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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 EU is the world’s most developed case of transnational integration; research on the European institutions, governance and democracy has long been at the core of our mission. We aim to understand the interaction of different dimensions of integration and evaluate their characteristics and tensions. In addition, the Union provides a rich laboratory for the study of multileveled governance, new modes of governance and the governance tools the EU has to address societal challenges.

The legacy of the Eurozone and migration crises in addition to Brexit compel us to revisit the big questions of integration: what kind of polity is emerging in the EU and how does it ensure a balanced relationship between the whole and the member states? How can the EU retain its core values against creeping illiberalism and authoritarianism in a number of member states? 

The Robert Schuman Centre has a number of institutional nodes that underpin this research theme, notably, the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom and the European Governance and Politics Programme (EGPP) launched in 2018.



Regulating Markets and Governing Money

The single market is one of the essential pillars of integration: regulating networked industries, creating a digital single market and building up the physical infrastructure to foster a deeper single market is a major preoccupation of the Union as it seeks a return to growth.

There are many complex questions about competition policy, the four freedoms, regulatory agencies, the balance between economic, social and environmental interests and the complexities of regulation in a multi-mode and multi-level context. The Florence School of Regulation (FSR) is the foremost institutional node at the Schuman Centre addressing the big questions of European regulation. 

The Eurozone was designed around the twin goals of stable money and sound finances, but the seriousness of the crisis raised many important questions. Further integration within the Euro area also raises acute questions about the unity of the EU itself. Research on these critical issues is undertaken under the auspices of the Pierre Werner Chair, the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Chair and the Florence School of Banking and Finance

Finally, the research project  the Memory of Financial Crises focused on the causes and consequences of financial crises and how the financial system in which we live was shaped.

Finally, the research project the Memory of Financial Crises focused on the causes and consequences of financial crises and how the financial system in which we live was shaped.


21st Century World Politics and Europe

The contemporary international system is characterised by a number of shifts and shocks that profoundly affect Europe and its future evolution. The rise of China and the other newly emerging economies have opened markets for Europe but also increased global competition. Globalisation has increased pressures on all parts of the world; the stability of the Transatlantic relationship has recently been put into question and made Europeans aware of the rapid changes in global politics.

The future prosperity and stability of the EU will be determined in part by its ability to act in concert, to be strategic, to influence its neighbourhood and to shape the pattern and substance of global governance. 

The Global Governance Programme established in 2009 addresses the major international and global issues confronting Europe. It consists of four research areas: Global Economics: Trade, Investment and Development, Europe in the World, GLOBALCIT, and Cultural Pluralism. 

The Migration Policy Centre has a strong focus on migration into the EU, while the Middle East Directions Programme focuses on the 'big questions' of Europe's southern neighbourhood.  

The project Borderlands, which ended in March 2017 entailed a profound rethinking of the complex relationship between Europe and the Middle East. Past projects also focused on cultural diversity and the role of religion in Europe, such as in the case of Accept Pluralism and ReligioWest


Page last updated on 15 February 2019