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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Research


Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence

The EU's Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture awarded the University of Edinburgh a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in 2010. This award is in recognition of the leading role played by University of Edinburgh academics in the study of the European Union. The application was submitted in conjunction with the Jean Monnet Chair and the Europa Institute Steering Committee.

 Dr. Chad Damro directs the Centre of Excellence in coordination with the Europa Institute. The Centre, which is part of the Jean Monnet Network, has generously supported and expanded research and teaching activities at the University of Edinburgh, including the organisation of conferences, workshops, visiting speakers, visiting scholars and out-reach events.

Recent Events

In the 2012-13 academic year, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence supported a number of events, which are detailed below:

June 2013 - PhD Symposium

Today, the decentralized character of international law, together with the notion of functional specialization of its institutions, has resulted in the multiplication of specialized regimes governing almost all vital fields. This happens, for example, in trade law, human rights law, environmental law, humanitarian law, criminal law, etc. Regime Interactions take place both horizontally, between regimes with distinct but overlapping objectives, as well as vertically, between global and regional regimes, such as that of the European Union.

The purpose of the PhD symposium “Regime Interactions in International Law” was to make a further contribution to understanding the role of this phenomenon in international legal system. Each panel, the total of which were six, was organized in an interactive discursive manner in which the papers were presented by PhD students and early career researchers, and the ideas set therein were discussed by senior academic staff, both internal and external to the Edinburgh School of Law. The event has covered a great variety of subjects, and gathered a lot of prominent scholars for a fruitful discussion. As the keynote speaker prof. Christian Tams has remarked in his concluding speech for the event, the topic of regime interactions seem to have entered the stage of a mature debate, and it is currently acquiring interest from scholars in a variety of related disciplines. The symposium has therefore helped to dissect a range of issues that are pertinent not only from legal, but also political, economic and social perspectives.

All the topics covered at the symposium are listed in its programme:

Some of the papers from presented at the event are going to be collectively published as a part of the School’s working paper series. Please contact organisers at for more information in this regard.

June 2013 - PhD Workshop

On 7th June 2013, a PhD workshop was organized and chaired by Dr Elisa Morgera on the evolving role of sustainable development in EU environmental law and policy. Prof. Maria Lee (University College London) and Dr Apolline Roger (University of Edinburgh) were the
invited speakers at the event, which gathered around 20 students among the PhD community of the Law and SPS Schools, as well as students on the LLM Programme in Global Environment and Climate Change Law. Prof. Lee delivered a presentation on the governance of sustainable development in the EU, while Dr Roger presented a case study exploring the sustainable development dimensions of the EU legal framework on chemicals. The ensuring discussion touched upon issues related to the Europe 2020 strategy, sustainable development in the EU's external relations, and the role of the EU in international debates on the green economy.

May 2013 - Conference - The radical left and crisis in the EU: From marginality to the mainstream?

The conference analysed the radical left’s response to the crisis in Europe in two principal ways:

It examined and clarified the nature of radical left intellectual opposition to the EU (i.e. what are the arguments put forward by this opposition, what is the role of Euroscepticism and populism therein)? Secondly, it examined and clarified the nature of radical left political opposition to the EU (i.e. what are the social and electoral sources of support for radical left parties and movements? How and to what extent do they challenge the EU mainstream? How do they interact with competitors such as radical right, Green and social democratic parties)?

The main thematic areas of the conference were: The radical left and Euroscepticism; The radical left and populism; Radical left links at EU level; The radical left in government; The radical left and the new anti-capitalist movements (e.g. Occupy! The Indignados etc); The radical left: sources of electoral support.

This conference will be the first stage in setting up an Edinburgh-based research network focused on radical left/populist parties and will lead towards a journal special issue (in a journal such as West European Politics or Party Politics) or an edited book. The conference was open to EU students/staff and the wider public. 

