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Research Themes

The Robert Schuman Centre focuses on three research themes and aims to address key questions about the functioning of the European Union and its role in the 21st century.


Integration, Governance and Democracy

The European Union is the world’s most developed form of transnational governance. However, the EU model experiences times of unparalleled challenge, deep tensions prevail and it is timely to reconsider some of the complex and pressing questions that arise on economic, legal, political and social integration and the way in which these interact.

Over the years, the treaties and their iterative reform process progressively created a distinctive European constitutionalism that has gone beyond market making to include Union citizenship, rights and shared values. The Lisbon treaty introduced significant new roles and rules in a number of policy areas, and institutional balances in the Union have shifted.

Building on a strong research record, the challenges and opportunities for democracy in Europe, both within member states and in the EU – European Union Democracy Observatory – migration – Migration Policy Centre – pluralism and freedom – Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom – as well as cultural diversity and the role of religion in Europe – ReligioWest, continue to be central issues of the Centre’s research agenda. 


Regulating Markets and Governing Money

The single market is one of the essential pillars of integration, but by definition it is never complete. As it develops, new economic sectors, interests and actors emerge requiring it to readjust with the changing environment.

The Robert Schuman Centre, in particular the Florence School of Regulation, develops research, training and fosters policy dialogue to address the many questions about competition policy, the 'four freedoms' - free movement of people, goods, services and capital - regulatory agencies, the balance between economic, social and environmental interests and the complexities of regulation in a multi-mode and multi-level context.

The euro crisis has had a major impact on the EU and has raised critical questions concerning, for example, the pressures for further centralisation in banking, finance and the fiscal area; the consequences of the crisis for the real economy; economic reform processes within member states; further integration within the euro area. At the Robert Schuman Centre, the Pierre Werner Chair and the Tommaso Padoa Schioppa Chair, the latter of which was inaugurated in 2014, contribute to the advancement of research on these issues and address the medium-term policy questions.


21st Century World Politics and Europe

Globalisation, as a process of growing interdependence between people linked together economically and socially, has increased pressures for an enhanced capacity for global governance in many policy fields.  If the EU has been a significant player in this process, it is more so in the emergent 21st century.

The Robert Schuman Centre supports research on the role of the EU as a model and actor of global governance and as a player in the contemporary international system. The Centre promotes research, training and policy dialogue – Global Governance Programme – on the role of the Union in a range of foreign policy fields, such as international trade, investment, development co-operation, human rights, democratisation, security and defence. It also analyses the EU as a testing ground for governance beyond national borders and as a highly developed form of transnational integration – Borderlands. Finally, the research project the Memory of Financial Crises aims to to understand not only the causes and consequences of financial crises, but more generally how the financial system in which we live has been shaped.

Page last updated on 25 July 2017