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  • Author: Loic Cobut
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In 2016, the European Commission recognized the role of renewable energy communities (RECs) in the Clean Energy Package (CEP). This package has been accompanied by a narrative of citizen empowerment while the EU energy and climate governance since the Paris Agreement has become more polycentric, seeking to further include non-state actors in the fight against climate change. This policy paper takes the opportunity of these evolutions to present RECs and the concepts of polycentric governance and empowerment based on existing academic literature. It combines these two concepts to analyse the evolution of the renewable energy governance of the EU through the CEP. The analysis is conducted in a reflexive manner that sheds light on the analytical inputs and limits of these concepts. More particularly, it pinpoints the limits of the EU interpreta- tion of empowerment and polycentricity, namely by exploring the place given to RECs and their struggle with energy incumbents. In a nutshell, this paper considers both the outcome of the CEP and what it tells about the renewable energy govern- ance of the EU itself. Ultimately, it provides with recommendations for a future revision of the renew- able energy policy of the European Union as well as for the coming transposition of the measures that were delivered by the CEP.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Governance, European Union, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo, Thijs Vandenbussche, Andreas Aktoudianakis
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The EU-US Summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partner- ship and set an ambitious joint agenda for EU-US cooperation post-COVID-19. The new Biden administration offers the EU the opportunity to re-establish transatlantic relations, which reached their lowest point since World War II under the turbulent Trump administration, and to address the bilateral disputes and tensions that have emerged, partly as a result of Trump’s ‘America First’ policies. One of the key deliverables of the Summit was the establishment of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC aims to deepen EU-US relations on trade and investment and to avoid new technical barriers to trade by cooperating on key poli- cies such as technology, digital policy issues and supply chains. Despite the optimism in Brussels and Washington about renewing and strengthening transat- lantic cooperation, there are several challenges for EU-US cooperation. In the areas of trade, digital and climate in particular several differing views or outstanding disputes (most of them inherited by the Trump administration) will need to be addressed by the new TTC (the first meeting is scheduled on 29-30 September 2021) or other joint bodies. Only then will the EU and the US be able to deliver on the new ambitious transatlantic agenda. This paper will there- fore discuss the key challenges and opportunities for EU-US cooperation in the three inter- related areas of trade, digital and climate. For each of these areas, the outcome of the June 2021 EU-US Summit will be discussed and the challenges and opportunities for delivering on the renewed transatlantic agenda will be analysed. Moreover, this paper will present several policy recommendations, for the TTC or on EU-US cooperation in general, on how to advance the transatlantic partnership.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, European Union, Digitalization, Summit
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: I like being a policy-oriented academic: you meet lots of interesting people and you are invited to interesting meetings, so you can really contribute to the debate. Some actors may from time to time think you have an appealing idea, and they may even seek some academic legitimacy for their decisions. But you are of course not present when the actual decisions are being taken. It’s my job and I love it – but this is not the role that the EU itself should play. Europe does not aspire to be the world’s policeman, but it cannot just be the world’s professor either. As the new EU leadership is coming in, we must give punch to our strategy, and make sure we have the power to make our ideas work in the real world. Power, not to confront, but to engage the world.
  • Topic: Globalization, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Leadership, Police
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tobias Gehrke
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The need for the EU to respond and position itself in the deepening geoeconomic competition between the Great Powers has initiated a policy reorientation that is slowly attempting to break down the barriers between economic and security concerns. But how can a more geoeconomic EU ensure an integrated approach to economic, technological and security policy that allows it both to manage new risks and also retain the principles of openness and cooperation? Getting a geoeconomic EU right will require a strategy which defines and operationalises the notion of ‘European economic sovereignty’. This would support the EU and Member States in managing the increasing tension between openness and protection in prospective policy. On that basis, a geoeconomic EU in 2020 could see it reinforcing resilience to economic coercion and strengthening its role in emerging technology-security governance and diplomacy.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jo Coelmont
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Europe is looking to be a global player rather than just a global playground. To achieve this, it needs a security council. This is essential for gaining strategic relevance. Europe needs to have recourse not only to international fora but also to a series of instruments of hard and soft power. Swift decision making at the appropriate level is of paramount importance. Such a security council should meet a number of requirements: it must be representative, be able to both achieve unity of vision and undertake action smoothly, and keep going until the desired end-state has been achieved. Several proposals have been made as to the composition of such a body. I will look into the four most discussed options. Are we spoilt for choice?
