Lecture #2 – University of Copenhagen

Europe in the World: Normativity and Geopolitics in the Trump Era

By professor Achilles Skordas

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Abstract of lecture:

The European Union faces challenges from its two neighboring geopolitical spaces, the Eurasian space, dominated by Russia, and the Middle East and North African space (MENA), characterized by state collapse, Islamist insurgency, and endemic poverty. Facing a variety of risks and threats, the Union recalibrates its foreign policy objectives in view of its current estrangement from the United States. ‘Liberal realism’ as a blending of liberal internationalism and classical realism characterizes the EU policies in the field of foreign relations, with the center of gravity shifting towards realism.

In the area of security and defense, the Union has developed the so-called ‘EU Battlegroups’ concept, and plans to make full use of the policy instruments offered by the Treaties, such as common defense, permanent structured cooperation, mutual defense clause and solidarity clause. As far as the management of migration flows is concerned, the Union employs a variety of mechanisms, including the use of force (EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia) and diplomacy. Diplomatic instruments comprise readmission agreements and partnership agreements with third states, as well as the ‘model’ informal arrangement with Turkey of March 2016. The big question is whether Europe is capable of framing a comprehensive security concept taking into account its values and interests and thus optimizing its ‘smart power’ potential.

Introduction of Achilles Skordas:

Achilles Skordas studied law at the University of Athens, Greece, and was awarded the PhD in Law (Dr. jur.) by the Goethe-University in Frankfurt-am-Main. His research focuses on international law in the era of world society.Within this framework, his main areas of interest are the following:

- Dispute settlement and international security

- Formal and informal law of force

- Migration law and policy

- International law and power

Achilles was awarded a Marie Curie fellowiship in 2016, and he is currently conducting research at iCourts on a project with the theme 'International Court of Justice and the preservation of peace in the 21st century: Global governance in action'. The project expores the ICJ as World Court, whose function is not limited to the settlement of narrowly framed inter-state disputes, but extends in the area of preservation of peace and global governance.

Achilles Skordas has taught international law at the Universities of Athens and Bristol, and has advised the Greek Parliament on international legal issues for fifteen years. He has been Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School, Leibniz Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, CLPE Fellow at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto, Visiting Professor at the University Paris XII, and member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Welsh Centre of International Affairs in Cardiff.