Cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation of subnational entities within the European Union have been strengthened politically, legally and financially by the EU and the Council of Europe. Nearly every border region in the EU participates in some form of cooperation structure across borders – mainly due to financial support by the EU joint initiative INTERREG. In general, these Europeanization effects of regional administrative integration have been described by scholars using neofunctionalist (multilevel governance) and intergovernmentalist approaches highlighting the cooperation rationale of cross-border actors.
The aim of the research project is to go a step ahead following a conceptual shift towards a normative - participatory approach of (cross-border) regional integration. On the basis of the EU legal instrument European Grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC), processes of re-scaling, re-territorialization and paradiplomacy in a “Europe of the territories” will be analyzed with regard to inclusiveness and modes of subnational participatory governance.
In general, policy-making and strategic development of the EU regional policy, particularly the European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) are products of a successive bargaining and functional technocratic regulation between the administrative elites within the EU multilevel (supranational, national, subnational) polity excluding the local community. The aim of the research project is thus to elaborate forms and channels of transborder participatory governance in EU transnational spaces and to examine pre-conditions for the establishment of an increased inclusion of a cross-border citizenship. Moreover, it focuses on the problems and obstacles of the institutionalization of deliberative and participatory mechanisms of a subnational citizenship in a postnational multilevel arena. Finally, the research - that is based on four case studies - analyzes to what extent the EGTC foster both the consolidation of cross-border cooperation and institutionalization of transnational participation on a subnational level.
Titel: The European Union and Deliberative Global Politics: An Assessment of the Global Division of Labor
The European Union (EU) is frequently being praised for its effects on Member States (e.g. democratically disciplining), it is rarely being praised for its external effects. The Treaty of Lisbon has declared extensive global ambitions (e.g. strengthening international law, ending poverty) which however demand concrete and integrated action (e.g. a reform of the agricultural policy, a sustainable trade policy). According to normative approaches to integration studies, we need to not only focus on official goals/policies (e.g. a coherent development policy) but assess the global effects of European political action (e.g. a Common European Market). To reveal how the EU co-determines the global division of labor I will conduct a case study focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. This will allow to criticize Europe's global economic effects as well as the corresponding decision-making procedures. Findings are to contribute to increasing legitimacy of European politics and to developing conditions for a global public discourse to materialize.
Titel: Networked Empathy - The Social Web as Enabler for Universal Human Rights
Over the last decades human rights
often served as all-purpose weapon for justification and condemnation of political decision-making and individual behavior. However, despite their prominent role, human rights are violated as much as ever. The research project focuses on this contradiction and aims to understand and resolve it by focusing on the individual level of human rights and the role, the social web can play in changing moral judgment.
In a first step it is argued that the reasons for the high number of human rights violations despite a political unanimous condemnation can be found in the fact that the unanimity is only a theoretical political one based on deliberative rational argumentation – it is not taking into account the individual human being with its emotional and social nature. Based on Jonathan Haidt’s “Social Inuitionist Model” it is stated that moral judgments (the basis for a supportive attitude towards human rights) are based on emotional intuition and social context and not on rational argumentation.
Consequently, to change moral judgments in favor of human rights, it is necessary to focus on emotional storytelling and social interaction on an individual basis. The functionality of the social web is based exactly on these patterns. Structurally, individuals use the social web to strengthen and prolong connections to acquaintances. With regard to contents, individuals share personal experiences and emotional stories. Consequently, the social web is the port of call for a social intuitionist human rights education.
Titel: Eine Theorie eines ordopluralistischen Interessensystems
Interessengruppen sind auf die Durchsetzung ihrer Partikularinteressen im politischen Prozess fokussiert. Im freien Wettstreit um politischen Einfluss verfügen die Gruppen über ungleiche Ressourcen, die zu unbalancierten Politikergebnissen führen können. Moderne theoretische Arbeiten analysieren die Unausgeglichenheit des Interessensystems als theoretischem Raum zur Modellierung des Werbens von Interessengruppen bei politischen Repräsentanten. In den Arbeiten wird entartetes Lobbying in Form von Agency Capture, unfairer Einflussnahme, ungleichen Ressourcen der Gruppen und plutokratischen Politikentscheidungen als Ergebnis eines ungleichen Gruppenwettstreits identifiziert. Langfristig besteht die Gefahr, dass die demokratische Idee der Gleichheit der Bürger und ihrer Stimmen durch die Ungleichheit der Gruppen und ihrer Ressourcen unterlaufen wird. Ein Lösungsansatz ist die Definition eines gesellschaftlichen Regelungsrahmens für die Arbeit von Interessengruppen - ein bisher wenig erforschtes Themenfeld. Diese Arbeit wird eine induktive Herleitung einer weitreichenden Definition solcher Regeln zum Wohle und Fortbestand von Demokratien erarbeiten. Die generierten Regeln werden in Verbindung mit der vorhandenen Interessengruppentheorie des Pluralismus gesetzt, um dadurch eine neue ordopluralistische Interessengruppentheorie zu beschreiben.
Titel: Internationale Normbildung in Zeiten der US-amerikanischen Hegemonie. Ansätze zu einer realistischen Normenforschung.
Titel: The Limts of Post-Accession Europeanization – The Judicial Reform and the Fight against Corruption in Romania since January 2007
Through its policy of conditionality the European Union places high priority on the fight against corruption. Romania and Bulgaria are subject to post-accession conditionality, a mechanism expected to bring about lasting judicial reform and democratic consolidation in the two member states. Yet, an analysis of Romania’s compliance record in matters such as justice and anti-corruption after January 2007, illustrates the reversibility of reforms. The present project aims to uncover the reasons for Romania’s post-accession setback. It hypothesizes that the elite’s instrumental use of the democratic institutional framework for individual purposes alters the course of anti-corruption reform. The study proposes thus a redefinition of the factors triggering change both in the post-accession as well as in the pre-accession period.
The theoretical argument builds on the top-down rational institutionalist logic of consequentialism and develops a revised model according to which the process of de-Europeanization strongly depends on the domestic context and in particular on the personal interests pursued by the domestic political elite. What is novel about this adapted model is that it brings into sharper focus the domestic political elite, its structure, circulation patterns and preferences, conceptualizing the impetus for reform as a self-serving opportunistic behavior.
The project addresses the causal link between the course of reform in Romania and the personal interests pursued by the members of the domestic political elite. In their pursuit of personal benefits, the members of the elite misuse the democratic framework for individual purposes, thus making meaningful reform virtually impossible. The level of fragmentation within the elite group and the constraints posed by the civil society are emphasized as two crucial variables . A strong self-interested political elite can impede reform in pursuit of personal benefits if no significant constraints are posed by the civil society.
The above prediction is rendered plausible by using two in-depth case-studies on Romania’s anti-corruption and environmental reform. The empirical analysis will offer a comparison between a case of successful Europeanization and an instance of post-accession legislative setback, explaining the latter by showing the considerable extent to which the members of the political elite act on their own personal interest, thereby making any meaningful reform impossible.