Dr. Cornelius Adebahr

Associate Fellow, Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies

Areas of Expertise

  • European Union
  • EU foreign policy, European security and defense policy
  • EU enlargement, European Neighborhood Policy
  • Southeastern Europe
  • Transatlantic relations
  • Iran


English, French, Spanish


Email: adebahr@af.dgap.org

Cornelius Adebahr has been working as an independent analyst and entrepreneur since 2000, focusing on foreign and security policy, European affairs, and citizens’ engagement. Between 2011 and 2016, he lived first in Teheran and then in Washington, DC. He is the author of “Europe and Iran: The Nuclear Deal and Beyond” (Routledge 2017) and “Inside Iran: Alte Nation, Neue Macht?“ (Dietz 2018).

In addition, Cornelius is a non-resident fellow at Carnegie Europe in Brussels and a fellow at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Since 2005, he has been teaching at various international universities as a lecturer, including the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy in Erfurt, Tehran University in Iran, and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in the United States. Furthermore, he has been a member of Team Europe, an experts’ network of the European Commission, since 2003.

Cornelius studied Political Science (International Relations), Philosophy, Public Law, and International Economics in Tübingen, Paris, and at the Free University Berlin, where he graduated in 2001 before receiving his PhD (Dr. rer. pol.) in 2008.


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Selected Publications

Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans
Options for the Interplay of Neighborly Relations and EU Accession up to 2025
by Cornelius Adebahr, Theresia Töglhofer, Sarah Wohlfeld, Natasha Wunsch
DGAPkompakt 30 (December 2018), 21 pp.
Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans
Under the European Commission’s 2018 Western Balkan strategy, candidate countries from the region must resolve bilateral disputes before joining the EU. As it wants to avoid importing conflicts, the EU puts the onus to ensure good neighborly relations onto the region itself. International researchers from this year’s TRAIN program developed scenarios for the region. They range from increasing regional cooperation to the possible fallout from failed conflict resolution or an EU fatigue toward the region.
Category: European Union, Balkans
Europe and Iran
The Nuclear Deal and Beyond
by Cornelius Adebahr
Europe and Iran The Nuclear Deal and Beyond, by Cornelius Adebahr, 2017 Routledge, 196 pages
The EU’s approach to Iran has emerged as one of the few successes of European foreign policy. Still, its role in international negotiations from 2003, as much as its broader approach to Iran, are generally poorly appreciated by policy-makers in Europe, the United States, and around the world.
Category: Security, European Union, Iran, Europe
Trump, the EU, and Iran Policy
Multiple Pathways Ahead
by Cornelius Adebahr
Carnegie Europe, January 31, 2017, 12 pp (In English)
The Trump administration’s unclear and conflicting views on Iran could jeopardize the nuclear deal and threaten critical relations with European allies.
Category: Security, Nuclear Energy, Iran, United States of America, Europe
What the Iran Deal Means for Europe
by Cornelius Adebahr
Carnegie Europe, Judy Dempsey's Strategic Europe, July 15, 2015.
Twelve years after France, Germany, and the United Kingdom began talks with Iran on limiting Tehran’s nuclear activities, the deal reached in Vienna on July 14 is balm for Europe’s soul, which has been battered by the Greek debt crisis.
Category: Nuclear Energy, Iran
On EU Enlargement, or: “What a Difference a Date Makes”
Setting a flexible rather than a fixed date for accession would signal that “enlargement” as such does not take a break
by Cornelius Adebahr
Global Policy, November 13, 2014
On EU Enlargement, or: “What a Difference a Date Makes”
Cornelius Adebahr argues that countries in and outside the EU should consider reforms as continuing regardless of any official accession date.
Category: Enlargement Process, Kolumbien
What Sarajevo means for Europe, 100 years later
Cornelius Adebahr warns that the EU must tread carefully as it seeks to continue its enlargement process
by Cornelius Adebahr
Global Policy, June 26, 2014
What Sarajevo means for Europe, 100 years later
1914 is far away in a country with enough current problems of its own – from social unrest to political deadlock to the recent floods. Unlike then, when the assassination of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire set off the first World War, today there is no similar bone of contention between Belgrade and Vienna.
Category: Enlargement Process, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Testing Tehran
The West should take the new Iranian leadership’s policies seriously
by Cornelius Adebahr
Carnegie Europe, January 17, 2014, 46 pp (In English)
Testing Tehran
Is Hassan Rouhani a reformer – or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? The true motives of Tehran’s nuclear program may be unclear, but Rouhani has struck a new tone in Iran’s approach to the West. Deeds must now follow. If matters are to move forward on the nuclear question, however, the West, too, must make an effort with its negotiation partner. Cornelius Adebahr analyses the new framework of Iranian politics, notes possible places for compromise, and outlines the issues that will remain thorny.
Category: Security, Arms Control and WMD, Near and Middle East/North Africa, Iran
The EU's Iran Policy needs Plans B, C, and D
Call for expanding EU policy and preparing for a range of scenarios, from internal upheaval to outside attack
by Cornelius Adebahr
European Policy Centre, Policy Brief, June, 10, 2013, 4 pages
The EU's Iran Policy needs Plans B, C, and D
Presidential elections in Iran have just taken place. The EU has had no small success leading nuclear negotiations and increasing the sanctions pressure, but is it prepared for a range of possible scenarios? Without letting up on its core ³no bomb² priority, the EU must sharpen its institutional presence in the country. Moreover, it can do much to step up its outreach to Iranians, both through a more robust digital presence and through investments in cultural and societal exchanges.
Category: Security, Arms Control and WMD, Near and Middle East/North Africa, Iran
Sobering Balance for the EU External Staff
DGAP expert Cornelius Adebahr reports on the EEAS’s shortcomings in the British upper house of parliament
by Cornelius Adebahr
Contribution to the „Call for Evidence: European External Action Service“ by the British House of Lords, Committee on the European Union, 12 December 2012
Sobering Balance for the EU External Staff
One of the most significant changes brought to to the EU by the Lisbon Treaty was the formation of a common EU External Service. But it is not progressing as planned. Two years on, Brussels is evaluating the state of the organization. The key to improvement, DGAP’s Cornelius Adebahr argues, is to focus on better cooperation and a division of labor between the EU and its member states. Using the example of EU delegations and Special Representatives abroad, Adebahr illustrates some of the external services problems.
Category: European Union, Institutions of the EU, CFSP, Europe
Elections Without Change
The Iranian regime defies economic crisis and the threat of war
by Cornelius Adebahr
DGAPkompakt 3, April 11, 2012, 8 pp.
Elections Without Change
There is no trace of the revolution. Whoever hoped that the latest parliamentary elections in Iran could again lead the people to mobilize as in 2009 and result in a change of power relations now find themselves disappointed. With the country now practically consumed with the beginning of Iranian New Year celebrations, the regime has survived another critical phase. Nevertheless, international sanctions are being tightened, war rhetoric is increasing, and the economic crisis is getting worse.
Category: Iran