In her very first speech to the European Parliament, Ursula Von der Leyen set the tone for her Commission’s ambitions in terms of foreign policy. She vowed to work towards a geopolitical Commission, and insisted that “Europe should have a stronger and more united voice in the world.” More than ever, the EU is aware of the significance of the challenges it is facing on the world stage and within its borders. The President-elect and the newly appointed High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission are calling for a much needed reset in the EU’s approach to international relations.

If you are currently looking to sharpen your knowledge and skills about the EU in the world in light of major these major shifts coming in the EU’s role as a global player, our Executive programme in EU studies is for you. It is specifically designed for professionals in search for a flexible training programme in EU affairs.

Our module “EU in the world”, starting in February 2020, is still open for enrolment and is tailored to better address key issues such as the current challenges of fragmentation and power politics; climate change and energy policies; the debate around the EU’s enlargement policy and its prospects as well as Europe’s relationship with developing countries.

Each course is conceived as a reflexion on current challenges for the EU as a global player, be it on regional politics, development cooperation or environmental policies, or its international influence and “soft power” that often defines trends in international relations.

EU, Regionalism and Multilateral EU Governance

This course aims at repositioning the EU in the context of a globalised world that is not only increasingly multilateral, but also more and more focused on regional agreements and cooperation.

The EU will be studied as both a reference case study for regional cooperation and as an international policy actor strengthening multi-layered multilateral cooperation.

By offering, on one hand a comparative analysis of regional cooperation in the world and on the other deepen the multidimensional interregional arrangements, this course allows participants to understand the fragmentation, power politics and competitive regionalism that the EU will face in the upcoming years as part of its rebranded foreign policy for a “Stronger Europe in the World”.

This course is given by Mario Telò, Jean Monnet Chair of International Relations at the ULB where he coordinates the Global Europe Multilateralism (GEM) international doctoral program, and president emeritus of the Institute for European Studies; and Frederik Ponjaert, a researcher and lecturer at the IEE-ULB and an associate lecturer in Comparative Regionalism at SciencesPo, Paris.

Environmental Law and Politics

Climate has risen to the top of the political agenda, and the newly elected president is set to tackle these concerns through her proposition for a ‘European Green Deal’. In her opening speech to the European Parliament, Von der Leyen pledged to propose a ‘European Green Deal’ within her first 100 days in office. But implementing new, bolder goals will be tricky, as no later than during last June’s Council meeting, four Member States amongst which Poland, blocked a deal on net zero emission. While on the other hand Finland made stronger climate ambitions a top priority of its 6-months presidency.

Marta Ballesteros, Principal Legal and Policy Consultant at Milieu Ltd. , teaches this course on Environmental Law and Politics. Ballesteros a Spanish lawyer responsible for the development and management of people and projects supporting public sector clients to define effective legal and regulatory frameworks in different areas of EU Environmental law including climate and energy legislation.

In this course, participants will be looking at the EU’s assumed role as a global player in terms of environmental policies through the lens of the legal and institutional lens of EU environmental action; and secondly through a thematic approach to environmental law and politics. It will be key for participants to deepen their knowledge on the institutional workings of environmental policies, as well as the EU’s place in the world with its international commitments.

EU and Developing Countries

With an expiry date in 2020, and a June deadline to find a new compromise for the future of EU’s relations with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, the new Commission has plenty of work ahead to redefine the EU works with third partners and developing countries around the world. After plenty of speculation that Ursula von der Leyen’s new European Commission would include a commissioner specifically for Africa, it is Uripilainen, Finland’s former finance minister who will be in charge of the post-Cotonou agreement.

This course will allow participants to acquire the knowledge and skills to participate in a well-informed discussion on the ins and outs and pros and cons of European development policy as well as the relationship between Europe and the developing world.

Nico Schrijver is part-time Professor of Public International Law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University and a visiting professor at the IEE-ULB. Schrijver has ample experience as legal counsel in international litigation and appeared before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and specialized tribunals on international investment disputes. He also serves frequently as an expert in such proceedings.

EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy

Acknowledging that the High Representative/Vice-President position, which tries to balance the competing ambitions of 28 governments, was “mission impossible”, Joseph Borrell said his priority would be the six Balkan states – Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and North Macedonia – which aspire to join the bloc one day. “We cannot be a global actor if we cannot resolve our problems at home,” he said.

Participants will have the chance to follow this course on the EU’s enlargement policy-which has recently resurfaced as one of the priorities for HR/VP Borrell with his first trip to Kosovo-and neighbourhood policy even more so important in the context of increasing tensions with Russia. This course is a great fit for participants interested in the EU’s foreign policy, but also in the EU’s architecture, as these policies are typical case studies for EU’s policies.

This course is given by Axel Sotiris Walldén. He headed the Enlargement Strategy unit of DG Enlargement (now DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations) and was responsible for the coordination of the annual reports and strategy papers on the enlargement countries from 2007 to 2013.