Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

The Progression of EU law [PEUL]: Accommodating change and upholding values

What are the institutional dynamics of the adoption of internal market legislation?

Moritz Jesse

Many after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, several legal matters set forward in the treaty have been explained, while other legal issues have risen, as a result of the constant changes occurring on the EU level. New and recent developments are constantly challenging the EU’s legal order and its ability to face rising issues in several policy areas. This stems from a fundamental trait of the Union: continuous change and reinvention via the medium of the law

Since the ability of the European Union in promoting its values is strictly intertwined with the development of its institutions, a primary element of research within our program is hence centred around institutional evolution. Two founding and guiding principles of the EU, solidarity and the rule of law, are of high interest to our research program, as the first is a core value underpinning the future scope and format of European integration, and the second is at the very basis of the EU.

From there, it is worthy for research to focus on investigating the extent to which it is possible to uphold the values of the EU in light of the vivid changes in migration governance, external relations, cooperation in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, European internal market regulations, agreements between EU and non-EU countries, as well as in the field of Economic and Monetary Union.

Overall aim and strategy of the research programme

The four substantive areas of EU law chosen for the research programme are all closely connected to the catalogue of the Union's objectives in Article 3 TEU. While Article 3(1) TEU states that the Union’s overarching aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its people, thereafter paragraphs (2)-(5) of the same provision list a number of more specific objectives, which may be briefly summarized as follows:

1)            To offer its citizens an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ);
2)            To establish an internal market, based inter alia on a highly competitive social market economy, and to realize a number of aims in that context;
3)            To establish an Economic and Monetary Union (EMU);
4)            To fulfil a number of aims in its relations with the wider world.

Whilst Article 3 of the original EEC Treaty mentioned almost exclusively economic matters and put the free movement of goods first, as a logical basis for the common (now: internal) market, subsequent developments have changed the perspective and enlarged the fields of activity of the Union, e.g. by introducing Union citizenship and the AFSJ. Indeed, the Lisbon Treaty revision explicitly put people and the ASFJ first. The substantive areas of EU law within the research programme and based on the order now apparent in Article 3 TEU are:

1)            EU Citizenship and the Area of Freedom Security and Justice
2)            Regulating the Internal Market & Competition
3)            Economic and Monetary Union
4)            The Union in the World.

In combination with the cross-cutting themes, the vertical and horizontal lines establish a research matrix that both structures and connects the planned research. The vertical and horizontal lines establish a research matrix that both structures and connects the planned research. The horizontal themes allows for cooperation across substantive research areas and aim to foster cooperation and cross-fertilization. 

Already at glance, it becomes clear that the research matrix accommodates research on the main challenges facing the EU today and in the years to come: the Eurocrisis, the refugee crisis, the fight against terrorism, the situation in Ukraine, the rule of law in some EU Member States. These can be studied both along the programmes horizontal and vertical lines.


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