Workshop series

Workshop I - November 26th – 27th 2015 at JGU Mainz


The EU as Actor in International Mediation – Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives

(organized by Arne Niemann, Julian Bergmann and Michèle Knodt)


The workshop addresses several remaining gaps by providing the first systematic scholarly account of the EU's role in international mediation. Since the beginning of the 2000s, we have been witnessing the European Union (EU) becoming increasingly involved in directly supporting peace negotiations in a variety of inter- and intra-state conflicts. For example, the EU together with the US was engaged in mediating the Ohrid Framework agreement between the Macedonian government and the Albanian minority in 2001 and brokered an agreement in the talks between Serbia and Montenegro on the formation of a state union in 2002. In addition to its involvement as a direct lead or co-mediator in peace negotiations, the EU has also supported peace processes by providing information and communication channels to conflict parties, facilitating dialogue between opposing political parties in post-election crises or enabling and promoting mediation efforts of other international actors. Examples are the involvement of European Special Representative for the Africa Great Lakes, the European Union advisory and assistance mission for security reform (EUSEC) in the peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo which led to the Goma Agreement in 2009, or the most recent attempts by High Representative Catherine Ashton to foster a dialogue between the major political factions in Egypt. To map the field of EU mediation dimensions and activities, we seek to produce an empirically-oriented, but conceptually informed, special issue/edited volume that covers the wide variety of facets of EU activities in international mediation. The aim is to grasp the different roles the EU plays in the field of international mediation and to understand the motives and strategies that drive EU mediation activities.

Workshop II - 9-10 June 2016 at JGU Mainz


The EU in international migration policies: an active norm-shaper or a passive norm-taker?

(organized by Arne Niemann, Kai Arzheimer, Natascha Zaun)


On the first day, the workshop looked at the EU’s impact on migration policies across Europe. On the second day, it investigated the EU’s role in international migration policies.

The first day was chaired by Prof. Kai Arzheimer and dealt with the following topic: The EU's policies (or lack of policies) on asylum and internal migration also have a considerable impact on domestic politics in the member states. Hundreds of thousands of citizens from the Eastern (and more recently from the Southern) member states have settled in the North and the West of the continent, which has facilitated a counter-mobilisation from new domestic political actors. This domestic backlash makes a revision of policies on external migration - most notably the Dublin II agreement, which enshrines an unjust and inefficient system for dealing with refugees - even less likely.

The second day was chaired by Prof. Arne Niemann and dealt with the following issue:

While Europe’s impact on immigration policies in its direct neighbourhood and the role of conditionality and bi-lateral agreements in this regard are extensively studied, we thus far know little about the role of the EU in international migration policies more generally. This is in part due to the absence of a coherent international migration regime and the fact that instead a variety of international institutions deal with different aspects of migration. Yet, in recent years the EU has developed its own migration regimes on forced migration, labour migration and border control and has thus significantly interacted with other international institutions working in the migration area as well as other regional institutions in Europe and beyond.  The workshop provides a systematic overview of both the internal and the external dimension of EU migration policies.

Workshop III – 29-30 June 2017 at TU Darmstadt

The Future EU Foreign Policy in a Changing World Order

(organized by Michèle Knodt and Arne Niemann)


The EU is confronted with an unprecedented number of external challenges in an international environment that is becoming increasingly contested, divided and disorderly. At the same time, the EU faces severe internal conflicts and challenges that put to test core achievements and values of the European integration process. This raises the question about the future of the EU's foreign policy and its ability to deal with a new foreign policy reality. The workshop "Fuutre EU Foreign Policy in a Changing World Order" brought together well known scholars of EU foreign policy discussed the theme of our workshop from different analytical perspectives and policy areas.

Workshop IV – 21-22 September 2017 at TU Darmstadt

Energy and State Capacities in BRIC Countries

(organized by Michèle Knodt and Carlos Santana)


Perhaps one of the most relevant aspects of infrastructure for understanding the state capacity of BRIC countries is energy policy. First, energy security is geopolitically important for each of the BRIC. Second, energy policy is a tool that BRIC have used to cushion social and economic shocks, using the price of energy inputs to moderate inflationary fluctuations and public account numbers. Third, Brazil, Russia, India and China all share certain traits with respect to their energy supply chain's productive structure. The fiscal crisis in the 1980s has established a path dependence which found great affinity with an agenda of state government divestment in the sector, internationally stimulated by multilateral banks. Energy sector policies in each of these countries have been submitted to the brand of neoliberal market-oriented reform that was typical of the 1990s. One decade later, however, the state was back again, assuming relevant coordinate role on energy policies.


The study of energy in BRIC countries involves not only an evaluation of the physical infrastructure but also financing and bureaucratic support as important determinants of state capacity. Infrastructure facilities demands large investments which usually exceed budgetary capacities and electoral cycles. Implementation depends less on the government's horizon and fundamentally more on bureaucratic structure and stable financial mechanisms. The comparative political economy literature has emphasized, in conceptual terms, the role of national finance structures and seeks to show the advantages from a system coordinated by policy banks' loans as a useful instrument to overcoming technology lags in production regimes. Such studies have emphasized the role of institutional complementarities among domestic systems of financing, industrial and labor relations, and innovation to describe specific trajectories of development. In general terms, the main goal of this conference is gathering the commonalities in terms of the domestic institutional complementarities among BRIC countries based on analysis of the energy infrastructure of these countries.