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 - date tbc 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)


This is a two-day workshop. On the first day, the proposed workshop aims at looking at the EU’s impact on migration policies across Europe. On the second day, it seeks to investigate the EU’s role in international migration policies.

The first day will be chaired by Prof. Kai Arzheimer and deal 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 will be chaired by Prof. Arne Niemann and deal 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 – date tbc at TU Darmstadt

EU-BRICS Dialogue on Development

(organized by Michèle Knodt, Philipp Harms, Jared Sonnicksen and Nadine Piefer)


The EU’s search for an influential and strategic global role in a multipolar world order becomes especially evident in its relations with the so-called emerging powers. Development cooperation with countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa is in the process of being phased out. Most new development partners, like Brazil, South Africa, India, China and Mexico, place great emphasis on horizontal partnerships as basis for development cooperation. In its rhetoric, the EU shares this vision; in practice, it is often criticized for a paternalistic and at times neo-colonial approach. These countries have themselves become development partners, altering the existing OECD DAC driven international development agenda and shaping new development approaches. In many countries, complex and high-performing structures are evolving around creating development partnerships with other world regions. The call for reform of international institutions, the creation of new fora and institutions of the South (e.g. BRICS Development Bank) and taking over global responsibility by hosting and promoting international events (e.g. climate change conferences) are just few examples. Thus, the EU needs to develop strategies, cooperation instruments and horizontal partnership formats in order to overcome its crisis in the world. Rising powers are currently also in a quest of positioning themselves in the global arena. This workshop sheds light on a changing development cooperation landscape by delving deeper into EU approaches, emerging donors’ patterns of providing cooperation, development cooperation strategies and the establishment of international cooperation agencies. It assesses the EU’s reactions to this changing setting and at identifying new forms of cooperation. Triangular cooperation as an allegedly horizontal partnership between the EU, a new development partner and a beneficiary country will be discussed as one such option.


Workshop IV – date tbc at TU Darmstadt

City networks between EU and Third States

(organized by Michèle Knodt, Jochen Monstadt, Nadine Piefer, Anne Tews)


This workshop bring together academics and practitioners working in city networks between the EU (and/or one of its Member States) and Africa, Latin America and Asia. Although European cities are often perceived as role models for other regions, megacities are mostly situated in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Because of their fast growth, challenges are found there that European cities mostly do not share. Megacities in emerging countries have developed interesting solutions that will become models for future governance in megacities and European smart cities. This workshop identifies and enhances mutual learning and exchange processes between European “smart cities” as defined in the “European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities” (2012) and megacities in the Global South. The main objective of this workshop is to analyse new forms of cooperation between the EU and other world regions and to identify fields for mutual learning and innovation.