#EUIA25: Europe in a Fragmenting World

In 2019, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, launched the concept of a 'Geopolitical Commission', which was intended to lead to a more geopolitical stance of Europe in international affairs. This concept, elaborated in a context of growing tensions between the United States and China, has reverberated in debates in the European institutions and has been tested against multiple and diverse crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the war against Ukraine and the Israeli offensive in Gaza following Hamas attacks, as well as the ongoing environmental emergencies.

After the European Parliament elections in June 2024 and a new political leadership taking over, questions persist regarding the role that the EU can claim in a world that is increasingly fragmenting along multiple political, social, ideological as well as ecological and economic lines. More specifically, what does it entail for the EU to think and act more geopolitically? And what are the consequences? To what extent has the EU managed to live up to its announcement and act more geopolitically? Does it make the EU more pragmatic, enhancing scope of action in the world? Or does it contribute to a global polarisation, where the EU is facing more contestation? Finally, does the EU still project its influence on a normative basis, or has it embraced a primarily transactional approach?

The 9th edition of the EUIA conference in May 2025 offers a forum to debate the different considerations of the EU’s relations within a fragmenting world in the past five years. To foster an interdisciplinary and international debate, we invite contributions examining European external policy domains, actors and practices, including from the perspective of non-European actors.

In addition to academic panel discussions, the conference will allow for substantive policy dialogue through keynote speeches and roundtables with practitioners. Other programme’s highlights will include networking sessions, awards, and interactive events with leading academic journals in the field.

#EUIA25 is jointly organised by the Brussels School of Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (BSoG-VUB), the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), the Institut d’études européennes at the Université libre de Bruxelles (IEE-ULB), Egmont – the Royal Institute for International Relations, and the Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) of the University of Warwick.