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Tobias Gehrke
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The corona crisis, the US-China great power competition and lacklustre international rules vividly demonstrate the vulnerability of economic interdependence. Interdependence is a power struggle, not a mutual aid society. For the vast benefits of a globalised economy to continue to outweigh its risks, policies to build greater resilience are necessary. For the EU, the unprecedented events also offer an opportunity to forge a new economic security approach to better manage its dependencies in strategic sectors.
  • Topic: Security, International Cooperation, Europe , Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Camille Dobler
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: With ongoing discussions on rule of law conditionality, and with the European Commission first Annual Rule of Law Report due soon, the focus on the rule of law is back at the top of the EU political agenda this autumn. As eyes turn to the latest political developments and threats to core EU principles and values in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), this policy brief suggests switching from a top-to-top perspective to a societal approach to uphold the rule of law. This would go beyond recommendations to cleanse the rule of law toolbox from inefficient political instruments, and strengthen legal ones. In addition to introducing conditionality, this brief advocates for more active support of local civil societies in exercising their democratic prerogatives over electoral and representative democracy.
  • Topic: Civil Society, International Cooperation, International Law, European Union, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer, Laura Vansina
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Belgo-Russian relations are mired in paradox. For several years, the relationship between the Russian Federation on the one hand and the EU and NATO on the other has been characterized by mistrust. As a founding member of these multilateral organisations, Belgium has been a full part of the decision-making process that has formulated a hardening stance towards the Russian Federation. Yet on a bilateral level, Belgium has pragmatically upheld what is left of commercial cooperation and cultural exchanges. In order to deal with this paradox, Belgium should formulate a more coherent approach towards Russia that focuses on upholding the European order and security whilst maintaining dialogue and engaging the Russian Federation. This requires the new Belgian government to engage in a delicate balancing act that can be articulated in the forthcoming National Security Strategy, in the Belgian positions in the EU and NATO, and in the bilateral relationship with Moscow. This Egmont Paper aspires to provide both analytical background and novel ideas which can be used to such a purpose. When analysing Russian foreign policy, it can only be acknowledged that the annex- ation of Crimea in 2014 fundamentally challenged the rules-based international order. Yet to understand Russian behaviour, it is imperative to reach back in time to the late 1990s and early 2000s. Ever since, Russia’s main goal on the international stage has been the re-establishment of its Great Power status. To this end, it has sought to consolidate security buffers in the form of geographical and psychological depth. Most notably, it involved the promotion of the ‘Russian World’ (Russkiy Mir), the conduct of operations in the grey zone between war and peace, and a fair dose of strategic opportunism. Whilst perhaps understandable, this assertive foreign policy has negatively affected Belgian interests in a variety of ways. Belgo-Russian relations constitute a true kaleidoscope ranging from cooperation to conflict. Bilateral trade has largely recovered from the 2014-2015 shock resulting from the sanctions regime – even if the trade balance remains a negative one. Cultural and academic exchanges continue, in line with the little-known 1993 Belgo- Russian Treaty on Understanding and Cooperation. Yet politically, conflict has been on the increase. Russia has been actively challenging and contesting the multilateral framework that Belgium holds dear. In addition, Belgium has become the target of Russian disinformation and other grey zone operations. As it is unlikely that Russia will tone down its assertive foreign policy anytime soon, Belgium would do well to articulate a more coherent approach. This needs to clarify Belgian policy priorities, communicate Belgian positions towards the Russian government, and educate the domestic audience about the evolving relationship with the Russian Federation.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Didier Audenaert
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In this policy brief, the author focusses on NATO’s nuclear dimension. He highlights key challenges in the European security environment and explains essential charac- teristics of NATO’s deterrence and collective defence, and its contribution to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. He then briefly describes the contributions of NATO’s nuclear states (and in particular France’s) to collective security and defence. All Allies (except France) participate in the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG), NATO’s senior body on nuclear matters. NATO’s nuclear role sharing is at the heart of this policy brief: US nuclear weapons carried by European dual-capable aircraft (DCA). The author argues emphatically as to why American nuclear weapons should be kept on European soil and the current DCA countries should maintain the status quo. Tangible recommendations follow on in terms of Belgian’s foreign security policy and defence, many of which are also highly likely to apply to other DCA countries.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium, North America
