular, responds to the call for the scientific community to actively engage in this debate andwas informed and guided by the latest scientific evidence on anthropogenic climate change and the related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions pathways that stand a significant chance to avoid global average temperature increases of 1.5 ̊C and 2 ̊C compared to pre-industrial levels.

The main goal of this report is to support Belgian policy makers and key stakeholders in the development of a vision and strategy towards achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Belgium by 2050, while taking into account the impact of consumption inside Belgium leading to emissions outside of our country.

Alexander Mattelaer

On 18 March 2019 the fifth edition of the Belgo-German Conference took place in Brussels. Framed around the inter-related themes of energy, mobility and digitalization, the conference sought to provide a platform for dialogue between political leaders, diplomatic officials, and representatives from the private sector, academia and civil society. This European Policy Brief aims to illuminate the major topics that were discussed at the conference and put these into a wider context. The umbrella theme of connectivity in infrastructure speaks to the common ambition that Belgium and Germany share: propelling the European project forward – even when facing headwinds – by embracing increased economic interdependence.

Tongfi Kim

President Trump is reportedly planning to demand payment from host countries of U.S. troops covering the entire cost of stationing plus 50 percent. Seoul and Tokyo should treat this so-called “Cost Plus 50” as a wake-up call to deal collaboratively with the threats their U.S. alliances are facing. South Korea and Japan need to coordinate their Special Measures Agreement negotiation strategies, not just to save money, but to preserve the long-term viability of U.S. alliances in East Asia. Above all, they must avoid buying U.S. favor at the expense of each other and appeasing U.S. adversaries such as China and Russia.

Raluca Csernatoni
Bruno Oliveira Martins

Policy Brief: Csernatoni, Raluca & Bruno Oliveira Martins (2019) The European Defence Fund: Key Issues and Controversies, PRIO Policy Brief, 3. Oslo: PRIO,

The recently-launched European Defence Fund (EDF) is a ground-breaking investment in the areas of security and defence and holds the potential to fundamentally challenge the nature of the European Union (EU) as a peace project. Proponents of the EDF frame the initiative as crucial to European security in an age of increasing political instability and rapid technological change. As such, the EDF is framed as a much-needed catalyst for scaling up the EU’s defence by conferring strategic autonomy to Europe, and overhauling a lagging European Defence Technological and Industrial Base. To achieve these goals, the EDF stresses the need to optimise strategic value for money by funding cutting-edge research and innovation and by fostering the development of interoperable defence capabilities. However, the EDF also raises important questions about EU’s political priorities, output legitimacy, and security and defence governance.

Raluca Csernatoni

Book Chapter: Csernatoni, Raluca (2019) The EU’s Technological Power: Harnessing Future and Emerging Technologies for European Security. In Baciu CA., Doyle J. (eds) Peace, Security and Defence Cooperation in Post-Brexit Europe. Springer, Cham, DOI:

Raluca Csernatoni

Csernatoni, Raluca (2019) Between rhetoric and practice: technological efficiency and defence cooperation in the European drone sector. Critical Military Studies, DOI:

Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf
Sebastian Oberthür

This Thursday, the European Council will meet in Sibiu, Romania. Not long ago, this meeting was expected to be an important milestone in the Process on the Future of the EU. Some even called this process “the Sibiu Process”. This seems to be a long time ago. Now, expectations are much lower; most expect only a vague outcome, at best. Avoiding controversy is the first order of business – only a few weeks before the elections. But – no matter what the outcome of the meeting in Sibiu will be – the core questions of the Process on the Future of the EU will not go away: how to maintain and develop a strong EU that is capable of helping Member States address problems that they cannot solve alone. This question will stick with us, and it will keep the new Parliament and the new Commission busy.

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Plamen Nikolov
Paolo Pasimeni

The debate about the use of fiscal instruments for macroeconomic stabilization has regained prominence in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and the experience of a monetary union equipped with fiscal shock absorbers, such as the United States, has often been a reference. This paper enhances our knowledge about the degree of macroeconomic stabilization achieved in the United States through the federal budget, providing a detailed breakdown of the different channels. In particular, we investigate the relative importance and stabilization impact of the federal system of unemployment benefits and of its extension as a response to the Great Recession. The analysis shows that in the United States, corporate income taxes collected at the federal level are the single most efficient instrument for providing stabilization, given that even with a smaller size than other instruments they can provide important effects, mainly against common shocks. On the other hand, Social Security benefits and personal income taxes have a greater role in stabilizing asymmetric shocks. A federal system of unemployment insurance, then, can play an important stabilization role, in particular when enhanced by a discretionary program of extended benefits in the event of a large shock, like the Great Recession. 

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Tomas Wyns
Gauri Khandekar
Matilda Axelson
Oliver Sartor
Karsten Neuhoff

Wyns et. al., (2019), Industrial Transformation 2050 - Towards an Industrial Strategy for a Climate Neutral Europe, IES, IES. Available at


About Industrial Transformation 2050 

This report has been commissioned by the European Climate Foundation. It is part of the Industrial Transformation 2050 project and the Net-Zero 2050 series, an initiative of the European Climate Foundation with contributions from a consortium of experts and organisations. 

The mission of Industrial Transformation 2050 is to co-develop, together with basic manufacturing and manufacturing industry and other stakeholders, pathways and policy options to enable a net-zero heavy industry in Europe by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Ag-reement, while strengthening industrial competitiveness and the EU’s overall economic development and performance.  

The objective of Net-Zero 2050 is to start building a vision and evidence base for the transition to net zero emission societies in Europe and beyond, by mid-century at the latest. Reports in the series seek to enhance understanding of the implications and opportunities of moving to climate neutrality across the power, industry, buildings, transport, agriculture and forestry sectors; to shed light on some of the near-term choices and actions needed to reach this goal, and to provide a basis for discussion and engagement with stakeholders and policymakers.

Sebastian Oberthür

Sebastian Oberthür (2019), Hard or Soft Governance? The EU’s Climate and Energy Policy Framework for 2030, Politics and Governance, 7: 1, 17-27.

Open access at:


This article investigates the stringency of EU climate and energy governance along the soft-hard continuum as a key determinant of its ability to achieve its ambitions. It introduces four criteria for a systematic and differentiated assessment of the bindingness/stringency of legislative instruments and governance frameworks, namely: (1) formal legal status, (2) the nature of the obligations (substantive—procedural), (3) their precision and prescriptiveness, and (4) the means for effecting accountability and effective implementation. The application of this assessment framework to the EU’s Climate and Energy Policy Framework for 2030 in comparison with the preceding 2020 Framework and the international Paris Agreement on climate change demonstrates the added value of this approach. The focus is on regulations, adopted in 2018, regarding greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy (RE), and energy efficiency as well as the surrounding framework for planning, reporting, monitoring, and enforcement. The EU’s 2030 Framework scores high on the four criteria. Despite implementing the comparatively soft Paris Agreement, it does not fall behind the stringency of the 2020 Framework, as the abandoning of binding national targets for RE is balanced by strengthened obligations to prepare national plans, long-term strategies, and regular progress reports, as well as the enhanced monitoring and supervisory powers of the European Commission. While actual delivery will not least depend on how the Commission will use its established and newly acquired powers and tools, the 2030 Framework reinforces EU interest in strengthening international climate governance under the Paris Agreement.