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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Vergleichende Demokratieforschung und Politische Systeme Osteuropas

Objectives

Since several years there is an ongoing debate within the EU institutions, among stakeholders, the public and the media on the issue of democratic backsliding in EU member states and the decay of European integration. The EU Commission and the EU Parliament have launched several reactive and preventive tools against this phenomenon. These include policies to develop a shared culture of rule of law among member states, the collaboration with the Council of Europe, a rule of law review cycle, the usage of infringement procedures at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), or the connection of funding from the EU budget to the non-flawed operation of the rule of law.

The Jean Monnet Module “Investigating EU Policies to foster the Rule of Law (EU4Law)” will examine these activities more closely since they are a fundamental determinant for an effective, democratic and legitimate functioning of EU integration. This will be realised through several activities in the fields of teaching, research and public debate.

EU4Law modules enable the participating graduate students to study and to apply theoretical concepts from the social sciences in an interdisciplinary perspective. They deepen their knowledge on how the EU multi-level system works and in which opportunity structures state and non-state actors operate in order to engage and interfere in policy-making in the field of rule of law. In addition, they train their methodological skills through case study research and will learn how to conduct fieldwork in the EU sphere. PhD-students from our department’s two Graduate Schools support these activities. A specific focus is laid on students who train to become a teacher and they are prepared to disseminate knowledge about the European Union in schools.

In addition to the expansion of the EU4Law classroom across HU's student levels, departments and other Berlin-based universities, the use of new technologies for distance and blended learning allows to widen the module also internationally. Students from the other side of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, are included. Hence, the module offers international experiences for a wide range of participants, contributes to their intercultural learning and bundles activities and knowledge across several universities.

All in all, graduate students from different social science related disciplines and study programmes will have the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge about the way the European Union works. They will learn about law-making and soft-policy measures, such as benchmarks and financial incentives. Future young researchers at the end of their MA will learn how to prepare research projects for their MA thesis through participation in the EU4Law seminars and specific methodological training.

Finally, the wider public, practitioners, teachers and civil society actors are addressed, informed about and included in the Module’s activities through several events in collaboration with the Berlin Town Hall and Senate and the Berlin School for Professional Education.