Europe and the World

CERiM research integrates theoretical and conceptual insights from a wide range of perspectives in international relations, the social sciences, history, and international law to address EU external relations. The European Union aims to strengthen its international role and identity in a variety of international fields: trade, development aid, energy, diplomacy, military and civilian missions.

CERiM researchers employ their expertise on a wide range of these topics to study the making of the EU’s foreign policy, and understand its drivers, its (lack of) coherence and its (potential) outcomes at the global level. At the same time, the distribution of competencies between the Member States and the European Union varies significantly across these domains, giving rise to tricky legal and political questions. We also explore how the EU’s actions deviate depending on the partner with whom and the forum in which it conducts its foreign policy. Its agenda in the European Neighbourhood differs from that in North-America or South-East Asia. While this calls for specialised regional expertise with a strong historical component, it also opens up the prospect for comparative research. Likewise, the behaviour of the EU in various international organisations is a topic of research.

Apart from the broader geographical and policy focus, CERiM seeks to further exploit the expertise developed on European Administrative Governance. The Lisbon Treaty marks many significant changes including the emergence of an EU Diplomatic System. Research within CERiM seeks to understand the repercussions of this internal re-structuring not only on the EU’s external representation but also on its effectiveness in the international arena.  The international action of the EU is founded on the values of respect for freedom, democracy, and human rights. CERiM researchers inquire whether and to what extent the EU is able to promote these values through a variety of mechanisms and whether it may be deemed as a successful ‘soft’ or ‘normative’ power.

The external dimension of security policies and the EU’s international role as a security actor is also scrutinized, particularly in the contexts of transnational terrorism and geopolitical developments at its Eastern and Southern borders. In both of these areas, there are important intra-EU ramifications of security measures. Surveillance and privacy protection as well as EU energy policy are two preeminent examples.