This conference was convened by Dr Luke March, University of Edinburgh. Speakers included: Cornelia Hildebrandt (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin), Dieter Ohr (Freie Universität Berlin), Cesar Guzman-Concha (Freie Universität Berlin), Michael Holmes (Liverpool Hope University), Myrto Tsakatika (University of Glasgow), Dan Keith and Francis McGowan (University of Sussex), Giorgos Charalambous (University of Cyprus), Fabien Escalona (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Grenoble), Mathieu Vieira (Université Libre de Bruxelles), David S. Bell (University of Leeds), Vladimir Handl (Charles University, Prague), André Freire (Lisbon University Institute), Marco Lisi (New University of Lisbon), Costas Eleftheriou (University of Athens), Michalis Spourdalakis (University of Athens), Athanassios Tsakiris (University of Athens), Stavros D. Mavroudeas (University of Macedonia), Loudovikos Kotonopoulos (Nikos Poulantzas Institute, TransformI Europe).

March 2013 - Seminar

On 15 March 2013, Jacquelyn MacLennan, Partner, White & Case, Brussels, gave a special presentation and contributed to classroom activities.

March 2013 - Annual Mitchell Lecture

On 15 March 2013, Professor Joanne Scott, University College London, delivered the Europa Institute's Annual Mitchell Lecture. The lecture was titled 'Extraterritoriality and Territorial Extension in EU Law (Is the EU Becoming Like the US?)' and was well received by the diverse audience of academics, students and members of the public.

March 2013 - Special Presentation

On 8 March 2013 a special presentation was given by Willem Noe, European Commission, DG Enlargement. Mr Noe also gave a Transatlantic Seminar whilst he was in Edinburgh, titled 'EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy' as well as contributing to classroom activities.

Nov 2012 - International Conference - Managing Fiscal Policy in a Monetary Union

This International Conference was a joint initiative among the Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and the Europa Institute, School of Law, University of Edinburgh, UK. Organisers: Michael Bergman, University of Copenhagen, Svend E Hougaard Jensen, Copenhagen Business School, Drew Scott, University of Edinburgh, Andrew Hughes Hallett, Kennedy School, Harvard University.

Speakers and topics included:

  • Torben M. Andersen (University of Aarhus, Denmark), “Collective Risk Sharing: The Social Safety Net and Employment”
  • Thorvaldur Gylfason (University of Iceland), “Iceland: Rising from the Ashes”
  • Sixten Korkman (Aalto University, Finland) and Antti Suvanto (Bank of Finland), “Finland and Sweden in Cross-Country Comparison: What Are the Lessons?”
  • Hilde C. Bjørnland (BI Norwegian Business School, Norway), “Global
  • Shocks, Monetary Policy, and the Exchange Rate Regime: Norway and Sweden”
  • Michael Bergman, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Svend E. Hougaard Jensen, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark: “Reforming the Fiscal Policy Framework in the Euro Area: Lessons from Structural Reforms in Denmark and Sweden”
  • Fabian Zuleeg (European Policy Centre, Brussels, Belgium), “Towards a European Fiscal Union?”
  • Michael Berlemann (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany), Frances Ruane (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland), HansJoerg Bloechligier, (OECD, Paris).

September 2012 - Academic workshop - Seeking a Way out of the Economic Crisis: What is the Role of Competition Law?

Since Autumn 2008, and to this day, a broad ranging crisis has swept through a growing number of economic sectors; starting from the banking and financial sector, the crisis has affected numerous industries and has triggered sometimes 'convulsive' reactions by the public authorities, the economic operators and many of the stakeholders. But what role has competition law played in this scenario?

On 13 September 2012, a number of members and guests of the Competition Law Scholars' Forum (CLaSF) gathered in the Lorimer Room of Old College to discuss some of these issues.  CLaSF is one of the leading research groups in the area of competition law, bringing together academics, legal practitioners and economists from the United Kingdom and Ireland, Continental Europe as well as further afield, such as the USA and Australia.  Relying on the generous support of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and the Europa Institute of the University of Edinburgh, its twentieth workshop explored a number of aspects and complex questions arising from the impact of the economic crisis in Europe and from the function of competition law as a way out of the current difficulties in which a number of industries find themselves. 

Colleagues from British and European Universities as well as independent economists and members of the legal profession joined the members of the Forum in teasing the implications of these questions.  The workshop was open by a keynote address given by Prof Luis Morais of the Faculdade de Dreito of the University of Lisbon and was attended by 25 participants.

