The Project

This Jean Monnet project aims at fleshing out the intricacies of EU’s responsibility in the international system. Multiple purposes can be served through this activity and the dissemination of the produced knowledge.

Firstly, the systematization of practice on EU and Member-States responsibility, will render more accessible the governance schemes that impact on the liability question.

The project will contribute to reducing misunderstandings about the reach of the Union’s powers and will allow to highlight those cases, where the Union is unjustly expected to act and bear responsibility. In a way, it will showcase examples where States hide behind the institutional veil. It will also work the other way around, explaining when the EU has exclusive competences and should be the one to acknowledge responsibility for its actions. Consequently, the project will attempt to clarify the real dimension and impact by EU’s competences in contested fields, such as investment and trade, environment and law of the sea, human rights and international peace and security. This will be crucial for students and academic partners in Greece and abroad that work on these questions. For that purpose, a series of conferences establishing a dialectic framework on the question will be established, and this will be complemented by various publications in edited volumes of periodicals or in edited books, where the questions of EU responsibility will be more systematically presented and studied.

Moreover, a summer school will be organized near the end of the project, where scholars from all over the world will come and disseminate knowledge on EU responsibility.

Secondly, the project targets multiple groups as it aims at facilitating our understanding on the workings of the European Union and its presence in the international legal system. More specifically, groups of professionals specializing in fields of increased EU activity, such as lawyers, investors, environmental and human rights advisors, public employees, and people working in NGOs, will benefit from the various aspects of the project. This will be realized by using multiple tools: conferences where academics and practitioners will establish a dialogue on the responsibility questions, preparation of a working paper series, but, more importantly, the creation of professional manuals explaining and training people on EU responsibility in each specific field, a database with the case-law of various courts and tribunals treating the question of EU responsibility, as well as a series of workshop that will focus on the practical implementation of the various theories on EU responsibility in fields such as trade, investment, military operations, human rights or the environment. Moreover, the purpose of rendering EU governance more accessible and EU accountability facets more easy to understand, will greatly benefit vulnerable groups, whose life is unconsciously and inadvertently influenced by EU legislation and actions, such as refugees, people targeted by sanctions regimes, and various marginalized groups (Roma people, intra-EU economic migrants etc).

Thirdly, the project aims at disseminating information that will benefit the wider public. By rendering more easy to grasp EU governance, the various activities in the framework of the project will increase effectiveness of judicial protection in areas of shared or exclusive EU competence. In other words, people and their legal representatives will be able to better pinpoint who should bear responsibility for activities that involve the EU and its member-States acting together. This is a crucial aspect of the project, as all too often claims are raised in the wrong judicial fora and against the wrong respondent, leading to backlog in the case-law of courts, frustration of applicants and their legal representatives and a generalized dissatisfaction addressed partly to the European Union. Moreover, the wider public will be able to better understand the extent, but also limits of EU powers and become more conscious in that can be expected or not from the Union and how. This last objective will be served by a series of proposed tools: an Observatory on EU responsibility where news pieces referring to EU liability will be explained in a more scientific but easily accessible way and put in a wider perspective in order to understand whether the terms used correspond to reality, but also an Audiovisual Library, where interviews and Q&A sessions with speakers of the conferences and the workshops will be conducted, where their experience in working with the EU on questions of responsibility will be illustrated. This will allow people to better associate themselves with the practical implications of the topic and understand how EU responsibility can arise in aspects of our life that we have not thought of.

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