Research - Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence

The Centre of Excellence supports three research projects: one project on the international impact of the EU’s rules and regulation, one on the history and lessons learned from the Eurozone crisis, and a third one on the rise of populism in Central Europe and the challenges it poses for the EU.


"The Brussels Effect": How the EU Shapes the World Through Rules and Regulations

Anu Bradford, Director of the European Legal Studies Center and professor of international law and international organization at Columbia Law School, conducts a research project on the global influence of the European Union through rules and regulation.

This project builds on previous research presented by Anu Bradford in the "The Brussels Effect" article that she published in Northwestern Law Review in 2013. The additional research will allow for a deeper discussion of several topics, such as the political economy underlying the Brussels Effect. It will also make it possible to expand the analysis to new topics, such as the significance of the Brussels Effect in resisting the backlash against globalization, as well as the ability of technological progress to mitigate the Brussels Effect in the future.

History of the Eurozone Crisis

This project is led by Adam Tooze, Director of the European Institute and Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History at Columbia University.

The global financial crisis of 2008 followed by the "Eurozone crisis" of 2010-2012 and its aftershock in Greece in 2015, were the most serious economic challenges that the European project has faced in its seventy-year history. Greece, Ireland and Portugal faced existential financial questions. Italy and Spain were both on the edge of deep national crises. Even in France in the fall of 2011 there was deep anxiety about a possible collapse of the European project. Other member states were more secure, but they too had to wrestle with deep questions of how to relate national interest to the wider European crisis. An unprecedented political effort was required to arrive at collective solutions. That effort is still ongoing.

The aim of this project is to throw light on the background of that collective effort by exploring how different narratives of the crisis emerged in five key member states - Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands – and how those narratives shaped the responses of national governments to the crisis.

Democratization in Dark Times: The Electoral Success of Nationalist Populism in Central Europe

Tsveta Petrova, Lecturer in the Discipline of Political Science at Columbia University, leads a research project to examine and explain the electoral successes of populists in Central Europe and the challenges they pose for the EU. The project focuses on what makes certain countries susceptible to the emergence of successful populist movements and why some citizens support such movements.

Nationalists versus globalists; traditionalists versus multiculturalists; the working class left behind versus the new professional class. This new multi-dimensional cleavage between "nationalist populism on one hand and liberal technocracy" (Accetti 2016) on the other is reshaping political competition patterns in many European societies and buoying "populists" across the continent. In France, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain, and even Germany right populist parties have become increasingly competitive in key elections, while the governments of Law and Justice in Poland and Fidesz in Hungary demonstrate the resilience of such parties in power.

Understanding the rise of populists is an important political-science and policy question because they represent a threat to the European integration project by disrupting the existing liberal institutions and frameworks of international cooperation.