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The commemorations of the Great War have come to and end. 2019 will see the centenary of the peace treaties that concluded the war, starting with Versailles, and of the founding of the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations. These failed to establish a stable rules-based world order, but they deserve to be commemorated nonetheless, as well as analysed, for we might learn something from them. This policy brief offers four insights from the Interbellum to help us avoid a collapse of the world order today: (1) A world order that is created for the express purpose of keeping one of the great powers outside the system, is bound to fail. (2) If breaking the rules carries no consequences, the world order will be hollowed out and, eventually, collapse. (3) A great power who refuses to invest in the world order, cannot expect the others to do so. (4) No state voluntarily submits to another: a world order that is only imposed and not accepted, will not last long.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Organization, United Nations, Military Strategy, Peace, League of Nations
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ronald Van Reybroeck
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Foreign Affairs Council on 19 November 2018 agreed to launch the CARD (Coordinated Annual Review on Defence) as a standing activity aimed at offering a better overview at EU level of defence spending, national investment and defence research efforts. Ministers of Defence tasked the European Defence Agency (EDA) to launch the first full CARD cycle in autumn 2019. How did we get here and, more importantly, what does the CARD have in store?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: As the conduct of international relations is changing in tone, bilateral diplomacy is back in vogue. This trend does not leave the European continent unaffected: intergovernmental bargaining is on the rise. Many EU member state capitals make good use of their diplomatic network across the continent to better understand what other member states aspire to achieve, and to promote their own voice within the European system. This Egmont Paper seeks to shed conceptual clarity on the resurgence of bilateral diplomacy in Europe. Firstly, it argues that in the absence of multilateral successes, bilateral approaches constitute the fall-back position for structuring the international system. Secondly, it explains in what ways bilateral networks add political depth to intra-European relationships. Thirdly, it addresses the question whether the revival of bilateralism in Europe inevitably undermines supranational institutions. It concludes one must appreciates the conspicuous complementarity between the two approaches: bilateralism and multilateralism may well alternate in prominence, but can also reinforce one another. By way of postscript, it considers the implications this analysis entails for Belgium’s diplomatic posture.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Strategic autonomy: yes! But to do what exactly? To protect ourselves, or to protect others, outside Europe, as well? To protect ourselves by defeating the enemy on his own ground, in Europe’s neighbourhood or further afield? Or only by making sure he doesn’t breach the walls of Europe? To protect us from all enemies, or only from some? Who is the “enemy” anyway? The June 2016 European Union Global Strategy (EUGS) for the first time explicitly mentions strategic autonomy as an objective for the Union, and that raises a lot of questions. Sven Biscop argues that the EU’s priorities should be: (1) In the short term, to further strengthen its strategic autonomy in protecting our domestic security, and to achieve full strategic autonomy in crisis response, across the whole spectrum of operations, in our broad neighbourhood. (2) In the medium term, to achieve a significant degree of autonomy in securing Europe’s “connectivity” with the world, in space, air space and cyberspace and on the seas. (3) In the long term, to achieve a significant degree of autonomy for the European Allies and partners of NATO (who, pace Cyprus, happen to constitute the EU), to deter and defend against threats against our territory, in case the attention of our main non-EU allies is pulled away by contingencies outside the North Atlantic area.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Tobias Gehrke
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The EU-China economic relationship is transitioning to a new era. Years of soaring Chinese investments in Europe are increasingly met with unease by EU leaders. Beijing’s influence on the activities of its global economic actors have resulted in economic security concerns about critical infrastructure and national security on the continent. A hectic debate about security risks of Chinese technology companies and a new EU regulation on a common investment screening regime are evidence of an ongoing policy response to perceived growing risks from economic interdependence. Europe is right to acknowledge these risks. But Europe is also divided. Lacking common priorities for action makes individual policies vulnerable and insufficient. A new EU strategy on China must start at home. Of course, Member States’ political expediency is the Union’s eternal handicap. This policy brief offers three lines of action in which policy reform can support Europe’s resilience and reinforce the foundation of an EU strategy on China
