Research projects

1. Human Security as a new operational framework for enhancing Human Rights protection in the EU’s Security & Migration Policies

In July 2013, the European Union granted funding to CLEER toward its research project, 'Human Security as a new operational framework for enhancing Human Rights protection in the EU’s Security & Migration Policies'. The research project ran from 1 September 2103 until 31 August 2014.

The research project was aimed at facilitating academic interaction in closely interrelated areas of EU external conduct, creating synergies between and raising awareness of global security concerns. The project integrated elements of EU external action in security, development and migration policies, through the paradigm of human security. Tapping into this complex issue, the conferences provided a platform for debate, the critical assessment of past actions and collection of suggestions for an integrated and comprehensive conduct of human rights promotion in times of humanitarian crises and emergencies for the security of citizens. The broad scope of issues allowed and called for a distinctly interdisciplinary approach and the involvement of a wide-ranging audience: lawyers to give a normative analysis (academics and practitioners), relevant policy experts to unpack the specificities of policy areas (e.g. humanitarian aid, development, migration experts) and the topics’ importance for society in general speaks to civil society and stakeholders, human rights defenders.

Another aim was to take the so-far distinct and separate research areas under one heading and facilitate the establishment of a comprehensive and operational framework contributing to the overall assessment of the EU’s role in tackling challenges stemming from emerging crises. Integrating these elements served to draw up suggestions toward the design of an operational policy and normative framework that could be implemented effectively, that fitted best the EU’s ambition to show responsibility for global security and would define its role model character on the international plane. Such a comprehensive research approach is a soaring gap in legal discourse and would provide valuable input for appropriate reactions for current challenges: the effective implementation of recently introduced human rights instruments in EU external action (Strategic framework and Action plan on Human rights and democracy, role and mission of the EU Special Representative, etc..); the imminent, the much-needed review of the EU’s Security Strategy; and the EU’s self-professed role to tackle unfolding humanitarian crises.

Under the research project, two conferences were organised:

1. Human security as a tool for a comprehensive approach for human rights and security linkages in EU foreign policy (December 2013)
2. Responding to new threats with a human security approach and the EU’s asylum and international protection policy (Spring 2014)

2. European Union funding awarded to CLEER under the Lifelong Learning Programme

In July 2012, the European Commission (DG Education and Training) proposed CLEER’s project ‘Commercial Power Europe: advancing societal and environmental goals through trade relations’ for funding under the Jean Monnet Lifelong Learning programme. The one-year project ran between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013.

The aim of the project was to pool knowledge, stimulate and facilitate academic interaction in a specific area of EU external relations, create synergies between and raise awareness of global societal concerns and convene the widest possible audience to unpack a central, highly topical, yet so far less explored area of the EU’s external actions. Specifically, the project aimed to assess the EU’s mission and potential to, and actions in employing economic ties toward third countries so as to promote ‘European values’ beyond its commercial interest. By such approach the aim was to identify the normative framework and policy instruments that fit best the EU’s ambition to employ its commercial ties and global presence for values and goals that go beyond trade advantages and which can be applied in a consistent and influential manner and even serve for other countries and multilateral organisations as examples to follow. The organisers of the two workshops wished to plant the most pertinent regulatory issues in the legal and policy environment that followed the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty so as to suggest new, innovative, practicable solutions to the challenges facing the future of the EU’s activities in linking its commercial strength with value-laden authority in standard setting globally.

Under the project, CLEER  organised two workshops:

  • On 9 November 2012: ‘Linking trade and non-commercial interests: the EU as a global role model?’
  • On 19 April 2013: ‘EU environmental norms and third countries: the EU as a global role model?’

The workshops provided a platform for debate, the critical assessment of past actions and collection of suggestions for an effective and successful conduct of societal and environmental value-promotion by the EU maximising its role in commercial relations. Both workshops were  followed by a publication of the workshop papers in CLEER's Working Papers series.

On 19 June 2009, the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) proposed CLEER’s inaugural project for funding under its Jean Monnet Lifelong Learning programme. The one-year project ran between 1 September 2009 and 31 August 2010. The overall aims of the project were to stimulate excellence in teaching, research and reflection in EU external relations studies in higher education institutions within and outside the Union and to enhance knowledge and awareness among specialist academics and practitioners, as well as European citizens generally, of issues pertaining to the external relations of the EU.

Events were organised in The Hague (‘Legal capital of the world’) and Brussels (‘Capital of Europe’) including:

  • a launching event of CLEER in The Hague (2 October 2009);
  • a closed workshop in The Hague at which referees will comment on working papers written by invited experts (January/February 2010); and
  • a final conference in Brussels at which the findings of CLEER’s research cooperation were presented to a public composed of academics, policy- and opinion-makers (May 2010).

Under the project, CLEER launched a new research programme, which centered on the analysis of the reception of international law in the EU’s legal order, the projection of EU norms on the international plane and issues of coherence and consistency in making and implementing the EU’s external policies.

Prominent international experts from academia and practice were subsequently  invited to further the debate and literature on 4 cross-cutting themes of the programme:

  • reception of international norms in the EU legal order;
  • projection of EU norms and impact on the development of international law;
  • coherence in EU foreign and security policies; and
  • consistency and effectiveness of EU external policies.

At the same time, 4 policy domains were earmarked for discussion because of their relevance to the EU’s contribution in enhancing global stability and prosperity:

  • the fight against international immigration and crime;
  • the protection and promotion of economic and financial interests;
  • the protection of the environment, climate and energy; and
  • the ability to provide military security.

The findings of this research project were disseminated and tested in a public event for colleagues and opinion-makers in Brussels in May 2010 and in a series of working papers made available to a global public via CLEER’s website.