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Poulou, Anastasia

Senior Research Fellow

Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Germany



Max Weber alumnus

Department of Law

Cohort(s): 2015/2016

Ph.D. Institution

University of Heidelberg, Germany


My research interests lie in the fields of European constitutional law and human rights. I conducted my undergraduate studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and at the Free University of Berlin, graduating with honours in 2011.
I wrote my PhD thesis in Law at the University of Heidelberg, under the supervision of Professor Ute Mager. My dissertation, titled ‘Financial assistance conditionality and social rights: revisiting social rights protection in the EU in times of crisis’, focused on the impact of the Eurozone crisis on social rights in the EU.

In my dissertation, I investigated the applicability of the social rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU in the context of the crisis. My research covered the function of social rights in the overall institutional framework of the EU: how do decisions on social rights influence the balance between courts, parliaments, and the executive? Are courts the appropriate fora in which to decide complex social issues? I especially tried to investigate how the answers to these questions have evolved during the Eurozone crisis. My conclusion was that in times of economic crisis, courts should provide a corrective to the doubtful democratic credentials of austerity measures. They should exercise a more intrusive control on the basis of the Charter’s social rights and thus function as a counterweight to the currently dominant economic rationale.

As a Max Weber Fellow, I plan to further explore the new typology of European governance in the area of social policies and shed light on its impact on social rights protection in the EU.
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