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Proposals are invited for the European Union in International Affairs: Assessing the EU’s Capacity to Act.


The conference will be held in Brussels, 27-29 May 2020.


The ‘European Union in International Affairs’ (#EUIA20) conference invites paper abstracts and panel proposals. It will be the seventh edition of the EUIA conference, focusing on the theme ‘Assessing the EU’s Capacity to Act’.

The EU is starting to grapple with a shifting international context. Europe’s role in the world is called into question by factors such as China’s economic rise, the ‘America First’ doctrine of the Trump administration and more assertive foreign policies of Russia and Turkey. Within and beyond Europe, political forces are parading authoritarianism as an alternative to liberal democracy. Brexit is yet another test to the EU’s internal cohesion and external capabilities. Internal challenges and a more hostile international environment may limit the EU’s capacity to act as a global power. Yet, they could also result in an opposite outcome – a wake-up call for the Union to engage more and strive for ‘strategic autonomy’ or ‘European sovereignty’ in areas such as defence or energy security. More than ever, the EU is aware of the urgency to mitigate climate change and to find a more coordinated response to international migration and forced displacement. The question therefore arises: what is the EU’s capacity to act in international affairs?

The EUIA biennial conference provides a major forum for discussion and exchange of ideas amongst academics and policy-makers who engage with these issues. We encourage the submission of paper abstracts and panel proposals that focus on the EU’s capacity to act internationally. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

Creating Capacities to Act

  • Creating or reforming EU capabilities and instruments (e.g. defence, artificial intelligence, development aid, migration management)
  • The rise of nationalism and EU decision-making on policies with an external dimension (e.g. foreign policy, migration, environment, trade)
  • Relations between EU and Brexit-Britain on foreign and security policies
  • The EU and international organisations: Reacting to a (less) multilateral world?

Assessing Capacities to Act

  • The EU’s reaction to a changing transatlantic partnership and the geopolitical dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region (notably China but also other countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea or Australia)
  • Is inter-regional cooperation (e.g. with the African Union and Latin America) gaining or losing importance?
  • Managing interdependence with nearby third countries (e.g. on environment, financial stability, trade, security and migration)
  • Assessing the EU’s leadership (e.g. on human rights, climate change, tax evasion or conflict resolution)

#EUIA20 will host a high-level keynote address and a series of policy-link panels featuring senior officials and policy-makers. The Journal of European Integration (JEI) will co-organise the EUIA Best Paper Award competition. The conference will also welcome the editors of leading journals in European Studies (Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Integration, European Security, and Global Affairs), who will share their views on the EU in international affairs and provide insights into current trends in journal publishing.


Please submit your paper abstract (300 words max.) or panel proposal (title of panel + short introduction to the panel of max. 300 words + 4 paper abstracts of max. 300 words + name of chair and discussant) by clicking on this link.

#EUIA20 encourages a collaborative approach to research so panel proposals are particularly welcome. The selection will take place in a blind peer review process.

Extended deadline for submissions: Thu 14 November 2019

Notification of acceptance: Wed 22 January 2020

Submission of full papers: Wed 20 May 2020

EUIA Conference: Wed 27- Fri 29 May 2020


We look forward to welcoming you to the seventh EUIA conference!

The EU in International Affairs conference secretariat

Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels (mailing address)

T: +32-2-6148040



Florian Trauner (Conference Chair) and Antonios Nestoras (Academic Coordinator) on behalf of the EUIA conference organisers: The Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (IES-VUB), the Institut d’Études Européennes at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (IEE-ULB), the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), and Egmont – the Royal Institute for International Relations. The Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) of the University of Warwick has become the EUIA’s new organisational partner.



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