Brendan Jordan Rowell
UNC Chapel Hill — TAM Program
Internship Report: Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute
My internship at Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute (NE-JDI) began on September 1st, 2014. In France, all internships require a contract, known as a convention de stage, which must bear the signature of the intern, the host organization, as well as the intern’s academic institution—which resulted in a brief delay. Despite potential frustrations with such bureaucratic red tape, the end result is a relatively high degree of protection and a legal minimum remuneration for interns in France; these benefits are relatively impressive in comparison with neighboring EU countries like Germany and Belgium where benefits are not guaranteed.
My first task was to watch a debate at the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Special Advisor and NE-JDI board member Eneko Landaburu, would be delivering a speech entitled Engager l’Europe dans le Monde; my job was to synthesize his remarks and the questions and comments from MEPs that followed, and to send this compte rendu, or write-up, out to NE-JDI’s email list after approval from my intern coordinator, senior researcher Elvire Fabry.
During the first week, I worked with Elvire and NE-JDI’s director, Yves Bertoncini, to establish the framework for my contribution to the think tank. The initial plan provided for me to assist NE-JDI’s researchers (primarily Elvire, but also energy researcher Sami Andoura) on topics relating to the European Union’s external relations, including the EU’s relations with its neighbors, the external dimension of European energy policy, European security and defense, migration issues; it was also understood that I would contribute to small in-house French to English translations for NE-JDI’s publications and also help in pre-publication re-readings.
As is to be expected, the scope of the internship has evolved since I began, and I am lucky in that the range of activities has been quite varied. In the first month, I assisted Elvire in preparing for les Ateliers de la Citadelle, an annual security and defense summit hosted by France’s Rapid Reaction Corps in Lille, France. For the first time, NE-JDI was helping to co-organize the event and so I was tasked with assembling contact information for researchers, journalists, civil servants, and those working in the industry in order to invite them to the event. I also attended the event with Elvire and took notes and photographs. Together, we wrote a synthesis of the event’s roundtable discussions, which included high-level guests including generals, admirals, industrialists and one journalist. This synthesis was published as part of a series on European defense to which two members of NE-JDI’s board contributed longer policy papers and tribunes; I re-read and confirmed the English translations of those publications and translated some portions of my own work from the original French publication to its English translation.
Around this time, I also received my first major project. Pascal Lamy, formerly cabinet chief to EU Commission President Jacques Delors and head of the World Trade Organization, is currently the honorary president of NE-JDI; he lends his expertise, vision and visibility to the organization and it provides him with a physical office in Paris and research support for his projects and speaking engagements. After having assisted in re-reading the English versions of some of his publications, he asked that I prepare a dossier on the state of the world shipping industry for a conference at which he would be keynote speaker. I was fairly intimidated by the vastness of the topic, which included analyses of regional and global trade trends, shifts in energy production and markets, the potential impacts of climate change, port and infrastructure, overcapacity in international shipping fleets, and the dangers of protectionist trade policies, among other topics. Despite the challenge, it was an excellent opportunity to work with such an eminent individual and receive clear feedback on the sections that required more attention. In the end, I was also asked to include two addenda on certain key geopolitical aspects that may affect shipping, including flashpoints in the Indian Ocean and in the South China Sea. Along with exploring the geopolitical implications of melting Arctic sea ice, these sections were the most interesting and engaging as they allowed me to combine the industry-specific knowledge I learned in compiling the dossier along with the skills in international relations and policy analysis I have acquired through the Transatlantic Master’s program (TAM) at institutions including UNC Chapel Hill and Sciences Po Paris.
Since this time, I have continued to contribute to research, translations, and re-readings for various NE-JDI projects, but have also assisted Mr. Lamy on several assignments relating to international trade and politics. I examined and drafted a briefing on the differences in data privacy laws in the EU, the US, and Canada for one of his speaking engagements on the potential impact of the CETA and TTIP agreements on EU and French citizens’ legal personal data protections at the French National Assembly. In one instance, I attended and summarized an online Oxford Analytica conference on the Ebola outbreak and its potential impact on Western Africa’s growth potential. And when Serbia’s Special Minister for European Integration (without portfolio) requested to meet with Mr. Lamy during her official state visit to France, I was asked to prepare a short report on Serbia’s progress as an EU candidate country. I was also fortunate enough to attend this meeting and to do a brief write-up on the exchange between Pascal Lamy, Yves Bertoncini, and the Serbian delegation.
More recently, I have also assisted Elvire with some of her research on TTIP, and specifically on ISDS, the investor state dispute settlement mechanism that has attracted a great deal of skepticism in EU Member States. At present, we are both preparing research on the position of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) in the global economy, and the potential risks they and advanced economies may face this century. We have also been regularly participating in year-long dialogue on irregular and forced migration organized by the European Policy Centre in Brussels.
The internship has been a challenging but enriching experience, and I expect that this will continue as I transition to a full-time schedule for my last two months at NE-JDI. During this time, I hope I will have the opportunity to cooperate with Pascal Lamy on writing a policy paper on African integration, a topic that is of personal interest to me and which I have discussed with Elvire and Yves Bertoncini.
Jordan Rowell is in his second year of TAM studies and is currently based at Sciences-Po in Paris. He is a research assistant at Notre Europe – Institut Jacques Delors, where he works on the external relations of the European Union. Before pursuing his master’s degree, Jordan worked in education for two years, both in France and in the United States. He has also worked as an intern at the Franco-American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta.