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Department of Law

Law theses of the month: Maria Kotsoni

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 Maria Kotsoni who defended her thesis on 19 April under the supervision of Professor Claire Kilpatrick.

29 April 2024 | Research

Maria Kotsoni_LAW theses of the month

Maria Kotsoni is a legal scholar hailing from Greece with a solid foundation in law from Democritus University of Thrace and a master’s degree in Public Law from the University of Athens. Before joining the EUI, she also worked as a lawyer and legal consultant for the Council of Europe's Department of Social Rights.

In her thesis - Did the euro-crisis change the social constitution? An analysis of constitutional amendment projects in Greece and Ireland - Maria investigates whether and how the euro-crisis shaped projects and demands to change European social constitutions, particularly in sovereign debt states. Her thesis and associated published work make the following arguments: first, that the euro-crisis has shaped constitutional amendment of European social constitutions, albeit in different ways in different places, with different constitutional actors and sites involved; second, the way the interaction of the euro-crisis with the change of the social constitution manifests is conditioned by constitutional design in the EU Member States, in particular constitutional review and constitutional amendment processes, while constitutional culture is also relevant; and third, the euro-crisis produced a change in how constitutional change is done at the national level by leading to the emergence of citizens’ deliberative fora which proved to be avenues for channelling social rights legal projects. Notwithstanding these outcomes of the euro-crisis, the latter has not been the only agent of change for the social constitution in the post-crisis years. In the thesis, Maria shows that other crises, the need to adapt to a changing environment, and international socio-economic rights obligations have also animated discussions on constitutional change in European social constitutions.

Maria's work contributes significantly to legal scholarship by clarifying the concept of the "social constitution" and proposing an ‘integrated approach’ that considers various components such as social rights, labour rights, fiscal policies, and international socio-economic obligations. By bridging the gap between comparative constitutional studies and social constitutionalism, she offers a fresh perspective on the complexities of constitutional change in Europe. The inspiration behind Maria's research stems from her deep-rooted interest in public law and social and labour law, nurtured during her undergraduate studies and further cultivated through her professional experiences, particularly her tenure at the Council of Europe's Department of Social Rights. Moreover, living and working in Greece during the austerity measures of the euro-crisis further fuelled her interest in the legal analyses of the euro-crisis outcomes.

Looking ahead, Maria plans to continue her research in the field of social constitutionalism. Her next project will look at how the constitutionalisation of European fiscal constraints has reshaped fundamental social and labour rights, paving the way for a re-evaluation of European social constitutionalism as a whole. Additionally, she intends to maintain her collaboration with the Council of Europe, contributing with her expertise to the activities of the European Committee of Social Rights.

Last update: 30 April 2024

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