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Reconsidering European Contributions to Global Justice

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - GLOBUS (Reconsidering European Contributions to Global Justice)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

GLOBUS has combined normative and empirical analysis in order to critically assess the European Union’s contribution to global justice. The lack of consensus with regard to the very concept of justice, as well as with regard to the grounds on which duties to others may be justified, is a challenge. GLOBUS therefore developed a conceptual scheme that takes the fact of contestation into account. It delineated three different conceptions of how the EU might contribute to ensure a more just global order. The first conceives of justice as non-dominance, the second of justice as impartiality and the third of justice as mutual recognition.

GLOBUS combined analyses of the EU’s positions and policies on key aspect of global justice, with in-depth empirical case studies in order to reveal the practice of the EU’s justice promotion. Based on our findings, as well as on a general reflection on the EU’s global role, the project has drawn conclusions regarding the extent and means by which the EU contributes to global justice and how policies, institutional structures and procedures might be revised in order to better and more effectively safeguard key principles.
WP1 is responsible for establishing the analytical framework of the project. WP1 activities include:
• Kick-off conference and online concluding conference
• One theoretical workshop and one on gender in EU external policies
• Five workshops on conceptual and methodological issues across WPs 1-5
• Workshop on ‘Gender in EU external policies’
• Section at EISA Conference 2017
• Panels at several international conferences, including EUSA Conference 2019
• 25 publications

WP2 investigates the EU’s contribution to justice in the domain of climate change. WP2 activities include two workshops and 11 publications.

WP3 investigates the EU’s approach to migration. WP3 activities include 19 publications, two workshops and a seminar series.

WP4 investigates the EU’s contribution to justice in the domain of trade and development. WP activities includes two workshops and 12 publications.

WP5 addresses questions of security, cooperation and conflict. WP5 activities include 10 publications and two workshops.

WP6 ‘The EU and its Contestants’ is set up to generate new knowledge, establish contacts/networks and further deepen our understanding of the EU’s role as a value-based actor in global affairs as seen from third states’ perspectives. WP6 activities include:
• Week-long study tours to Brazil, Russia, India, China, Hong Kong and South Africa
• Policy dialogue meeting in Brussels on third-state perspectives
• A research report and several GLOBUS Research Papers on third-state perspectives
• Networks and cooperation with a range of scholars, experts and stakeholders in BRICS countries

WP7 Policy Recommendations has sought to stimulate policy dialogue with critical stakeholders that will inform and shape the academic research to ensure GLOBUS’ relevance and increase its policy impact. WP7 activities include: engagement with a wide range of policy-makers, civil society representatives and other stakeholders at numerous events, including three policy dialogue meetings in Brussels, and; a series of 10 policy briefs.

WP 8 Dissemination and Communication is set up to coordinate the presentation of research findings and communication with different stakeholder groups. WP8 activities include:
• A widely visited project website
• The Global Justice Blog with 32 posts
• 17 promotional videos
• Social media accounts and regular newsletters
• An educational website entitled ‘Exploring Global Justice’
• A series of student days across Europe
• An art installation
• GLOBUS Research Paper series with 45 papers
• GLOBUS Report Series with 7 reports
Since its inception, the European Union has sought to play a strong role in promoting and safeguarding values at the global level. GLOBUS has reconsidered this ambition of the Union to be a norm setter and champion of global values and the challenges it entails, in particular against the backdrop of uncertainty, risk and contestation of present day international affairs. We have sought to impact mainly upon three types of audiences: the scholarly community; policy-makers (including civil society representatives and NGOs) and civil servants – ‘stakeholders’; citizens and students.

GLOBUS’ contribution to scholarly research is threefold:

Firstly, we have suggested a reframing of the scholarly debate regarding the EU’s role as a value based actor by developing a novel and nuanced vocabulary containing three different conceptions of what a value based foreign policy might look like. The conceptual apparatus, which draws on the political theory debate on global political justice, has allowed for a critical analysis not only of the EU’s own role, but also of scholarly research on the EU, and on the normative assumptions that underpin it.

Secondly, GLOBUS has collected new empirical data on the EU’s external policies with regard to climate change; trade and development; migration; security and crisis management; as well as gender. Drawing on the three GLOBUS conceptions of global political justice, we have reinterpreted the EU’s global role as well as critically analyzed its contribution to global justice within these issue areas.

Thirdly, GLOBUS has proposed a novel interpretation of the crisis of the liberal order and of its significance for the European Union. Rather than focusing on the Realist vocabulary of power and geopolitics, GLOBUS suggests a focus on the search for autonomy, which is central to any conception of justice. This allows for an alternative understanding of how present instability and contestation emanates from the resistance to patterns of domination in global affairs.

The threefold contribution to scholarly research provides the basis for our input to policy makers and practitioners. GLOBUS has provided EU policy makers and civil servants, as well as representatives of civil society organisations, with tools allowing them to disentangle the many-faceted principled dilemmas of justice arising in a global context, and to reflect on the implications of different courses of action for EU foreign policy. We have also outlined different policy options and discussed their strengths and weaknesses with regard to the implications for justice. We have further sought to advance the understanding of what we have found to be the distinguishing features of the Union as a value based actor, as well as to highlight advantages and disadvantages of these particular features of a foreign policy. The project has sought to develop concepts that may give meaning to, organize and structure ideas about EU foreign policy.

The above input has been provided through direct engagement with policy makers in combination with the production and wide distribution of shorter texts, summarizing key findings and recommendations.

GLOBUS has contributed to enhance citizens’ awareness of different ways of thinking about global justice and provided them with tools to assess what might be the normative implications of different approaches to foreign policy. Through such measures, which enhance their knowledge of international affairs, we have also contributed to strengthen citizens’ capacity to exercise their democratic rights and duties.