4th GREEN-GEM PhD Summer School on "COMPETING FOR GROWTH, TRADE & INFLUENCE - The Externalization of the EU’s Policies through: Multilateral Governance, Interregionalism, & Global Networks".

4th GREEN-GEM PhD Summer School on "COMPETING FOR GROWTH, TRADE & INFLUENCE - The Externalization of the EU’s Policies through: Multilateral Governance, Interregionalism, & Global Networks".

Course dates:
31 August, 2014 to 5 September, 2014
Social Sciences
Application deadline:
Monday, 30 June, 2014
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Brussels, Belgium

Overal Scientific Agenda

As its economic and political model slowly emerge from the acute crisis it has come to face since 2010; the European Union (EU) has sought to readjust its growth model to a changing world characterised by accelerating multi-polarity and heightened international competition.

Several of the causes of the Euro-zone crisis are endogenous and thus to be found either in the inadequacies of the Economic and Monetary Union’s (EMU) initial architecture, or in the structural disparities in European economic flows, be they current account imbalances, public deficits, private debt or market rigidities. However, future growth strategies are to be oriented towards external opportunities and international competition as Europe seeks to secure both future growth, as well as its relative position in the global economy.

Resulting regulatory externalisation efforts, free trade negotiations and competitive pressures are subject to numerous debates, controversies and expectations; all of which feed into the wider debates on the future of the EU and its place within the global multilateral system. The EU’s capacity to rise to the challenge of global competition; perform efficiently within rapidly evolving multilateral institutions; and harness the opportunities its (macro-)regional scale afford have all been challenged by the implications of the recent crisis.

The rise of new actors, the crystallisation of novel challenges, and the multiplication of negotiations in a growing number of competing fora are all unfolding as the EU reforms its own modes of governance, be it either formally, through the implementation of the provisions of the TFEU; or disjointedly, as a result of shifts resulting from the recent crisis.
The result is a particularly challenging environment for some of the Union’s core competences, be it: (1) its trading capacity and the position of the Common Commercial Policy (CCP) within the global free trade system;  (2) its regulatory capacity and the externalisation of its Internal Market preferences through competing global networks; (3) its bargaining capacity and the coherence of european external action across a multitude of competing negotiations; as well as (4) its strategic capacity and the impact of its overall Foreign Policy within a multipolar World.

The interdisciplinary analysis of any of these challenges offers insights into broader questions facing both the position of the EU in the global multilateral system, and the relative implications of the favored fora and negotiations. Mega-deals – be they on trade, financial flows, regulations or investment – linking various poles of the global system are being negotiated in a competitive and crisscrossing fashion. Most of these are so-called “new generation” agreements which seek to further liberalise flows between economies already embedded within the WTO system. Unsurprisingly, such WTO+ negotiations present distinctive characteristics and challenges as they go beyond mere market access, to include regulatory coherence and a hope to actively contribute towards favorable International Rule-Setting.

As such, changes in both the underlying power structures, the driving impetus - more competitive then mutually beneficial in outlook, and the policy agendas discussed have accelerated significantly. The interactions between multi-level, networked and competitive governance dynamics at the global level is thus to be further explored, notably with regards to its implications for the EU’s role in global governance. In the specific case of negotiations involving the EU, possible transversal questions include: a) Which role for the bilateral negotiations in the face of the Union’s traditional commitment to the multilateral WTO system? b) What impact for transnational policy networks in shaping the negotiations’ outcomes? c) Which specific or generalizable obstacles does the EU face when seeking to externalize its preferences? d) Which place for global/regional trade and regulatory convergence in the EU’s future growth prospects?

The agendas and stated ambitions associated with the EU’s new external growth strategy are thus both a product of a specific interest constellation; as well as, a symptom of a changed global trade environment.

To allow interested PhD students means to broach this vast agenda and position themselves within the literature, the summer school will offer a series of round-tables and research sessions which will: first, (1) - situate changes in the EU’s trade and growth strategies within the historical shifts witnessed within the global free trade order; then (2) - unpack the set of key actors and process shaping the dynamics of, and EU position in, transnational economic governance networks; subsequently (3) - assess the EU’s potential positioning within competing global negotiations and their possible impact on specific third parties; and finally (4) - explore the mid-term implications associated with the policy options being considered at the EU-level with regards the Union’s prospective positioning within global flows.


Workshop Format

Overall, the Summer School will see a succession of 4 thematic days each focussing on: (1) From Doha to Bali: which future for the global trade system?; (2) Networking Complexity: which role for networks in the governance of international flows?; (3) Competitive Liberalisation: implication of multi-polarity for negotiations?; (4) Quo Vadis the EU: what negotiation and externalisation strategies?

Every morning, thematic roundtables will bring together EU officials and civil society actors related to the EU’s external action and international negotiations capacity.

In the afternoon, the lectures given by attending academics are to be followed by an open Question & Answer Session. Selected PhD papers will be circulated in advance (failure to submit one’s paper in a timely fashion will lead to the exclusion of a given presentation) and will only be briefly introduced by the author. The lion share of the 45min long session being divided up between the comments prepared by two previously designated discussants (incl. one academic and one fellow doctoral student) and the open floor debate with all attending Academics and Doctoral researchers.

The presented papers will thus be discussed both by academics, as well as by the PhD student’s peers. As a result, paper-givers are provided with ample constructive feedback on their research. Furthermore, paper-givers will be offered the opportunity to publish their work in the GEM-GREEN working papers series thus further publicising their work through the GREEN website.

Participating students not involved in the presentation of a paper will assume the role of discussant and/or contribute towards the introduction of a session’s speakers.

The workshop is designed to meet the needs of maximum 25 PhD students. As such, it strives to bring together doctoral researchers from within the GEM PhD School, the GREEN research community, and beyond. Selected PhD students will thus be enrolled in all of the summer school’s week-long activities (August 31st – September 5th 2014).



Housing in Brussels will be provided to selected candidates.

The programme has furthermore foreseen a limited mobility fund it can use to provide a select number of students with some financial support towards travel & housing costs incurred.

Those seeking such financial aid must make a specific request upon applying. The main criteria in this case will be an applicant’s perceived need.


Application Process

Selected PhD Students can be withheld as either “paper-givers” or “participants”:

  • “Paper-givers” will be expected to present the suggested paper – after having circulated it at least one week in advance. Both an attending academic and a fellow student will discuss the presented research. Subsequently, presented work will be published in the GREEN-GEM Working Papers Series.
  • “Participating students” will be given a variety of roles, be it as discussant for presentations submitted by their peers, or in a range of other capacities aimed at fostering interaction between the participants.

In any case, selected PhD students are expected to attend the full week and participate in all the Summer School’s various sessions and activities.

Applicants are free to suggest any presentation topic of their choosing which fits the broad scientific agenda of the summer school (see above).


Selection Criteria

  • Academic profile
  • Relevance of the Suggested Presentation


Content of an Application

  • An academic CV
  • Title of the fellow’s ongoing thesis project - Incl. Supervisor(s)
  • A 1 page long abstract describing the candidate’s suggested presentation
  • An indication whether the candidate requires any financial assistance to cover their costs. If this is the case, applicants are expected to justify their request and provide an estimate of the needed support


Deadline for Applications