Research event

Beyond the inter-governmental Union? Towards the accountable and sustainable integration of core state powers

International workshop

Lawyers and political scientists working on the EU have observed a period of unique transformation since the 2008 financial crisis. Diagnoses of the twin euro and refugee crises – and their impact on the EU’s political and legal order – vary. There may, however, be some elements upon which many agree. The need for the Union to regulate in politically salient areas that touch on ‘core state powers’, such as border management and fiscal policy, have challenged the Union’s traditional constitutional and regulatory model. The outcome of the crisis has been a form of inter-governmental ‘executive federalism’ that combines regulatory tightening (i.e. strengthening fiscal, banking and common asylum rules) and limited capacity building. 

While this make-shift structure has guided the Union through the ‘twin crisis’, few bet on its long-term sustainability. The Union seems stuck in a half-way house: dis-integration seems unlikely and unwanted; at the same time, few ideas exist for how to move integration ‘forward’ on a sustainable and legitimate basis, and to guarantee the accountability of its institutional structures. We understand increasingly what is wrong with the EU and why, but there are few ideas about how an accountable, effective and legitimate European Union could look. 

The premise of this workshop is that academic research is an important component of breaking the impasse. In this sense, the difficulties of the inter-governmental Union are not only structural, but ideational: they reflect an unrealized potential to explore constitutional and political alternatives to current patterns of integration. As a School of public policy, with a deep interest in EU affairs, this workshop will gather at the Hertie School a group of leading scholars to explore promising ideas and avenues for how accountable and sustainable integration can occur after the ‘twin crises’. In more general terms, the workshop asks for creative answers to the common dilemma of multilevel systems: how to balance uniform rules and strong central powers with member state autonomy and decentralised solutions in an accountable, legitimate and effective way.

The workshop will be a part of, and will constitute an opening event for, the LEVIATHAN project, a 4 year project on accountability in EU economic governance. LEVIATHAN is sponsored by a Starting Grant of the European Research Council (Project Nr. 716923).


Damian Chalmers, Gareth Davies, Mark Dawson, Cristina Fasone, Marco Goldoni, Mark Hallerberg, Anke Hassel, Turkuler Isiksel, Markus Jachtenfuchs, Christian Joerges, Christian Kreuder-Sonnen, Lucy Kinski, Mattias Kumm, Susanne Schmidt, Daniel Seikel, Frank Schimmelfenning

Participation by invitation only. For more information please contact Mark Dawson.