EuroMeSCo Policy Brief “Walking a Thin Line: The Role of Think Tanks in Arab Transitions and Foreign Support”


EuroMeSCo Policy Brief no. 51 “Walking a Thin Line: The Role of Think Tanks in Arab Transitions and Foreign Support” by Pol Morillas has just been published. To read the Brief go to EuroMeSCo portal.

“The Moral Enigma of an Intervention in Syria: A Just War Analysis” by Niamh Maria O’Sullivan, The Moral Enigma of an Intervention in Syria: A Just War Analysis Niamh Maria O’Sullivan, IAI Working Paper, 22 August 2012

Few issues in international politics have sparked more debate this year than the events unfolding in Syria. What began 17 months ago as peaceful marches seeking reform has brought Syria to the brink of a civil war that threatens to stop the Arab Spring dead in its tracks. As the death toll rises and accusations of crimes against humanity mount against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ruling Ba’ath Party, many are calling for an armed intervention to put an end to the Assad regime’s widespread human rights abuses. Finding the right way forward for Syria, however, is proving elusive and so we turn to philosophy and, in particular, to Just War theory for guidance. Though often criticized as a soft or unrealistic approach to foreign policy, principles like just cause and proportionality guide our way through the moral enigma that has confounded the international community since the uprising began. The answers are far from easy. As the battle for Syria rages on, the most ethical, and difficult, thing to do might just be to stay out.

Please read the entire working paper here.

TEPSA FIIA Seminar on Northern Europe and the Arab Spring: Normative Leaders or Opportunistic Bystanders? 21 May 2012, 16:30h-18:30h

EU foreign relations are traditionally characterized by a strict division of labour. When it comes to the Arab World, southern European countries have usually taken the lead, while northern European countries have stayed on the sidelines. The Arab Spring has demonstrated some of the problems of this divide, but also increased the visibility and interest in the region amongst northern European countries. This seminar looked at the role three key northern European countries – Germany, Poland and Sweden – have played during the Arab Spring and how they viewed the future of Euro-Mediterranean affairs. It also discussed the nature of north-south divisions in EU institutions.

The seminar took place at Finland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union, Rue de Trèves 100, Bruxelles.

Please register by sending an email with your name and affiliation to Marine•Jacob©tepsa•be by Thursday 17 May the latest.

TEPSA-Sciences Po Conference on the Arab Spring: managing tensions and crisis inside and outside the EU, 15 March 2012

TEPSA in cooperation with Sciences Po Paris and the EXACT project organised a conference on 15 March 2012 from 11:00 to 12:30 followed by a lunch at the Fondation Universitaire, rue d’Egmont 11, 1000 Brussels.

The conference started with a keynote speech from Zaki Laidi, Sciences Po Paris, providing an analytical angle on the European Union’s role and the issue of EU governance in this context. Peter Frisch, Senior political economist, Maghreb, European External Action Service presented the implications and challenges for the EU. TEPSA EXACT Marie Curie Researchers Nicole Koenig and Marlene Gottwald discussed this issue based on their policy briefs.

TEPSA Danish Pre-Presidency Conference Report, 8-9 December 2011 and Recommendations to the Danish Presidency

The Danish Pre-Presidency Conference was organised by the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) in Copenhagen last 8-9 December.The Opening Plenary Session presented the Priorities of the Danish Presidency and the Presidency Recommendations by TEPSA.

The Conference notably included the following panels: Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, Differentiated Membership of the EU, The EU budget: a Driver for Growth and Europe 2020?, The Future of the Euro, The EU and the Arab Spring.

Those key issues were presented by members of the Danish government and analyzed by invited speakers and panelists, top officials and scholars from across Europe.

During the Pre-Presidency Conference TEPSA presented the Recommendations to the Danish Presidency.

Round table Conference’s Report: Democracy promotion East and South after the Arab Spring on 1- 2 December 2011

Re-evaluating the EU’s Engagement with Authoritarian Regimes

The Conference took place on 1-2 December 2011 at the Maastricht University, Brussels Campus, Avenue de L’Armée / Legerlaan 10, 1040 Brussels and was organised by Maastricht University, the Trans-European Policy Studies Association and the Institut für Europäische Politik.

The popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Syria in 2011 not only presented new challenges for EU policy towards the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), but also underlined the need to re-evaluate the EU’s engagement with authoritarian regimes more generally. The conference aimed to analyse what paradigms and strategies have guided EU policies towards authoritarian regimes over the past decades, and the factors which explained the strengths and limitations of EU democracy promotion in authoritarian countries, in addition to presenting concrete policy recommendations for future EU policy towards authoritarian regimes.

Workshop contributions offered historical and theoretical reflections, alongside empirical case studies analysing EU policy towards authoritarian rule in (i) the MENA region: Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Syria, Jordan; (ii) Eastern Europe: Belarus, Ukraine, South Caucasus and (iiI) Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan.

The conference intended to bring together senior members of the Brussels diplomatic community, European institutional decision makers, academic scholars and relevant stakeholders, to provide a comparative perspective on EU relations with authoritarian regimes on its Eastern and Southern rim in an objective minded, academic setting.

Conference Report is available here.

Past Events at the Institute of International Affairs (IIA) at the University of Iceland – Winter 2013/14


The Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland, in cooperation with the Centre for Small State Studies and the Centre for Arctic Policy Studies, organised several open seminars in January. These included:

On 24 January 2014 a conference focusing on the work and legacy of Nelson Mandela. Speakers of the conference included Sigríður Dúna Kristmundsdóttir, Professor of Anthropology, University of Iceland and Iceland’s former Ambassador til South Africa and Arnfríður Guðmundsdóttir, Professor of Theology, University of Iceland.

On 14 January 2014 the topic of the seminar was “Why the Arctic Matters? Prospects of Development”. The main speaker was Natalia Loukacheva, the first Visiting Nansen Professor of Arctic Studies, University of Akureyri, and currently Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Governance and Law, University of Northern British Columbia.

On 16 January 2014 the topic of the seminar was “The Arab Spring: No hope left?” The main speaker of the seminar was Magnús Þorkell Bernharðsson, Professor of History, Williams College.