Jan Wouters

Professor of International Law and International Organizations, Jean Monnet Chair Ad Personam EU and Global Governance, and Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Institute for International Law at the University of Leuven (KULeuven).

Jan Wouters of the University of Leuven explores the ‘international actor-ness’ of the EU, with particular emphasis upon the recent development of the Lisbon Treaty. Tracing a number of historical engagements, Wouters suggests that the EU has long been active as an international player, whether thought of in terms of trading and currency blocs, international development cooperation, common security and defense endevaours, or environmental policymaking. Yet, the Lisbon Treaty has facilitated the creation of comparatively novel instruments and functions of collective representation. In particular, Wouters suggests that a new legal personality and diplomatic character can be observed. Of notable importance, this transformation has directly filtered into the UN realm, where voice and position have been re-conceptualized. However, in the wake of a failed initial bid for enhanced observer status, the EU still retains a number of coordination-oriented challenges – something to be expected in line with such a grand endeavour.


  • Jan Wouters, Tom Ruys and Frank Hoffmeister, “The United Nations and the European Union: An Ever Stronger Partnership”, Belgium, T.M.C. Asser Press.  December 2006.
  • Jan Wouters and Frederik Naert, “How Effective Is the European Security Architecture?  Lessons From Bosnia and Kosovo”, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 540-576.
  • Jan Wouters, “The United Nations and the European Union: Partners in Multilateralism”, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, May 2007. http://www.ghum.kuleuven.be/ggs/nieuw/publications/working%20papers/new_series/wp01.pdf
  • Jan Wouters and Ramses A. Wessel, “The Phenomenon of Multilevel Regulation: Interactions between Global, EU and National Regulatory Spheres”, International Organizations Law Review, Vol. 4: No. 2: 2008, pp. 259-291
  • Jan Wouters and Bart De Meester, “The World Trade Organization: A Legal an Institutional Analysis”, Intersentia, 2007.

Additional Resources

  • Charlotte Bretherton and John Vogler, “The European Union as a Global Actor”, London, Routledge Publishing, December 2005.
  • Christpher Hill and Michael Smith, “International Relations and the EU”, Oxford University Press, August 2005.
  • Karen Smith, “European Union Foreign Policy in a Changing World”, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008.
  • Maximilian B. Rasch, “The European Union at the United Nations: The Functioning and Coherence of EU External Representation in a State-centric Environment”, Brill: Hotei Publishing, 2008.
  • Edith Drieskens, “EU Representation in the UN Security Council: A Principal-Agent Perspective”, Leuven University, 2007.
  • http://www.eu-consent.net/library/phd/Award-winner2_2007.pdf

Recorded on November 2010