June 2012 - Conference on Immigrant Integration

This conference addressed the proposed strategic partnership between the CoR and the European Commission and European networks of cities and regions in designing a common integration policy that is developed bottom-up by the regions and local authorities. It also considered the implications of the CoR’s proposed ‘multi-level governance approach’ to immigrant integration, seeking to tease out the challenges and opportunities arising from this kind of approach (not least, issues of immigrant integration policy divergence across different regions of a state; tensions arising from immigrant integration into a stateless nation/linguistic or national minority group; and the economic dimension of substate integration of immigrants). Finally, it considered the broader impact of European integration on the politics of immigration in multi-level states, including the effects of the EU’s free movement framework, the impact of enlargement on migration, and inter-regional links and coordinating mechanisms fostered at the EU level for developing common policies and best practice on integration at the substate regional level.

Clearly, the debate on the role of regions in immigration has only just begun, and this conference sought not only to set the terms of the scholarly debate for future research on these matters; it is hoped that this discussion, and the resulting publication, will help to inform the Committee of the Regions’ proposal for a MLG approach to immigrant integration in Europe.

This project brought together the few scholars in the world that work at the nexus of immigration and multi-level politics, together with policy-makers from the regional immigration sector. The conference was held over two days with the goal of tackling the topical issue of immigration in the Europe Union from a widely neglected multi-level perspective – which had recently been put forward by the CoR as the most effective way of addressing integration. Following the conference, involving approximately 15-20 academics, party officials, and policy practitioners, the main planned outcome of this project is an edited book to be submitted to Oxford University Press and Edinburgh University Press for consideration. Furthermore, the project aims to create a sustainable network of individuals across Europe and beyond to engage in discussions and collaboration on immigration dynamics in multi-level states. 

Events 2011-12

In the 2011-12 academic year, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence supported the organisation of a conference on Island territories in the EU and beyond, academic workshops on Developments in Internal Market Law and the Europeanisation of Central and East European regions, a major conference on EU Economic Governance and a PhD workshop on critical reflexions on EU Security.

Workshop on Principal-Agent and the European Union

On 7 September 2012, the University's Europa Institute and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, in collaboration with a University Innovation Grant, was proud to host the Principal-Agent and the European Union Workshop.

The debate focused on the contribution Principal-Agent makes towards the better understanding of the European Union and its numerous policy areas. The diversity of papers presented definitely attested to the value of that contribution and, simultaneously, how and in what areas future research should invest in.

A one-day workshop, the event gathered PhD students from several EU and non-EU countries as well as academic contributors, Manfred Elsig, Bart Kerremans, Tom Delreux and Chad Damro.

Workshop on Market-Based Banking

Held on 2 June 2012, this workshop was organised by Dr David Howarth and Dr Iain Hardie, both University of Edinburgh. The workshop brought together discussants from throughout the world who contributed their expertise to the proceedings.

Conference on Scotland Debates European Economic Governance (conference proceedings and video podcasts available)

Supported by the EU Commission representation in the United Kingdom, the University of Edinburgh Europa Institute and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, this major two-day conference from 31 May to 1 June involved over 30 speakers, including some of the world's leading academic and practitioner experts on some of the main areas of Economic Governance including: fiscal policy, the role of the European Central Bank, competition policy, the 'smart' regulation agenda, financial regulation and social policy.

Speakers included: Bill Jamieson, Scotsman newspaper (formerly); Gabriel Gloeckler, ECB; Owen Kelly, Scottish Financial Enterprise; Lieve Fransen, DG Employment; Philippe Pochet, European Trade Union Institute; European Commission; Claudio Radaelli, University of Exeter; Waltraud Schelkle, London School of Economics; Amy Verdun, University of Victoria.

Annual Mitchell Lecture

On 5 March 2012, the annual Mitchell Lecture was delivered by Professor Alec Stone Sweet, Leitner Professor of Law, Politics and International Studies, Yale Law School. The lecture was titled 'A Cosmopolitan Legal Order: Constitutional Pluralism and Rights Adjudication in Europe'. The event was very well attended by academics, students and interested members of the public.

Seminar by former University of Edinburgh Student

On 20 February 2012, a seminar was given by Courtney Fingar of the Financial Times, on the subject of 'The Politics of Foreign and Direct Investment in the European Union'. 

