Dr. Dirk de Bièvre is the co-author of a new article titled ‘Seizing the moment: Regional opportunity structures and Wallonia’s temporary veto of the EU–Canada bilateral trade agreement’, published in Regional and Federal Studies.

The paper’s abstract reads as such: “Constitutionally, Belgium represents the most extreme case of regional entities wielding power over EU external trade policymaking. Formally, the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions can wield veto power over Belgian positions. Yet, only once has a Belgian region actually made use of this capacity, when Wallonia temporarily blocked the conclusion of the EU trade agreement with Canada in 2016 (CETA). We show that political actors – legislative and executive – could only activate this constitutional possibility in conjunction with other necessary conditions: a high degree of societal mobilization and, above all, inter-party competition across different levels of government. As the Walloon Parti Socialiste seized the moment, it reinforced the paradox of weakness and strengthened the EU’s trade bargaining power towards Canada. We finish by discussing the spill-over effects of the 2016 CETA episode into the shaping of future EU trade policies, as well as into future intra-Belgian EU policymaking.”

Dirk De Bièvre is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Antwerp. His teaching at the MA level focuses on Theories of International Relations, Research Design for the MA thesis, and International Political Economy. At the BA level, he offers a reading seminar on international politics. His research is concerned with regulatory and judicial politics, interest group politics, and political economy in the EU and the World Trade Organization. His research has been funded by the Volkswagen-Stiftung, the EU Framework program, the EU Horizon 2020 program, the European Science Foundation, the Research Foundation Flanders FWO and the Research Fund of the University of Antwerp. He previously was postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, and in 2014-15, a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Government at the LSE. He is a steering group member of the ECPR Standing Group on International Relations and member of the editorial board of the Journal of European Public Policy and Politics and Governance.