  • Topic: International Cooperation, European Union, Investment, Economic Cooperation, Transition
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jean De Ruyt
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The decision by the United States to withdraw from the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” and re-impose sanctions on Iran broke an international understanding, sanctioned by a UN Security Council Resolution. However, European and other non-US companies dealing with Iran must abide by US law in order to avoid its extra- territorial effects on their US operations. Efforts are being made to help the EU keep its “sovereignty” on sanction issues when there is disagreement with the US, but until now these have not accomplished much. Therefore a new Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was launched at the end of January to ensure the continuation of some trade with Iran. But the only convincing way to allow the EU to increase its autonomy is to boost the role of the Euro in international transactions. Certainly, in today’s unpredictable world, we need more than ever to address the issue of the extraterritorial application of American sanctions – today it is Iran, what if tomorrow it is China?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Sovereignty, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America
  • Author: Elie Perot
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: On 22 January 2019, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel signed a new treaty on “Franco-German cooperation and integration” in Aachen. Complementing the 1963 Elysée Treaty which symbolized the reconciliation between Germany and France in the post-war period, the Aachen Treaty aims to further strengthen the ties between the two countries in the domains of economy, culture, administration, environment, diplomacy and defence. Although the Treaty has been criticised for its lack of ambition, a closer reading of its text reveals some hidden gems, including its mutual defence clause. What does this new clause mean for the Franco-German tandem and for collective defence in Europe?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Jo Coelmont
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The EU Global Strategy is crystal clear on the EU’s political level of ambition yet remarkably silent on the corresponding military level of ambition. But strategy without capabilities is just a hallucination. Recent developments in the EU make it possible, however, for the Member States to agree on an appropriate and affordable military level of ambition. The aim: to conduct autonomous crisis management operations and to contribute substantially to territorial defence within the NATO framework. We should not forget that the European countries have the primary responsibility for the territorial defence of their own continent.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bruno Hellendorff
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: On 1 February 2019, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that his country had suspended its compliance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF Treaty, and would withdraw from it within six months. The INF Treaty, little known outside of arms control and disarmament circles, was a landmark Cold War agreement between the United States of America and the USSR – the first to ban an entire category of weapons (ground-based medium- and intermediate-range missiles). The US withdrawal, announced in dramatic terms by President Donald Trump in October 2018, followed the claim that Russia had recently developed and fielded a missile with performances forbidden by the INF Treaty. The end of this little-known treaty is not anecdotal. Not only will it further strain the US-Russia relationship and antagonise allies, it will also contribute to the erosion of what is left of the global arms-control architecture and incentivise arms-race behav- iours among great powers. In a world where security is increasingly less a question of multilateral deliberation and rules-based interactions, the end of the INF Treaty is a further signal that missile technologies are again becoming a venue for competition between great powers: only this time, at least three are playing the game (United States, China and Russia) rather than two (United States and USSR). Additionally, missile technology proliferation has turned into a major dimension of contemporary battlefield realities, and missile programmes of countries such as Iran and North Korea continue to pose important diplomatic and non-proliferation challenges. Meanwhile, Europe is, by and large, left watching as its regional security architecture erodes. Welcome to what US National Security Advisor John Bolton recently termed ‘a multipolar missile world’. The EU should not try to salvage the INF Treaty. Its diplomatic capital might be better spent in areas where it could potentially make a difference, rather than in a treaty to which it is not even party. Existing multilateral regimes and agreements with the EU or its Member States as parties are already in dire need of reinforcement in the face of technological progress, a volatile diplomatic environment and self-centred, competitive political narratives. These include, inter alia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) framework (including its Structured Dialogue), multilateral export control