CfP: Max Planck Conference on the Past and Future of European Law

Call for Papers

February 01, 2023

Second Max Planck Law Conference for Young European Scholars 2023

The Max Planck European Law Group invites you to the Second Max Planck Conference for Young European Scholars on 12 and 13 October 2023 at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).

The years between the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties were marked by a frenzy of Treaty reforms. In contrast, the last decade, despite its many challenges, has not seen any attempt by the Member States to change the EU Treaties. Yet, events such as the Conference on the Future of Europe (the participative democracy exercise organised by the European Union to shape the future development of the Union) have shown that there is a wish for change, and a range of proposals have been made on (transversal) issues as varied as climate change, social and economic topics, migration, values, European democracy, and education.

The Second Max Planck Law Conference for Young European Scholars will aim to engage with the challenges that Europe is bound to meet in the coming decade from the perspective of young scholars. During the conference, we wish to consider (1) the stagnation of Treaty reform and the state of EU law in general, (2) potential reasons for this state of affairs, and (3) to what extent there is a need for change. Although the Treaties have barely changed, the EU (not least EU law) and the world have. We observe increasing global challenges like global warming and climate change, the rise of new economic and geostrategic powers, increasing inequalities and an apparently unstoppable process of digitisation of economic processes and societal relationships. Social trends are, at the same time, deeply paradoxical.

How can EU law deal with these issues? What can we learn from the development and history of European law in this regard? If Treaty reform is necessary, what kind of Treaty reforms should be considered: institutional, structural or substantive? The question of legitimacy and democratisation of European integration is ever more topical in the midst of an upsurge of challenges from ideologies that argue in favour of exclusionary policies. Several policy fields are concerned by new challenges after the economic crisis, the increased arrival of refugees in Europe, the Covid crisis, the aggravation of the war in Ukraine triggered by the Russian invasion, the resulting energy crisis, and the radical transformation of international relations that has altered the basic premises on which the external relations of the EU were based; all pose challenges that cut across several policy fields. There are also unsolved institutional questions at hand, such as the relationship of the EU to the European Convention of Human Rights or the overall role of the European Court of Justice in the European constitutional and judicial space.

Nevertheless, many EU policy fields are governed by solid norms of secondary law and transformations could be undertaken without Treaty change. To which extent can the current EU law framework be used to tackle these challenges? How can the change of EU secondary law play a role in overcoming EU law stagnation? This is also an aspect the conference will address. European European Law Group We are interested in abstracts from scholars working on areas of suggested reform, including but not limited to: environmental law, health policy, political economy, migration and asylum, care dimensions of European policy. We are also interested in hearing from scholars working on EU constitutional law, to explore the relationship between secondary and primary European law during times of change, contestation, and transformation. Those interested in other areas of past and future EU developments such as democracy, digitisation, or EU external policies in particular related to developing countries and the (post-) colonial dimension are also invited to apply.

The conference seeks to bring together young scholars and create a forum for new voices in European legal research. The definition of a new research agenda which has the future of Europe at its heart does not only require the perspective of young scholars, but provides a uniting factor for all researchers in this field, regardless of their particular thematic interests.

Abstract submission

The conference is addressed to Postdocs and PhD Candidates, as well as advanced students wishing to pursue a PhD in European law and young professionals (within 5 years after commencing a professional activity). The call is open to all such researchers, including (but not limited to) affiliates of Max Planck Institutes. Non-EU researchers are encouraged to apply. The conference language is English. Co-authorship is allowed.

We invite all researchers interested in presenting at the conference to submit (1) an anonymised abstract of no more than 500 words and (2) a short CV, in separate PDF documents, to by 17 April 2023. The selection will be communicated in the first week of May 2023.

Selected participants are expected to send a draft paper due 25 September 2023. Reimbursement of travel costs is conditional on the submission of draft papers. We will provide a cooperation with the journal European Law Open (Cambridge University Press), which would consider the papers for publication conditional upon a positive result of the peer review.

We will cover the costs of travel and accommodation (max. 2 nights) of up to a total of 500 € per person. For those who cannot finance their participation otherwise, especially for non-EU researchers, and depending on the available funds, we might be able to pay travel and accommodation beyond the mentioned cap.

Organisers: The Max Planck European Law Group

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