The Rule of Law in the EU: Consensus and Discontent

image of a river in Florence

Call for papers

  • 11 June 2020, 09:00 - 12 June 2020, 18:00
  • European University Institute, Via della Badia dei Roccettini, 9, 50014 Fiesole FI, Italy
  • FREE

The University of Portsmouth, in collaboration with the European University Institute, and the Centre of European Law at King’s College London, invite submissions for an international conference on The Rule of Law in the EU: Consensus and Discontent. The 2-day conference takes place from 11-12 June 2020 at the European University Institute in Florence, Badia Fiesolana, Teatro. The conference will include plenary sessions organised into panels and is expected to involve around 35 speakers with additional participants, chairs and a limited number of attendees.


The conference will follow the same format of previous events, combining invited speakers and individuals selected through this call for papers.

Keynote speakers

  • Věra Jourová, European Commissioner, Vice-President designate for Values and Transparency (2019-2024)
  • Kim Lane Scheppele, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School and University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

Invited speakers

  • Armin von Bogdandy, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
  • Bojan Bugaric, University of Sheffield
  • Paul Blokker, University of Bologna
  • Carlos Closa European University Institute
  • Deirdre Curtin, European University Institute
  • Oreste Pollicino, Bocconi University
  • Laurent Pech, Middlesex University London
  • Jiří Přibáň, Cardiff University Giovanni Sartor, European University Institute



The aim of the conference is to explore new avenues to think about the nature, function and transformation of the rule of law in the EU.

We welcome submissions on any of the following themes:

1. Philosophical foundations of the Rule of Law in supranational polities

Authors can explore the nature of the rule of law and its theoretical underpinnings in the light of the main philosophical schools of thought. What values can provide moral, political and legal justification to the rule of law? Furthermore, what is the nature and function of the rule of law involving multi-level and transnational governance?

2. Rule of Law in the EU: Evolution, meaning and contemporary applications

Papers under this theme can discuss how the Union understands and applies the rule of law. Scholars could provide new ways of analysing the scope and function of Article 2 TEU and the founding values of the EU. An important question is whether specific features of the EU, such as the notions of autonomy and mutual trust function as a driver or an impediment to the rule of law.

What lessons can be learned from the enforcement of the rule of law in the EU’s multi-level system of governance? Furthermore, studies may explore the narratives of the so-called ‘rule of law crisis’ in the EU, with reference to the cases of Hungary and Poland, amongst others. They can analyse the relevant constitutional framework (Article 7 and 49 TEU and Article 258 TFEU) and the Union’s responses or discuss the possible ‘externalities’ and inter-systemic impact on the Union’s constitutionalism and legitimacy.

We invite papers on the application of the rule of law in specific policy areas, including the internal market, Economic and Monetary Union, and Freedom, Security and Justice (e.g. on asylum and migration).

Finally, authors could investigate what obligations does the rule of law impose on the EU’s external activities. In what way, if at all, can the EU’s internal application of the Rule of Law affect its external relations?

Contributions may assess how the rule of law shapes the Common Foreign and Security Policy and common commercial policy, including the negotiation and conclusion of investment agreements.

Moreover, scholars may analyse mechanisms for rule of law enforcement and dispute resolution systems. Studies may also look at the normative impact of the EU’s rule of law with reference to specific case-studies and its role in the accession of new Member States.

3. The Rule of Law and the EU in the technological age

Can the Rule of Law framework provide analytical tools and the language through which we can understand the governance of digital platforms and evaluate the legitimacy of their governance? What values should be enshrined in a Rule of Law that targets activities in the digital world as well as the conduct of artificial intelligent agents? If the traditional division between public and private in constitutional law and authority becomes less useful where regulation is not only, or even not primarily, done by public bodies, how constitutional values and rights can be protected once governance becomes decentralised?

To what extent a ‘digital constitutionalism’ discourse can articulate limits to the exercise of power in a networked society and identify and realize appropriate standards of legitimacy for governance in the digital age? Furthermore, in an environment where misinformation blends with facts in an unprecedented manner, to what extent there are meaningful risks to the democratic process, the rule of law, or even the legitimacy of elections and integrity of justice? What normative and institutional responses to those threats may be appropriate in the EU’s multi-level system of governance?


Interested contributors should submit an anonymised abstract of no more than 600 words by 5 February. Please label your file with ‘last name_abstract’ on any of the above topics of interest or other topics relating to one of the conference’s general themes.

Please also include a short CV.

Both abstract and CV are to be sent to via email to Napoleon Xanthoulis. The organisers aim to respond by 9 March 2020.

If selected, authors will be asked to submit a full paper and an abstract by 13 May 2020 for circulation amongst the speakers. In line with past practices, selected papers will be considered for publication in an edited volume with an international publisher.


  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 5 February 2020
  • Notification of acceptance: 9 March 2020
  • Deadline for final paper submission: 13 May 2020


Organising committee

For any enquiries please contact: Napoleon Xanthoulis

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