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GovInn and ESA-SSA at European Union in International Affairs 2018 (#EUIA18) – Brussels, Belgium

GovInn and ESA-SSA at EUIA

This year, the sixth conference on the European Union in International Affairs (EUIA) took place once again at the Royal Academy of Sciences in Brussels (Belgium). Over 300 members of the academic community gathered in the centre of the European city from 16 to 18 May 2018.

As in the previous 2016 edition, GovInn was well represented with a delegation comprising research fellows John Kotsopoulos and Frank Mattheis. For the European Studies Association of Sub-Sahara Africa (ESA-SSA) the two researchers organised a panel on rethinking EU-Africa relations, which was well-attended and covered in social media. In addition to presenting their research stemming from GovInn’s research project “EU-Africa Relations in a Changing Global Order (ERGO)”, the two researchers also served as discussants in this and another panel. The full programme can be found on the conference website.

The conference was also an ideal venue to advertise the ESA-SSA network to new members and to advance collaboration plans, ranging from joint future workshops to a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding in the making between the University of Marburg(Germany), the Catholic University of East Africa (Kenya) and GovInn.

The EUIA Conference is organised every two years by the Institut d’Études Européennes at the Université Libre de Bruxelles(IEE-ULB), the Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel(IES-VUB), theUnited Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies(UNU-CRIS) and Egmont – the Royal Institute for International Relations.

Article ‘The EU-Africa summit is now the AU-EU summit. Why the upgrade matters’, by Frank Mattheis and John Kotsopolous, 04.12.2017

GovInn’s Senior Researchers Frank Mattheis and John Kotsopoulos published the article ‘The EU-Africa summit is now the AU-EU summit. Why the upgrade matters‘ in The Conversation

African and European heads of government gathered last week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for their 5th summit since 2000. For the first time, the African Union (AU) rather than “Africa”, officially appears as the European Union’s partner. While plenty has been discussed about youth, migration, security and governance less is being said about the shift from an EU-Africa to an AU-EU summit. Is this just a case of semantics? After all, the AU has been the key organiser of these triennial summits since they started in 2000. Or are there larger implications? We think there are.

 

Read the full article here: https://theconversation.com/the-eu-africa-summit-is-now-the-au-eu-summit-why-the-upgrade-matters-88185

BOOK ‘Interregionalism across the Atlantic Space’, eds by Frank Mattheis and Andréas Godsäter

GovInn’s Senior Researcher  Frank Mattheis and Associate Fellow Andréas Godsäter published the book ‘Interregionalism across the Atlantic Space‘ in the United Nations University Series on Regionalism at Springer.

This book focuses on interregional relations across the Atlantic and the possible evolution of a new, distinctive Atlantic space for international relations. It provides a comprehensive insight into the overlapping linkages of interregionalism in the wider Atlantic space. Additionally, it raises the question of relevance, currently the main question in this field of research: Is interregionalism important because it brings about something new that really matters or is it simply a (perhaps unavoidable) by-product of regionalism? The book conducts an analysis of six interregional relations criss-crossing the Atlantic space, accounting for the multitude of interregional connections within a potential Atlantic macro region and analysing the differences, conflicts and convergences between regional organizations. It engages with the issue of agency in interregional relations, and argues that interregional processes and agendas are always driven and constructed by certain actors for certain purposes.

Read the full book here: http://www.springer.com/gb/book/9783319629070

 

Book review ‘Region-building in Africa: Political and economic challenges’, by Frank Mattheis, 14.08.2017

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Frank Mattheis published the book review ‘Region-building in Africa: Political and economic challenges‘, edited by Daniel H. Levine and Dawn Nagar, in the South African Journal of International Affairs.

Since its political independence, Africa has been rife with projects to achieve regional and continental integration. Every decade has seen dozens of new regional acronyms being created, from specialised agencies to all-encompassing institutions. The question as to what this plethora of organisations has achieved is thus as relevant as ever, and Levine and Nagar have attempted to address it with the edited volume Region-building in Africa: Political and economic challenges. The book is substantial and constitutes a relevant reference point for the pan-African intel ligentsia dealing with regionalism. Nineteen renowned authors provide contributions although, from the outset, it is striking that most are not based in Africa and only four are women (two of them providing chapters on non-African regions).

Read the full review here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10220461.2017.1361862

‘Regional actorness and interregional relations: ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur’, by Frank Mattheis, 02.06.2017

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Frank Mattheis published, together with Uwe Wunderlich, the article ‘Regional actorness and interregional relations: ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur‘ in the Journal of European Integration.

The European Union (EU) has a long tradition of interregional dialogue mechanisms with other regional organisations and is using these relations to project its own model of institutionalised actorness. This is partly motivated by the emerging actorness of the EU itself, which benefits from fostering capable regional counterparts in other parts of the world. This article advances the argument that actorness, which we conceptualise in terms of institutions, recognition and identity, is a relational concept, dependent on context and perception. Taking the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) and their relations with the EU as case studies, this article demonstrates that the actorness capabilities of all three organisations have been enhanced as result of ASEAN-EU and Mercosur-EU relations. However, there are clear limits to the development of the three components of regional actorness and to the interregional relations themselves. While there is evidence of institutional enhancement in ASEAN and Mercosur, these formal changes have been grafted on top of firmly entrenched normative underpinnings. The formation of different identities and institutional capacities has narrowed the scope of EU interregionalism despite the initial success of improved regional actorness.

Read the full article here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07036337.2017.1333503

Repositioning Europe in the study of regions: comparative regionalism, interregionalism and decentred regionalism by Frank Mattheis

GovInn’s Senior Researcher Frank Mattheis published the article ‘Repositioning Europe in the study of regions: comparative regionalism, interregionalism and decentred regionalism‘ in the Journal of European Integration.