International Workshop on the Nagoya Protocol

On 2-3 December 2011 the School of Law hosted an international workshop on a new international environmental agreement adopted in October 2010 – the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing. The workshop sought to analyse the implications of the Nagoya Protocol for different areas of international law, and explore the implementation challenges arising from the Protocol in different regions (the EU and its Member States, Africa, the Americas and Oceania) and from the viewpoint of different groups of stakeholders. To this end, the workshop gathered academics, legal officers of relevant UN bodies, negotiators of the Protocol and stakeholders involved in its implementation.

The workshop was organized thanks to the generous contributions of the Edinburgh University School of Law, the AHRC/Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law, the Europa Institute (Jean Monnet Centre for Excellence) and the Scottish Centre for International Law of the University of Edinburgh.

During the first session, Valerie Normand, from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, introduced the innovative elements of the Protocol and its linkages with other international instruments. Annalisa Savaresi, University of Copenhagen, discussed the human rights implications of the Protocol for local communities, users of genetic resources and environmental NGOs, while Alphonse Kambu, UN Environment Programme, discussed its relevance for the human rights of indigenous peoples. Charlotte Salpin, UN Division on Oceans Affairs and the Law of the Sea, looked into the interface between the Protocol and the law of the sea, while Philippe Cullet, School of Oriental and African Studies, focused on the interactions between the Protocol and international instruments related to food and agriculture. Riccardo Pavoni, Universita' di Siena, illustrated the relevance of the Protocol from the standpoint of different WTO Agreements. Abbe Brown, University of Edinburgh, offered a perspective on ongoing negotiations under the World Intellectual Property Organization, and Marie Wilkie, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, discussed relevant instruments under the World Health Organization.

Regional perspectives on the implementation challenges arising from the Protocol were offered by academics, practitioners and former negotiators of the Protocol: Harry Jonas, Natural Justice; Jorge Cabrera, University of Costa Rica; Vassilis Koutsiouris, the European Commission; Alejandro Lago, Universidad Juan Carlos, Madrid; and Geoff Burton, United Nations University. Further perspectives on implementation were offered by: Stefan Jungcurt, Council of Canadian Academies, on specialized ABS regimes; Claudio Chiarolla, IDDRI, on the role of private international law; Tomme Young on international cooperation; Maria Julia Oliva, Union for Ethical BioTrade, on the Protocol's implications for corporate social responsibility; and Selim Louafi, CIRAD-Agricultural Research for Development, on challenges for the research community.

The workshop will lead to the publication of an edited collection: E. Morgera, M. Buck and E. Tsioumani (eds.), The Nagoya Protocol in Perspective: Implications for International Law and Implementation Challenges (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff, forthcoming 2012), and a monograph offering a detailed commentary of the Protocol. A podcast of the event will be soon available on the workshop webpage (

Seminar on the Euro Crisis (audio podcast available)

Sponsored by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in association with the European Parliament Office and the European Movement.

17.30 to 19.00 Wednesday 9 November 2011, Faculty Room North, David Hume Tower, George Square. Reception to follow.

The aim of the seminar was to consider how and why the Eurozone has arrived at the situation in which it now finds itself, to assess what is at stake and, looking ahead, to consider what economic and political consequences might follow different possible courses of action that Eurozone leaders might take.


  • John Purvis CBE, Conservative MEP 1979-84 and 1999-2009, former Vice Chairman of the European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (2001- 9)
  • Dr Jacques Cailloux, Chief European Economist, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Professor Jacques Mélitz, Professor of Economics, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, formerly Professor at Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Paris.
  • Dr David Howarth, Jean Monnet Chair at Edinburgh University's School of Social and Political Science.

Workshop on the Principle of Market Access in EU Law

This workshop (9 December 2011) involved the partipation of leading academic experts on EU internal market law. Workshop proceedings can be found here.

Conference on Territorial Politics in Western and Eastern Europe: the EU dimension

This exciting event on 14-15 June 2012 brought together 25 early career and well-established scholars from multi-disciplinary fields and provided a unique venue for sharing valuable research findings on how Europeanisation affects territorial politics and how democratisation occurs in multi-level Europe. The main rationale of the workshop was to develop a common theoretical framework for understanding and comparing territorial politics in Western and Eastern Europe in a multidisciplinary context. This ambitious objective guided the participants from Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, and Japan. As a result of this priceless intellectual effort, the workshop proceedings will lead to a Special Issue in the high-profile international peer-reviewed journal Europe-Asia Studies. The publication offer has been already received.

