Projects should contribute to the both of following expected outcomes:
- Support the European Union’s role in leading the transformation and defence of multilateralism by identifying and analysing policy avenues for a more robust, democratic and effective global governance.
- Develop policy recommendations, institutional frames, toolboxes, narratives and methodologies for supporting action towards transnational democracy.
Political developments across the world over the last years have posed serious challenges to global multilateralism and its aspirations for global order, peace and cooperation. Even if the need for international collective action is greater than it has ever been (climate and digital transitions, rise of inequalities – including gender inequalities –, ageing and disabilities, migrations, health pandemics, information disorder), the obstacles it encounters are no less redoubtable. The emerging multipolar system is characterised by the prevalence of diverging, and often antagonistic, state preferences, outdated and often ill-equipped global governance institutional architecture, nationalist populism, unilateralist trends, the influence of multinational corporations, as well as neo-mercantilist conflicts.
The European Union has an important global role to play in terms of defending multilateralism, through its enhancement and transformation, as a crucial component of global governance. However, its capacity and influence in shaping globalisation are being shaken by major geopolitical factors, such as the rise of new or re-emerging powers (China, India, Russia) and the United States’ foreign policy shifts.
Taking stock of recent developments, research should propose ways of redesigning, renewing and re-invigorating global and European traditions of cooperation with a view to greater accountability, openness and legitimacy. This should include new reflections on the norms, institutions and actors that can support a more robust and effective multilateralism, as well as a stocktaking and assessment of the modalities and possibilities of multileveled participation in cross-border governance, ranging from the local to the global level. Research should also account for differences between fields and areas of governance, corresponding to diverse levels and modalities of multilateral cooperation. It should analyse whether and how such differences may hamper the governance of intersecting global challenges, e.g. health and mobility in relation to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability and climate change, and propose ways forward.
Proposals are expected to address some of the following: to identify barriers and opportunities for re-invigorating and enhancing the formal legal and institutional architecture of the rules-based global system. They should analyse, through a mix of normative and empirical methodologies, ways to reinforce the institutions that work, ways to replace those that do not, and propose those that are missing, with the aim of spurring the transformation of global governance. Proposals should relate the capacity of the populist and nationalist actors to feed on sovereigntist claims and narratives about the challenges confronted by supranational integration projects. Comparative approaches at European and global levels should be developed, taking into consideration historical and cultural contexts. Research should identify new actors, norms and processes of participation and representation (such as the participation of local authorities, community-based organisations, trade unions, youth, women’s rights and civil society organisations in general, or citizens themselves through digital means for instance), which can boost the legitimacy, transparency, representativeness and effectiveness of multilateral institutions. Interests and strategies of other international powers, such as the United States, China, India, Russia or of other regional groupings (e.g. Mercosur, ASEAN, African Union) in disseminating new collective norms for global governance, including the related relevant historical roots, should be analysed. Proposals should identify where these interests, strategies and norms are incompatible with EU values and long-term interests and recommend policy action for the European Union to counter them. They should reflect on the changing role of state sovereignty in times of globalisation and global governance and consider different ways of reconceptualising multilateralism in the emerging multipolar global system. International cooperation with partners from third countries of interest is encouraged in order to better achieve the expected outcomes.
20 April 2022