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Successful Event about the EU and Global Imbalances

CERGU held a book seminar on 18 February, entitled "Europaperspektiv 2014: EU och de globala obalanserna" which focused on global imbalances and the European Union. Four of the book's authors presented their chapters and received comments and questions from specially invited commentators. First up was the political scientist and CERGU researcher Lisbeth Aggestam who spoke about leadership in EU foreign policy. Aggestam discussed the EU’s new views on foreign policy and on the EU's ability to tackle global challenges through organization and coordination of the various member states. Her commentator, Christian Leffler, head of the European External Action Service (EEAS), in charge of relations with North and South America, and is also a member of REGU (Council for European Studies at the University of Gothenburg). Christian offered his perspective on how the EEAS works in practice. The next presenter, Sanja Bogojević, a lawyer at Lund University, discussed his chapter on the EU's role in international climate protection and more specifically on emissions trading. Lisa Järner, Environmental Coordinator for the City of Mölndal, commented on and asked, among other things, questions about what more the EU could do, such as, for example investing in high speed rail. Arne Bigsten, professor of economics at the University of Gothenburg, talked about EU aid work and its role in bridging global imbalances, as well as how aid could be more effective if the goal is to reduce poverty and increase economic growth. Maria Gustavson, postdoc at QoG and member of the government's expert committee on international aid effects commented on the issue of economic growth as an objective in relation to other signs of increased welfare (for example, reducing infant mortality). Finally, Andreas Moberg, a lawyer and member CERGU's research network, presented his chapter on conditional clauses and the question of whether the EU can solve the issue of global imbalance while protecting human rights. By examining the cases in which the EU has actually applied these clauses, questions about power and equality were raised and problematised, as commentator Maria Johansen (CES historian and Deputy Director of Studies) asked regarding the different specific kinds of human rights discussed. The seminar's moderator, Rutger Lindahl, finished the panel discussion for the afternoon, saying that many important issues had been brought up. He emphasized just how complicated it can be when various imbalances are related to and affect one another, resulting in many different views on how the problems can best be handled.