Delors Institute research arm

EU research at the Hertie School of Governance

The crises of the last decade have shaken the European Union to its core. At stake are not merely political choices but the architecture of the EU as a whole. Through the emergence of a new cleavage opposing proponents of international openness and national seclusion in many European societies, there is a real risk of a lose-lose situation in which European solutions are no longer accepted and national solutions no longer working.

Our academic research team at the Jacques Delors Institute Berlin tries to understand past choices and future challenges regarding this dilemma. Our research explores theoretical lenses and practical solutions which transcend the standard dividing lines between supranational power and intergovernmental coordination. Instead, we explore new ways of thinking about a differentiated and multi-faceted polity which has achieved massive integration despite massive contestation and has entered the realm of core state powers without engaging in federal state-building.

The Hertie School's EU research builds on a vibrant and expanding research community. Our team comprises researchers on all career stages, from PhD students over post-doctoral researchers to our distinguished faculty. In the future, it is our objective to become a prime hub to gather the most original minds in EU studies. To this end, we offer a high-ranking colloquium series, flexible possibilities for visiting researchers from the junior to the senior level and career opportunities for early-career researchers.

Research areas

EU research at the Hertie School of Governance currently focuses on four areas:

Research area 1 | Institutions and democracy

In recent years, public contestation of EU policies and political mobilisation against the Union have reached unprecedented heights. This has prompted variegated and conflicting demands for strengthening the Union's democractic accountability and political capacity, for permitting further differentiation or returning powers to member states and even for outright disintegration. Against this backdrop, the Hertie School's academic research on the EU explores new lines of thinking about the general institutional and political dynamics currently characterising the Union and its multilevel judicial, parliamentary and executive field.

Research Project "LEVIATHAN"

The ERC-funded research project LEVIATHAN analyses the fiscal rules and executive institutions established during the Euro area crisis and develops scientifically-informed recommendations on how to improve these new arrangements' accountability. Project lead: Mark Dawson, Professor of European Law and Governance.

Research area 2 | Economic policy

Since the outbreak of the Euro crisis, the governance of the common European currency has taken centre stage in public and scientific discourse. The Union's increasingly diverse economic and political geography has exacerbated the fundamental challenge of striking a sustainable balance between supranational capacities and domestic leeway in economic, fiscal and financial policy. At the same time, the internal market has remained the historical and institutional core of the European project. Current developments in trade and technology, however, test its capacity to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. EU research at the Hertie School analyses these recent developments and develops ideas on the ways in which these problems are to be alleviated.

Research Project "LEVIATHAN"

The ERC-funded research project LEVIATHAN analyses the fiscal rules and executive institutions established during the Euro area crisis and develops scientifically-informed recommendations on how to improve these new arrangements' accountability. Project lead: Mark Dawson, Professor of European Law and Governance.

Research area 3 | Migration and internal security

Having increasingly entered the realm of core state powers, the European Union has become the target of highly divisive identity politics. The fields of migration and internal security are cases in point. The refugee crisis of recent years, for instance, has demonstrated the vulnerability of the Union's arrangement. To begin with, European solutions were difficult to be found in a field marked by diverse societal and state preferences. At the same time, national forays were hardly viable in the attempt to counter a challenge which, by definition, was a transnational one. The field of internal security, whether concerning border control or the fight against terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime, is characterised by structurally similar dynamics. EU research at the Hertie School explores this dilemma between a lack of supranational capacity and an abundance of scepticism in national politics and publics.

Research area 4 | Security and defence

Security and defence policy has long been one of the least dynamic fields of EU integration. While member states' security cultures, historical experience and strategic perspectives varied widely, transatlantic cooperation largely compensated for the notorious lack of Europeanised capacities. In recent years, however, and especially after the traditionally hesitant Britons' decision to leave the Union, a new dynamism seems to have captured the field. Are we truly witnessing a reversal of trend in EU security and defence policy? If so, how can we account for it, how resilient is it and what are its implications for the Union's wider institutional development? EU research at the Hertie School seeks to understand the field's political and institutional dynamics and and connects it to wider scientific debates on capacity-building in core state powers and the role of identities in EU politics. In its research and outreach efforts on security and defence policy, the research arm of the Jacques Delors Institute - Berlin will closely cooperate with the Centre for International Security Policy (CISP) at the Hertie School of Governance.