GIES Honours Paper

The GIES Honours Paper is an initiative by the Ghent Institute for International and European Politics. 

The initiative offers students who wrote an exceptional master’s dissertation under the supervision of a member of the GIES the opportunity to present their main argument or findings in a concise paper.

Academic year 2021-2022

Eds. Dr. Tim Haesebrouck, Servaas Taghon, Anissa Bougrea and Hermine Van Coppenolle

NATO and the China-question: a new role for the alliance - by Max Piens

This paper shows that NATO, despite its purely political-military nature, can still play a role in addressing the multidimensional threats that China poses to the Euro-Atlantic security. Inspired by the NATO 2030 Agenda, it illustrates that the Alliance can make a greater contribution in the areas of hybrid threats, emerging and disruptive technologies, space, and arms control. Although NATO's new Strategic Concept clarifies the Alliance's policy line, much more concrete elaboration is required by future follow-up documents. The paper tries, by means of a series of recommendations, to close a few important gaps that exist in the above-mentioned domains.

Promoted by Prof. dr. Sven Biscop

Explaining the varying electoral fortunes of populist radical right parties in the 2019 European elections - A fuzzy set analysis - by Matthew Derycke

While a record number of members of populist radical right parties (PRRPs) secured a seat in the European Parliament during the 2019 European elections, there was a striking variation in the success of PRRPs across Europe. The far right indeed made striking gains in some European countries, such as Belgium and Italy, but in countries like Spain and the UK the expected radical right surge turned out to be a mere ripple. This article aims to explain the varying electoral fortunes of PRRPs in the old EU-member states. It develops a theoretical framework that combines demand- and supply-driven explanations of radical right success, which is tested with fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The results of the analysis indicate that populist radical right parties were successful in countries where the population had negative attitudes towards migrants and where there was a high degree of Euroscepticism and no successful populist radical left parties.

Promoted by Prof. dr. Hendrik Vos

The China-Enigma in the Russian Arctic - by Berk Vindevogel

The Arctic is not only literally, but figuratively becoming a hot topic within international relations. Russia, the country with the largest Arctic territory, is experiencing the interest of several newcomers on what they experience as their turf. This article wants to offer a risk analysis for the Russian government concerning the accession of China in the Arctic. Additionally, the article offers several solutions as to how Moscow can best protect its interests. The author concludes that not China, but Russia’s own foreign policy is the most severe threat to the Russian Arctic interests.

Promoted by Prof. dr. Sven Biscop

Turning the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa Outside-In, or breaking it down? - by Rein Struyve

During the process of European integration, the European Union (EU) associated itself with an Enlightened cosmopolitanism, as they managed to overcome the barriers between antagonistic nation states. However, according to postcolonial authors, the EU suffers from a colonial amnesia, excluding people outside and within their borders. They suggest a new kind of cosmopolitanism: postcolonial cosmopolitanism. The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) was selected as a least-likely case to answer the research question: “Can the EUTF pass a postcolonial cosmopolitan test?”. I conducted a discourse analysis of four Action Documents by applying a unique decentring framework. The hypothesis that the EUTF would not succeed the postcolonial cosmopolitan test was confirmed. In conclusion, I offer some reformist and revolutionary proposals to make the EUTF more postcolonial cosmopolitan, such as the recognition of the colonial roots of the EU and a more critical view on a world with strengthened borders.

Promoted by Prof. dr. Jan Orbie

Colonial Sensitivity of the House of European History - by Ann-Sophie Van Baeveghem

This paper analyses the colonial sensitivity of the House of European History (HEH) towards the birth of the EEC. A thorough literature study generated three hypotheses which inspired in-situ research using an original postcolonial conceptual framework. The empirical analysis revealed a lack of recognition towards ‘the other’, a glorification of the Eurocentric point of view and the preservation of the Myth of Immaculate Conception. These findings make an important contribution to the dominant perception of the EEG as a non-colonial construction, and the general views on the HEH. It also nuances the museum’s claimed objectives of providing different historical insights, perceptions and interpretations of memories. 

Promoted by Prof. dr. Jan Orbie