Recent Publications

Matilda Axelson (Lead Author)
Isobel Robson
Gauri Khandekar
Tomas Wyns (Project Coordinator)

The ‘Breaking Through’ report assesses the latest state of play of 70 low-CO2 process technologies currently under development in Europe for the Iron and Steel, Chemicals, Cement and Concrete, Pulp and Paper, and Ceramics industries. The report provides snapshot of the current situation by assessing current industrial process innovations based on their CO2-emission reduction potential, energy demand, costs and technological readiness. It also sheds light on the magnitude of the decarbonisation challenge ahead for these industrial sectors. The analysis demonstrates that there is not a lack of solutions or technologies available to enable decarbonisation of the EU industrial sectors, but stronger efforts are needed to drive further development of these technologies from ideas to commercialisation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in the middle of a trip to India and Singapore. This visits fits within Seoul’s ‘New Southern Policy’, an effort by the Moon government to strengthen economic and diplomatic links with ASEAN and India. On the economic front, President Moon seeks to increase trade and investment between South Korea and its southern neighbours. Previous South Korean governments signed free trade agreements with both ASEAN and India, but increasing protectionism in the US and trade sanctions from China in 2017 convinced Seoul that it should further diversify its economic links. As for diplomacy, South Korea sees ASEAN, especially, and India as key partners to bring North Korea in from the cold. They can provide diplomatic support for President Moon’s engagement efforts, and Vietnam can serve as a model if and as North Korea continues to implement economic reform.

Ilke Adam

This article considers the features of intergovernmental relations (IGR) on immigrant integration in Belgium and critically examines the dynamics that shape them. The characteristics of IGR on immigrant integration in Belgium are shown to vary over time and differ across regions and sub-policy areas (immigrant reception policies and anti-discrimination). The comparative case study indicates that the primary traditional theses of the international comparative IGR literature, namely classical institutionalism and party politics, do not provide insights into the nature and mechanisms of IGR on immigrant integration in Belgium. Less established variables like European integration and sub-state claims for distinctiveness constitute key explanatory variables. While European integration explains the increase of IGR over time, notwithstanding the appearance of party incongruence, sub-state claims for distinctiveness enlighten the more conflictual nature of IGR with Flanders, even in cases of more party congruence than for Francophone authorities.

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Jung H. Pak

Last fall and winter, the world was tense with the real possibilities of a military conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula as a result of Kim Jong-un’s testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, the North’s sixth and largest nuclear test, and the rhetorical war with U.S. President Donald Trump. While the threat of another Korean war seems to be in the rear-view mirror, for now, we have to remember that Kim has been expanding, sharpening, and demonstrating other tools of coercive diplomacy, including selective engagement, cyberattacks, and chemical weapons. He has been deploying these tools to suppress criticism of the regime, sow division within South Korea and among U.S. allies and regional stakeholders, and shape an external environment favorable for reinforcing Kim’s legitimacy and North Korea’s claimed status as a nuclear weapons power.

Virginia Proud

In the last 10 years, efforts to understand and harness science diplomacy have gained momentum in both the academic and policy-making world. Much of the conversation around science diplomacy looks in the rear view mirror, where the positive impact of scientific collaboration is easier to see. But if there is an intention, or desire, as expressed in policy circles, that the Commission benefit from science as a forward directed tool of diplomacy, then engagement with the scientific community and understanding their perceptions and attitudes is key. This study, based on in-depth interviews with Horizon 2020 scientific and project coordinators, reveals common attitudes and themes that shed light on how, and how much, to engage scientists in the science diplomacy conversation, with specific recommendations for bridging the gap between the aspirations of policy and science.

Stephan Klose

The regional roles external actors play, such as ‘China’s role in Africa’ or ‘the US role in East Asia’, have long been popular subjects of analysis in the international relations literature. Yet, the emergence and evolution of these roles remains remarkably under-theorized. While some ‘new regionalist’ scholars have discussed the dynamics of an external actor’s regional involvement by referring to the concepts of ‘penetration’ and ‘socialization’, neither concept, this article argues, is sufficiently equipped to capture how external actors come to aspire and realize their regional roles. To address this shortcoming, the article employs an interactionist role theory perspective, which draws on the work of social psychologist George Herbert Mead. In following this perspective, the article argues that external actors develop regional role aspirations as they draw on their creativity and reflexivity to overcome experienced uncertainties. To realize these aspirations, the article suggests, external actors seek to cast significant others into corresponding roles. Alter-casting, the article argues in this context, is critical for understanding the (re)constitution of an external actor’s regional role, and thus a region’s social structure.


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Youri Devuyst

The Community method is intended to ensure that in the process of making, implementing, and enforcing European Union law and policy (a) the general European interest is safeguarded by the independent European Commission that is responsible for proposing new EU legislation; (b) democratic representation of the people and the Member States takes place at the level of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, which together form the EU’s legislature; and (c) judicial control is secured by the European Court of Justice. The article traces the historical origins and evolution of the Community method and assesses its continuing relevance against the background of alternative ways of decision making and coordination such as “intense transgovernmentalism” or “deliberative intergovernmentalism” in which the European Council plays the leading role.

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Riccardo Trobbiani

This policy brief analyses the key shortcomings of EU cultural cooperation in the ENP South and proposes recommendations for reform. It looks at both the strategies and instruments in place. Euro-Mediterranean cultural relations lack strategic thinking. On the one hand, EU policies on cultural cooperation fail to design a region-specific plan. On the other hand, EU external policies including the ENP do not clarify the role of culture and its relative importance vis-à-vis other foreign policy tools. Partially because of this lack of strategy, EU action remains short-termed, based on a donor-recipient relationship and under-resourced compared to its objectives.

​Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

Africa is (back) in sight. The belatedly formed coalition government in Germany, alongside the governments of France and the United Kingdom, has made ‘Africa’ a central focus of its political rhetoric. Numerous initiatives, from knowledge exchange to security exercises, stretch from the Sahel to South Africa. Translating these disparate endeavours into strategic policy can shape future perspectives and partnerships between the Europe, the European Union and Africa. This Policy Brief introduces key elements of the contemporary strategic context to offer a number of recommendations for a mutually useful re-engagement between the EU and the African Continent.

Richard Higgott

The European Union’s (EU) universities and their provision of higher education (HE) to international students remains one of its most powerful global development and cultural assets.   It operates a wide-ranging set of strategies to assist Africa in enhancing the quality and quantity of its HE. But an 8% average enrolment rate across all sub-Saharan African nations is still much lower than the average of 20-40% for all other developing regions, Currently, only one percent of total African GDP is spent on higher education.  Africa will not grow its graduate labour force relying solely on its public universities and/or public support from international bodies like the EU.  International private provision must play a greater role. Yet EU’s strategy towards HE in Africa fails to understand or to engage the private sector to help grow the number of Africans undertaking tertiary study.  There has been no effort to learn from the success of international private provision in Asia. This study identifies the benefits and opportunities of international private provision and proposes a set of next steps as part of a targeted ‘strategy of engagement’ for greater international private involvement in higher education in Africa. The EU currently does not, but needs, to play a role in these next steps.