European Commonwealth ?

Comparative public law in Europe

Barsea Project

  • Background

Brexit, Greek crisis, financial crisis, immigrant crisis… The current development of the relationships between the European Union and its Member States triggers a range of social, political and economic questions. Although similar events affect countries across Europe, the reactions to them need to be tailored to the specifics of each state. The legal framework and tools used to respond to these events have to take into account the distinctive features of each state.

These times of crises offer opportunities to reflect on these distinctive features framing the interactions between public bodies, economic actors and non-economic actors when they cooperate to deliver European citizens  welfare policies according to suitable standards.

This project seeks to explore how comparative public law can provide lawmakers, administrations, law practitioners etc. with tools to analyse and assess the options available to them.

It will seek proactively to engage with potential users of research based on comparative public law. It hopes to better understand the needs of these potential users and to start a process of mutual understanding.

  • Key questions
  • How do public authorities (national, sub-national and local) relate to (non)-economic actors in the provision of public services (eg media, energy, transportation, health care (etc.) in Europe ? what does comparison between different legal systems tell us about a shared understanding of the common good in Europe ?
  • How do administrative structures and professional groups influence the dynamics and outcomes of the relationships between public authorities and (non-) economic actors ?
  • Which role(s) does the law (European or national) play in shaping the respective functions of public authorities and (non)-economic actors, the evolution of these administrative structures and professional groups ?
  • Do citizens enjoy right to minimum standards/guarantees in public services across (most of) Europe ? How are these rights organised ? How do these rights evolve over time ?
  • How do Member States contribute to the development of shared ideas, practices and principles in the provision of public services and citizens’ wellbeing across Europe ? How do they react when they face the development of these ideas, practices and principles developed elsewhere and foreign to them ?
  • Can we map the convergence, harmonisation, cross-fertilisation, learning from other legal systems in the ways in which citizens’ welfare is provided in Europe and its Member States ?
  • Programme

In the course of the academic year 2016-17, the project will take place around three events: one workshop at the University of Essex, one workshop in Brussels and a conference at the British Academy.

For further details: see here.

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