‘Conceptualizing International Rights to Resist’
Professor Antonio Franceschet, University of Calgary
Wednesday 12 October, 5-6.30pm
‘The EU and its Member States in Global Governance: Stronger Together?’
Dr Joris Larik, University of Leiden
Wednesday, 2 November, 5-6.30pm
Event summary by our intern Blake Atherton: On Wednesday evening, November 2, Dr. Joris Larik, Assistant Professor of Comparative, EU, and International Law at Leiden University and Senior Researcher at the Hague Institute for Global Justice, presented a lecture for St Andrews and the Centre for Global Constitutionalism. Dr. Larik began by contextualizing the aggregate power, level of interconnectedness, and core legal principles of the European Union. Larik elucidated how, legally, power is shared among disparate member states and how this arrangement may constrain or benefit members depending on context. Dr. Larik then presented two case studies, trade and security, to juxtapose the relative success the EU has enjoyed in the realm of trade (in terms of solidarity) and the relative difficulty it has encountered in the realm of collective defense. In view of these case studies, Dr. Larik turned his attention to the future of the EU in the wake of Brexit and prospects for continued improvement in coordination among member states, emphasizing that a more synchronized and systematic approach to security objectives in the EU is or paramount importance.
‘Dangerous Trade: Humanitarian Arms Export Governance and International Reputation’
Dr Jennifer Erickson, Boston College
Wednesday, 23 November, 5-6:30pm
Event summary by our intern Rory Weaver: In her fascinating talk entitled Dangerous Trade: Humanitarian Arms Export Governance and International Reputation, Dr Erickson of Boston College highlighted the often underappreciated scale of the international arms trade, and the surprise decision by major arms exporters to sign the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in 2009. Why did these countries suddenly decide to approve a treaty that had the potential to be so costly to a key tool of foreign policy and economic growth? Based on analysis of arms export data and interview with key actors in policy-making and the defence industry, Dr Erickson finds that in the top arms-exporting democracies, public pressure and concern for human rights do not offer adequate reputations explanations for this change. Instead, she offers a convincing explanation that international social– the importance of being seen as a good ‘international citizen’ – was the driving force behind the ATT. Because the appearance of commitment, and not compliance or enforcement, was the overriding concern of signatory states, and because the ATT has no mechanisms for enforcement or punishment, compliance will depend on NGO and public pressure, which has mostly been lacking. Dr Erickson also offered an interesting twist on what is often seen as conventional wisdom – the UK defence industry does not necessarily always get its way in policy decisions, and was caught off-guard by New Labour’s commitment to arms control in the late 1990s. The Obama administration, despite its positive image, continued to export arms in a similar way to its predecessors. Most importantly, her talk highlighted that genuine compliance with a reputation-driven treaty is unlikely in the absence of significant pressure from the public and NGOs.