regimes (MECR) like the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), transparency and trust-building mechanisms like the Hague Code of Conduct against missile proliferation (HCoC), and nuclear-related frame- works like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or ‘Iran deal’) or the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Process. These, however, may simply fail to meet the challenge of a multipolar missile world. Renewed efforts, both conceptual and in the realm of capabilities, are needed in a NATO framework to reinforce the linkage between deterrence and diplomacy. NATO-EU dialogue and cooperation on defence issues could be further enhanced, and European countries should work more with like-minded partners at both bilat- eral or multilateral levels on the challenges of non-proliferation and disarmament in the twenty-first century. The demise of the INF Treaty should therefore re-energise the debate on European strategic autonomy, help support collective capability building – not least in NATO – and prompt new discussions on stronger multilateral rules on missile development, use and proliferation.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Jolyon Howorth
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Europe wants autonomy and it wants a strategy. Semantically, of course, “wants” has a double meaning. First, it means “lacks”. Europe lacks autonomy and it lacks a strategy. The second meaning of wants is “desires”. Here, we have a genuine question. How many EU member states genuinely desire autonomy for the EU? How many are genuinely in favor of a grand strategy – as opposed to the EU’s default practice of just muddling through? And there is also a third meaning behind wants: “needs”. In my view, the EU needs strategic autonomy. But having said that, all I have done is set a point of arrival. How to get there?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: 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.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Economic Cooperation, Digitization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Belgium
  • Author: Nina Wilen
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In a shifting geopolitical context, the Belgian Defence has intensified its presence in the Sahel region and developed a new strategic military collaboration with Niger through Operation New Nero. This policy brief critically examines the strategy and identifies three challenges for the future of the operation: Niger’s democratic development, the asymmetry between the Western Partner Nation’s capabilities, and diverging agendas within the Belgian Defence. To counter these challenges, it is suggested that the minimalist approach and the social networks which enable horizontal collaboration among partners are maintained, while new civil-military opportunities are explored. On a broader level, it is recommended that Belgium aligns its political and military agendas to achieve long- term strategies geopolitical regions of importance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Belgium, Sahel, Niger
  • Author: Didier Audenaert
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: On 2 August both the US and the Russian Federation will no longer be restrained by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty (1987). Early this century it gradually became clear that Russia wanted to step out of the Treaty, by which it felt itself to be solely restrained. European nations should now take up a greater share of the burden of missile defence, which should get a broader mission than it has today. The debate on EU strategic autonomy can be an instrument in this endeavour. Because of the worsening security environment NATO’s non- strategic nuclear capability becomes even more important. European NATO allies and EU member states may very soon be confronted with difficult and fundamental choices for a future without the INF Treaty, which need to be communicated and explained to their national population.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, European Union, INF Treaty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Abdolrasool Divsallar, Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Europe's efforts to keep the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for Iran alive hardly seem effective. On 28 June 2019, during a meeting of the Joint Commission of JCPOA, it was announced that the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) has been made operational. 1 Though it injected new hope into saving the deal, it is unlikely that in the long term INSTEX’ limited scope will meet Tehran's demands. The Middle East is going through tough times since the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and started to exert 'maximum pressure' on Iran, prompting unparalled tensions between the two nations. Can the EU do more?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation, JCPOA
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Tomas Ries
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Published in October 2018, the European Commission’s joint communication Connecting Europe and Asia – Building Blocks for an EU Strategy offers a good outline of the principles underlying the European Union’s (EU) connectivity interests. However, the document does not address the security implications of connectivity: it merely notes that “’flow security’ matters”. This Policy Brief attempts to cover that gap and expand on the notion of flow security. Security challenges should not be seen as an intrinsic obstacle to connectivity itself, or to its development. What we call “connectivity” today is part of a deeper trend whereby societies and economies are increasingly tied to each other, and most developed economies now bid on a further deepening of this trend, as is apparent in discussions over the “internet of things” (IoT) or “Industry 4.0”. Still, connectivity entails specific and dynamic challenges that require dedicated attention