The constitution of European Union (EU) studies has long been an exclusionary process, both dealing extensively with internal debates and arguing for an own discipline within or even next to political sciences and international relations. Due to the self-centredness on the vivid development of the EU, other regions were largely disregarded when it came to theory building or only taken into account later as comparators.

 

Read the full article here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07036337.2017.1317985

Curb your enthusiasm: there are limits to the ‘Gambia-effect’ for the rest of Africa. The Conversation 30.01.2017

In his latest op-ed for The Conversation GovInn Senior research fellow Dr Frank Mattheis warns against over optimism following the relinquishing of power by former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. The article explores the many interrelated forces which contributed to prevalence of the democratically elected Adama Burrow.  The full article can be read here.

The New Politics of Regionalism

Book Cover

Book Cover: The New Politics of Regionalism

On 14 December, GovInn senior researcher Frank Mattheis will participate in the launch of the book “The New Politics of Regionalisms” at the Centre for Area Studies at the University of Leipzig (Germany). He co-edited book, which was published in October 2016 by Routledge, with Ulf Engel, Heidrun Zinecker, Antje Dietze and Thomas Plötze, and contributed to several chapters in the volume. Jon Schubert, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Leipzig, will act as discussant for the evening.

Since the end of the Cold War, different forms of territorialization have emerged and we are confronted with an increasing number and variety of actors that are establishing regional projects. How can the study of the emergence and transformation of regionalisms and of different forms of territorialization aid in understanding the dynamics of this post-Cold War world order? This edited volume brings together innovative contributions to the study of this new complexity. It focuses on the role of regional actors, and the making and interplay of regionalisms in the processes of reshaping social spaces within an evolving global order. Analysing these new regionalisms from the perspective of the Global South, the contributions in the volume highlight the struggles that take place between a variety of actors, departing from state-centred perspectives and focusing on the transformations and constructions of regionalisms across varying spatial dimensions.

Organized into three sections, the volume attempts to identify the specific conditions and junctures of different forms of region-making in their external (global) and internal (local /national) dimensions. The volume also places special emphasis on interactions, spatial entanglements and comparisons between regionalisms in different parts of the world. By expanding beyond the perspective of North-South transfers, this book seeks to better understand the dynamics and diversity of interregional interactions. The first section looks at the purposes and logics behind regionalisms beyond their declared objectives, followed by a section on the dynamic relations between regionalisms, going beyond a European Union perspective. The final part looks at the place actors have other than states in the making of regionalisms. Throughout the volume, cases and empirical studies from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa as well as Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific support these sections and challenge established notions of regionalism by going beyond a Eurocentric approach.

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Conference Report: “Comparative Regionalism: State of the Art and Future Directions”

Conference Participants

Participants of the Comparative Regionalism Conference

During the first week of November, the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) had the honour to host a conference on comparative regionalism in partnership with the Research College (KFG) “The Transformative Power of Europe” at the Free University Berlin.

KFG-directors Prof. Tanja Börzel and Prof. Thomas Risse together with GovInn director Prof. Lorenzo Fioramonti and senior research fellow Dr. Frank Mattheis combined forces to bring together authors of the recently published Oxford Handbook of Comparative Regionalism with experts in Africa. After two similar events of the KFG in Singapore and Rio de Janeiro, Pretoria constituted to third and last stop for the authors to engage in a global dialogue.

GovInn invited colleagues from various South African universities with a track record in studying regionalism but also African experts with practical experience in supporting regional integration. The different panels addressed regionalism from a variety of angles by looking at specific governance issues (e.g. the politics of regional migration), geographic specificities (e.g. what makes regionalism in Africa distinct?) and the broader connections between regionalism across the globe (e.g. how do interregional diffusion processes work?). The debates touched on a broad variety of issues of central relevance to Africa, including the gap between formal regional organisations and regionalising actors on the ground.

The debates were also informed by the current higher education crisis in South Africa. The roundtables witnessed debates about ways to address Eurocentrism in the study of regionalism, not by provincialising regionalisms but by combining the production of regional knowledge with a dialogue between sub-disciplines and theories.

Prof. Risse in action

Prof. Risse in action

GovInn and the KFG turned out to be well placed to congregate scholars from the wider field of comparative regionalism so as to collectively engage with crossing the boundaries of their disciplines and regions. Yet, as discussed in the closing roundtable, the eclecticism produces new challenges for methodological rigour, funding schemes and selection criteria of academic journals. The momentum generated by the growing number of scholars interested in the study of comparative regionalism generates many new questions and challenges for the field to take into account as it further institutionalises in research programmes and state of the art.

Conference Programme “Comparative Regionalism”

Brazil as a security and development provider in Africa, New policy paper by Frank Mattheis

Policy Paper - MattheisHow is the role of external actors in Africa changing and what consequences does this have for the European Union (EU) and its strategic position on the continent?

The research project ‘The EU, the US and the international strategic dimension of Sub-Saharan Africa: peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa’ seeks to address these questions in a series of policy papers. The first set of papers has just been published, covering the role of new and old actors such as Brazil, China, the Gulf States, Turkey and the US. In depth case studies on the Horn of Africa and an overarching policy report are to follow soon.

Senior research fellow Frank Mattheis contributed a policy paper on the role of Brazil as a security and development provider in Africa. It focuses on both the identity and the materiality of Brazil’s growing role on the continent, identifies the country’s current main challenges, and outlines opportunities for triangular cooperation with the EU.

The project is lead by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), with the support of Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

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