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Department of Law

Law theses of the month: Agata Poznańska

In the 'Theses of the Month' series, the EUI Law Department presents the remarkable work of its researchers and their impactful contributions to the field of law. This month, the Department features Agata Poznańska who defended her thesis on 22 May under the supervision of Professor Martijn Hesselink.

30 May 2024 | Research

Agata Poznanska_law theses of the month

Agata Poznańska is a Polish alumna with an impressive academic background in law. She pursued her undergraduate studies at the University of Lancaster in the UK and further specialised in EU constitutional law through an LLM programme at the University of Amsterdam.

Agata's research lies in the intersection of law and legal theory, with a particular focus on the European Union as a form of post-national democracy. Her PhD thesis, titled The European Citizens’ Initiative as an instrument of deliberative democracy, analyses the mechanism of European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) through the normative framework of deliberative democratic theory.

In her thesis, Agata argues that the ECI should be primarily seen as an instrument of deliberative democracy. Rather than focusing on its legislative efficiency, we should change the optics and look at its deliberative democratic potential. Deliberative democracy is a theory grounded in the belief that those who are bound by a given law should not be alienated from it but should be able to see themselves as its co-authors. The ECI, according to her, holds significant potential to fulfill this purpose. However, her research indicates that the current implementation of the ECI falls short of meeting deliberative standards. This shortfall is evident in the lack of the European Commission's engagement in deliberations and exchange of reasons with the ECI organisers, and the marginal role of the European Parliament in the process.

Agata proposes three reforms to address these issues. First, she suggests reforming the public hearings that take place in the framework of the ECI life-cycle, so that they ensure a better participation of the European Commission. Second, she advocates for the introduction of a new step into the ECI life-cycle: the deliberative meetings. Third, she recommends amending the Treaties to grant the European Parliament the right of legislative initiative.

Agata's choice of research topic was inspired by her interest in the EU as a democratic entity transcending national borders. She was driven by the question of how to make the EU more democratic in a meaningful way. Initially seeking a practical focus for her thesis, she chose the ECI as it epitomises the post-national dimension of European democracy. She combined this practical take with her theoretical interest in normative theories of democracy, choosing to look at the ECI through the paradigm of the deliberative democratic theory.

Looking ahead, Agata plans to pursue post-doctoral fellowships and aims to publish her research. She is currently exploring new and exciting academic opportunities, seeking to continue her contributions to the field of EU law and democratic theory.

Last update: 30 May 2024

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