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jim Cloos
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In 2014, the European Parliament staged a small 'coup' when it imposed the EPP "Spitzenkandidat" Jean-Claude Juncker as the new Commission President, on the basis of a rather innovative reading of the Treaty. In 2019, the attempt at renewing this operation failed, because of some of the inherent flaws in the concept, and because the conditions were no longer the same. The European Council was quick to reclaim its prerogatives as set out in the Treaty. This may however not be the last word and a revised version of the Spitzenkandidaten could possibly emerge from the upcoming conference on the future of the EU. But any such move towards a more federal Europe requires an informed and transparent debate and cannot be introduced via the back-door.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Centralization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangements often get bad press. This is remarkable given the fact that they have demonstrably contributed to (a) countering the proliferation of nuclear arsenals in Europe, (b) fostering alliance cohesion by giving non-nuclear weapon states a voice on the nuclear posture of the alliance, and (c) making nuclear deterrence more effective militarily by offering a wider array of force options. When the relative merits of extended nuclear deterrence are unknown, public support thereof is likely to suffer. In order to enrich the debate about NATO’s nuclear policy, this Security Policy Brief articulates the threefold logic of nuclear-sharing.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Nuclear Weapons, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: At their 1998 Saint-Malo Summit, the UK and France initiated the creation of a military arm for the European Union, now known as the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Ever since, EU member states have consistently claimed that more cooperation between their armed forces is the only way to significantly increase military capability. Successive projects have been proposed, yet none has ever really been implemented.Sceptics can therefore be forgiven for eyeing the EU’s latest initiative, known as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with some suspicion – not least because the EU has already tried and failed to activate PESCO, in 2010 after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Conditionality in the EU comes in many forms: legally codified and enforced by the Court of Justice, or reliant on intergovernmental bargaining and expressed by means of political or economic (dis)incentives. This European Policy Brief explores the boundaries of the conditionality debate, and assesses what varying degrees of conditionality can and cannot achieve. The overarching objective of conditionality is to foster integration and cohesion amongst the peoples of Europe and their Member States. A sound logic of conditionality must therefore set incentives in such a way that their application contributes to this intended outcome. A balanced combination of political, legal and budgetary instruments can help remedy a major lacuna in the Treaties: the effective protection of the rule of law and democracy.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Democracy, Legal Theory , Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Basile Ridard
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: At a time of rising populism in Europe and a global crisis of democratic representation, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) aims to provide a concrete response to those denouncing the lack of democratic legitimacy of the EU institutions. The new regulation, proposed by the Commission last September and still under discussion by both the Parliament and the Council, facilitates the use of ECI. However, it remains insufficient for citizens willing to engage regularly in the EU law-making process. This Egmont Paper assesses the overall impact of the ECI on European policies and compares it to the complementary tools of participatory democracy such as the recently established Citizens’ consultations.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Democracy, Europe Union, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rik Coolsaet, Thomas Renard
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: According to intelligence estimates, there are around 1,400 European children in Syria and Iraq, many of them born there. The fate of these children confronts European governments with moral, legal, political, diplomatic and security dilemmas. Governments are divided over the issue, but almost all are reluctant to address it head-on. None have taken a proactive stance with regard to these children, creating several security voids. This policy brief looks into the fate of these European children before exploring in more detail the situation of the Belgians among them. It analyses the position of the Belgian government with regard to repatriation and reviews existing policies concerning returning children. The authors end up with a number of recommendations for Belgian and European authorities, including a plea for a more proactive response.
