Keynote and discussion

In search of acceptance: Legitimation deficits and resources of the European Union

A keynote and discussion with Dieter Grimm, Rupert Graf Strachwitz, and Helmut K. Anheier.

The debate about the legitimacy deficit of European institutions has reached a new high after the ‘Brexit’ decision of the United Kingdom in June 2016. While there is little doubt about the existence of the deficit, its reasons, and consequently the remedy to overcome it, are highly contested. In his talk, Professor Grimm will elaborate that one of the most serious but also least known reasons is the European Union’s tendency to over-constitutionalise. Our discussants will look at this and other roots of the problem and derive suggestions to improve the situation.


Dieter Grimm teaches constitutional law at Humboldt University Berlin and at the Yale Law School. From 1987 to 1999 he served as Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. He holds a law degree and a doctoral from the University of Frankfurt and an LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School. He has been a visiting professor in many universities such as Harvard, New York University, the University of Toronto, the University La Sapienza in Rome, the Indian National Law School in Kolkatta, Seoul National University, Beijing University, Renmin University Beijing etc. Dieter Grimm holds honorary doctoral degrees from the universities of Toronto, Göttingen, Porto Alegre and Bucharest. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, the Academia Europaea and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2016 his book “Europa ja – aber welches?” appeared with C.H. Beck and his book “Constitutionalism - Past, Present and Future” with Oxford University Press.


Rupert Graf Strachwitz has been involved with not-for-profit organisations for well over 30 years – as a volunteer, staff member, board member, consultant, researcher, and lecturer. Since 1989, he has been Managing Director of Maecenata Management, a consultancy that specialises in foundations and associations, corporate citizenship and philanthropy, and since 1997, he has also been the Director of the Maecenata Institute for Philanthropy and Civil Society, Berlin. He studied Political Science, History, and History of Art at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, USA, and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany, and graduated as an M.A. in 1974. After serving at world headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Rome for two years, he became Regional Director for the catholic disaster relief and medical aid organisation in Bavaria. Subsequently, he served on the board of a number of foundations and NGOs, including German Caritas, where he was Vice President in 1984/85.

Helmut K. Anheier is President and Dean of the Hertie School of Governance and Professor of Sociology. His research centres on indicator systems, social innovation, culture, philanthropy, and organisational studies.

A joint event with: