Informal division of labour in the EU

Together with Karoline Van den Brande, I published an article in Journal of European Public Policy in which we analyse the informal division of labour that takes place in EU policy-making processes in the context of international environmental negotiations.

We indeed argue that the European Union’s external environmental policy-making is often characterized by informal division of labour between member states. The article focuses on informal arrangements in the EU co-ordination and representation processes with regard to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and international climate negotiations. Whereas the rotating Presidency is formally in charge of leading the internal EU co-ordination and representing the EU externally, we see that in practice an informal system is used, in which member states and Commission officials informally ‘take the lead’. Based upon new-institutionalist insights, the article argues that four functional reasons explain the informality in the EU’s external environmental policy-making: burden sharing; expertise pooling; involving member states; and guaranteeing continuity. Moreover, once the informal arrangement is in place, actors in the EU keep using it because they act path-dependently and because it is considered the most appropriate way to act in many international environmental negotiations.

Call for papers: The EU and Emerging Powers

The Center for European Studies of the Université catholique de Louvain, the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies of the University of Leuven,  the College of Europe, the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University, the Department of Political Science of the University of Liège, the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Institute for European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Institute for European studies of the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis are organizing on 29 and 30 April 2013 a conference on the ‘The EU and Emerging Powers’.

The call for papers has been launched and can be found here. More information about the conference is available on this website.

EU in International Affairs III

At the ‘EU in International Affairs III’ conference, taking place from 3 tot 5 May in Brussels, I am going to present a revised version of my paper on ‘Revisiting EU actorness in environmental affairs’, as well as the paper ‘When hands are tied externally. Scope conditions of external slippage in the EU’s external representation’ (co-authored by Edith Drieskens and Bart Kerremans). The full programme of the conference can be found here.

Workshop on the EU’s external representation at Clingendael Institute

On 21-22 February, I am participating in a workshop organized by Louise van Schaik and Edith Drieskens on the ‘EU external representation and the reform of international contexts: practices after Lisbon‘ at the Clingendael Institute (The Hague). The workshop brings together more than 50 academics and practitioners from all over Europe to discuss the EU’s current representation in international politics. I will present a paper on ‘The rotating Presidency and the EU’s external representation in environmental affairs: the case of climate change and biodiversity negotiations’. The full programme is available here.

Publications on the 2010 Belgian Presidency of the Council

Three publications, to which I contributed, on the 2010 Belgian Presidency of the Council of Ministers were recently issued. Together with David Criekemans, I wrote a chapter on the environment, climate change and energy agenda of the Belgian Presidency for the book ‘Readjusting the Council Presidency. Belgian Leadership in the EU‘, edited by Steven Van Hecke and Peter Bursens (Academic & Scientific Publishers, 2012). On the activities of the Belgian Presidency in the areas of environment and climate change policies, I published in chapter (in French) in the ‘Annales d’Etudes européennes‘ of the UCLouvain (Bruylandt, 2011). Finally, Ferdi De Ville, David Criekemans and I contributed an article to a special issue of Res Publica (2011/3) on the Belgian Presidency. The article (in Dutch) deals with the internal coordination in Belgium before and during the Presidency semester. It especially focuses on the internal coordination in the environmental domain.

Award ‘Rudi Verheyen 2011’

I have had the honour to win the 2011 edition of the Award ‘Rudi Verheyen’, which is yearly granted to an academic whose work has contributed to the development of environmental policy in Flanders. The prize is awarded by the Flemish Minister for Environment and the ‘Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development’ of the University of Antwerp. My doctoral research (2008, K.U.Leuven) on ‘The European Union negotiates multilateral environmental agreements: an analysis of the internal decision-making process’ was considered by the jury as ‘original and breaking fresh ground’. More information on the Award, as well as the press release by Flemish Environment Minister Joke Schauvlieghe can be found here (in Dutch).

Colloquium ‘Speaking with one voice? European governance after Lisbon’ at UCLouvain

On Friday 25 November, the UCLouvain is organizing a colloquium on the topic ‘Speaking with one voice? European governance after Lisbon’ (‘Parler d’une seule voix? La gouvernance européenne après Lisbonne‘) in Louvain-la-Neuve. In the session that pays attention to the governance questions in the EU’s foreign policy, I am going to speak on the role of the rotating Presidency of the Council in international environmental negotiations after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. The program of the colloquium and all practical information can be found in this flyer.

The EU and the transatlantic Open Skies negotiations

My new article ‘The relation between the European Commission and the EU member states in the transatlantic Open Skies negotiations: an analysis of their opportunities and constraints’ has appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Transatlantic Studies.

The article examines the internal decision-making process in the European Union with regard to the 2007 Open Skies Agreement (on liberalization in the aviation sector) between the EU and the US. It analyses the constraints and opportunities the Commission, as the EU negotiator, faced in order to make sure that the member states at the end of the day accepted the agreement that it reached with its American negotiation partners. In the article, I compare a situation in which the member states rejected the proposed agreement by the Commission (in 2004) and a situation a few years later (in 2007) when the member states accepted the agreement, although it did not met their initial preferences. The analysis shows that the Commission was able to overcome the constraints it faced (a high degree of political sensitivity in certain member states, the struggle over external aviation competences and an ambitious mandate) by making use of strategic opportunities (closely involving the member states in its negotiation task and increasing the cost of no agreement for the member states, not at least by making an appeal to European allies, such as the Court of Justice, the Presidency, and member states with Commission-like preferences).