  • Topic: Security, Children, Displacement, Reparations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Belgium, Syria
  • Author: Basile Ridard
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The European institutions are not always able to address crises in a timely manner due to the cumbersome decision-making process. European agencies often provide the most appropriate response to the concerns of citizens and businesses that are experienced across the single market. They should be granted greater autonomy to bring to life EU policies while being made more responsible. At a time of growing uncertainties, the EU needs to further develop existing EU agencies and create new ones for addressing new cross-border challenges. A common legal framework should also be created for all EU agencies in order to harmonize their overall functioning.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Legal Theory , Medicine
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nanae Baldauff
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Not so long ago Japan seemed to be left out on the diplomatic stage, notably when it decided not to join China’s newly established Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) in 2015. But while no one can deny China’s impressive global outreach under the banner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Japan has not been sitting idly by. Quite the contrary, Japan is playing a leading role in shaping the concept of free and open Indo-Pacific region, and has positioned itself as an important political actor that upholds the rule of law under its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP). As China becomes more and more assertive economically and militarily, strengthening ties with Japan becomes all the more important for the European Union (EU). As a strategic partner of Japan, the EU more than ever needs to work with Japan in upholding the liberal international order.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: What are we to make of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration outlining the future relationship between the EU and the UK? This European Policy Brief explores the current state of the Brexit debate from a Belgian perspective. While the Brexit deal deserves to be welcomed, domestic politics continue to act as a bottleneck. Whether or not the Withdrawal Agreement obtains parliamentary approval, Belgian authorities would do well to stay alert and prepare for multiple potential outcomes.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Gustaaf Geeraets
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Against a background in which the United States is increasingly drawing into question its commitments to free trade and the global commons, the challenge for the EU and China is to deal with a global governance system that is evolving from a multilateral system centred around the US into a more diffuse system resting on the three strong trading poles: China, the EU and the US.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Tania Zgajewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Shale gas is an unconventional form of gas because its extraction is more difficult or less economical than that of conventional natural gas. It has become an important item of energy policy during the last years since new processes have allowed its extraction. In the medium term, shale gas should foster a reinforcement of the gas part in the world's energy mix. In 2011, the IEA released an influential report entitled "Are we entering a golden age of gas?" This report suggests that shale gas could help substantially boost global gas use. It also warns at the same time that this success could bring into question the international goal of limiting the long-term increase in the global temperature to 2° C above pre-industrial levels.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tania Zgajewski
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Energy saving has been a stated policy objective of the EU since the 1970s. Presently, the 2020 target is a 20% reduction of EU energy consumption in comparison with current projections for 2020. This is one of the headline targets of the European Energy Strategy 2020 but efforts to achieve it remain slow and insufficient. The aim of this paper is to understand why this is happening.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Russia's annexation of the Crimea and subsequent meddling in Ukraine does not constitute a game-changer. It is just a reminder that at least since the war with Georgia in 2008 Russia has been and still is playing the same game: a "game of zones",aimed at (re)establishing an exclusive sphere of influence. Many of us Europeans had forgotten that, or had pushed it to the back of our minds, preferring to believe that we were not engaged in a zero-sum game in our eastern neighbourhood.
