Event Highlights: Financial Stability and Energy Security in the Americas and Europe – The Role of Transnational Policy Networks
This two-day international workshop was organised within the research project GR:EEN (Global Reordering: Evolution through European Networks) on February 14-15, 2013 with the aim of studying relations between the EU and regional Transnational Policy Networks (TPNs) in the Americas. TPNs are emerging as important elements of trans-state policymaking in the 21st century. In recent years, the ability of NGOs, transnational governance bodies and firms to shape world politics has steadily grown and an inquiry into their workings adds an informal, nongovernmental dimension to the debates on the interactions between the EU and other regions in the world.
The conference brought together policy makers and academics mainly working in the fields of energy security and financial stability. These two areas were chosen not only because they are key themes of the GR:EEN research project but also because they provide two salient and relevant lenses through which to understand the nature, dynamics and influence of TPNs.
Some of the focal issues under consideration:
- a) What are Transnational Policy Networks and what is their role? What are the methods TPNs use in the areas of energy security and financial stability?
- b) What are the relations between the European Union and TPNs in the Americas?
- c) What are the relationships between initiatives undertaken by TPNs and other cross-border cooperative instruments employed by state and private actors?
- d) How do TPNs in the Americas operate in ways that affect the functioning of the European Union in the areas of energy security and financial stability?
TPNs were not limited to non-state actors. The workshop also explored the workings of government networks including the dynamics within the folds of regulators, law makers and judges that operate and engage across borders.
Supported by Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law, and Policy and the European Commission’s Framework 7 Global Re-ordering: Evolution through European Networks (GR:EEN).
On March 5 and 6, 2012, a number of Boston University faculty took part in an international conference on human security at Boston University. The two-day event, entitled Liberty and Security in a Time of Global Reordering [download program], was organized by the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University, in cooperation with the Center for the Study of Asia and the Center for International Relations, with funding from GR:EEN: a European Commission Seventh Framework program examining the current and future role of the European Union in an emerging multipolar world. Boston University is one of 16 universities around the world participating in the program.
The focus of the conference was on human rights and security issues and the ways in which rights are seen as a legitimate part of the security discourse. Panel discussions included “Power Relations and Global Challenges in a Time of the BRICS,” “The Rise of the BRICS: Emerging Issues,” “Europe, the US, and the Middle East,” “Religion, Radicalization, and Counterterrorism,” and “Cultural Discourses of Human Security”. Keynote speeches were given by Shaun Breslin, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Warwick—where GR:EEN is headquartered—and Andrew Bacevich.
Given the recognition that security can mean different things to different people in different places and at different times, the idea was to “fix” the concept of security by focusing on the core demands of humanity in relation to freedom from fear and freedom from want, an approach encapsulated in the concept of “human security.” It has been a core commitment of the European Union to work for the enhancement of human security, and thereby human rights, around the world. A key test of how the EU adapts to a reshaped world order will be whether it can retain its commitment to such values.
Prior to the conference, the center hosted an exploratory workshop entitled Actor Networks in International Political Economy [download program]. The workshop brought together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss actors and networks in the international political economy, with particular reference to the role of the state and learning and activism within policy networks.