Although the participants were mainly academics, there were also representatives from non-academic research centres and NGOs. Moreover, the vibrant debate attracted the attention of the Consulate General of Ukraine that acknowledged the added value of the workshop for the informed discussion of the ongoing constitutional reform in Ukraine.

The staff members of Edinburgh University, the Institute of Governance, and the Europa Institute actively participated in the workshop as presenters and discussants. They used the opportunities for widening their external networks with colleagues that investigate similar phenomena with the help of different theoretical frameworks and research methodologies.

Please click here for presentations and further information.

International Collaboration on Critical Methods in Security Studies in the European Union

University of Edinburgh 14-15 May 2012, McEwan Hall reception room; Organiser: Andrew Neal.

While critical research in security studies has led to a rich literature engaged with the proliferation of security problems, methodological research has lagged behind. In this workshop we presented and developed chapters for an edited volume on critical and collaborative methodologies in security studies. The workshop was advertised widely to enable authors to engage with a broad variety of audience perspectives.

By proposing collaboration as a methodology, the ICCM project supports involving researchers at a variety of stages of their career in a non-hierarchical way. Moreover, it integrates, rather than simply connects, research done in different countries, building future research capacity.

The workshop was the culmination of many years of EU-funded research collaboration on security issues in Europe. The current ESRC-funded ICCM project is a follow-on to 'Critical Approaches to Security in Europe', funded as part of a COST Action (A24 - The evolving social construction of threats (2004-2008), on which many of the PGRs and other early career academics involved worked together. The project also charts a direct decent from two major EU-funded projects: most of the project leaders worked together on the Framework 5 project 'ELISE: European Liberty and Security (2002-2005)' and the Framework 6 project 'CHALLENGE: The Changing Landscape of European Liberty and Security (2005-2008)'.

The output from the workshop will be an agenda-setting edited book on critical and collaborative methodologies in security studies.The chapters reflect the diversity of their subject matter but converge around three common arguments. First, methods are not simply tools of reflection but part of the social and political world; they are implicated in the rendering of (security) problematizations into objects of knowledge and in this sense they are constitutive and political. Second, while our contributors emerge from a generation of security scholarship grounded in critical theoretical innovation, the proliferation of security as a problem and practice means that we urgently need innovation in more empirically oriented methods in order to understand its implications. Third, we share unease towards the claims of scientificity usually embedded in methodologies; instead we consider that knowledge claims are always limited, situated and implicated, and therefore we require a critical sensibility towards the politics of method.

Workshop on Sub-national island jurisdictions in the European Union and Beyond

An international workshop was convened at the University of Edinburgh on 8-10 September 2011, to discuss the role of independence parties and movements in sub-national island jurisdictions in an age of European integration and globalisation. The workshop was funded by the Jean Monnet Chair and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. The workshop brought together political activists and leading academics to discuss the strategies, modalities and dynamics of independence movements in the 21st century. There were 15 speakers, including academics from Australia, North America and Europe, an independence party official from Sardinia (Italy) and a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Highlands and Islands. The workshop considered the opportunities and challenges to independence in the contemporary times, and compared and contrasted these with different expressions of sub-national jurisdictional autonomy. The papers first presented at this workshop, which have been revised for a Special Issue of the journal Comparative & Commonwealth Politics, investigated the role and impact of (nascent) nationalism in the context of domestic politics, as well as a broader political and economic federalism and supranational integration such as European integration. Further information about the workshop can be found here.

For further information on forthcoming JMCE and Europa Institute events, please click here or contact Shirley Fraser, Europa Institute Administrator, or Chad Damro

Previous events/activities

In the 2010-11 academic year, funds were earmarked to support the organisation of a workshop on France and the European Union, a conference on EU environmental policy, a PhD conference on the political economy of European Integration, and two major visiting speakers, Martin Rhodes, from the University of Denver, and Waltraud Schelkle, from the London School of Economics.