  • Topic: Security, Sovereignty, Terrorism, Armed Struggle, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Tania Zgajewski
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Like other regions of the world, the EU is developing biofuels in the transport sector to reduce oil consumption and mitigate climate change. To promote them, it has adopted favourable legislation since the 2000s. In 2009 it even decided to oblige each Member State to ensure that by 2020 the share of energy coming from renewable sources reached at least 10% of their final consumption of energy in the transport sector. Biofuels are considered the main instrument to reach that percentage since the development of other alternatives (such as hydrogen and electricity) will take much longer than expected.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Biofuels
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Xavier Vanden Bosch
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Despite renewed interest in an EU industrial policy, the concept remains particularly elusive because it has no universal definition. This paper relies on a broad and inclusive definition of industrial policy proposed by Warwick (in an OECD working paper) to provide a clearer picture of what the concept encompasses when applied to the EU. It therefore includes an original visual taxonomy of the EU policies that constitute industrial policy. It can serve as a guiding framework for reflecting on industrial policy in the EU.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, Political Economy, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Franklin Dehousse
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: One innovative element of the Lisbon Treaty was the creation of a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI). At the time, this was sometimes hailed as a fundamental change in the European institutional system. A few years after the entry into force of the Treaty, however, much less is heard about this “first truly transnational instrument of modern direct democracy”, this “revolution in disguise”, this “very innovative and symbolic” provision5. This could seem surprising at first sight. Since the entry into force of the Treaty, the implementation of this provision has been remarkably rapid. Meanwhile, new arguments have risen concerning the lack of democratic legitimacy of the European Union, and the lack of connection between the European institutions and the citizens.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Europe's financial and sovereign debt crises have become increasingly interconnected. In order to break the negative feedback loop between the two, the EU has decided to create a common supervisory framework for the banking sector: the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). The SSM will involve a supervisory system including both the national supervisors and the European Central Bank (ECB). By endowing the ECB with supervisory authority over a major part of the European banking sector, the SSM's creation will result in a shake-up of the way in which the European financial sector is being supervised. Under the right circumstances, this could be a major step forward in addressing Europe's interconnected crises.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Xavier Vanden Bosch
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Both the Commission's proposal for a 'Competitiveness and Convergence Instrument' and the 'contractual arrangement' presented by President Van Rompuy share a common concept: associating EU money with national structural reforms under a binding arrangement.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Labor Issues, Monetary Policy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sven Biscop (ed.)
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: When a doctor calls for a thorough examination of the state of a patient's health, he hopes that everything will turn out to be alright, but it really means that he fears there is a serious problem. Likewise, when Herman Van Rompuy called for the European Council of which he is the President to examine “the state of defence in Europe”, he was asking for more than a routine check-up. In this joint Egmont Paper, the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Egmont Institute offer their diagnosis. In the opening essay, Claudia Major and Christian Mölling cannot but conclude that “the state of defence in Europe” is nearing the state of emergency. The “bonsai armies” that they fear we will end up with are nice to look at – on the national day parade for example – but not of much use.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: European foreign policy: the words do not conjure up any grand images. In the absence of any real ambition, there are neither triumphs to celebrate nor disasters to mourn. There is only gentle irrelevance to contemplate. Such is the image of Europe as an international player today in the minds of those who make and study foreign policy and strategy, in our own as well as in foreign capitals. Gentle irrelevance, for Europe proclaims to wish the world well and is generous enough with its money to prove it. And it presents no cause for fear, only for irritation, in some corners, with its inconvenient insistence on universal values. But irrelevance nonetheless, for Europe lacks the unity and sense of purpose for resolute and sustained action to uphold these values, and continues to liberally spend its money quite regardless of values or effect. Increasingly irrelevant even, for in the wake of the financial crisis Europe struggles to maintain its own social model, which undermines the legitimacy of its value-based narrative and erodes the will as well as the me ans for external action.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Power Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring is a revolutionary event on the EU's doorstep, of importance comparable to the end ofthe communist regimes in Eastern Europe some two decades ago. First it has ended the Arab exception to the proposition of democracy and human rights as universal values. Second it has demonstrated to all remaining authoritarian and/or grossly corrupted regimes around the world the power of the new technologies of social networking in undermining such regimes. Third it renews the challenge for both political scientists and practitioners to work out feasible political reform strategies for bridging the transition between authoritarianism and sound democratic governance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Islam, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia