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II. Conflict in the EU multi-level system

This research stream concentrates on conflict in the EU multi-level system. We are interested in lines of conflict within and between the EU institutions on the one hand, and conflicts between the European and national levels on the other. Conflicts become visible both in policy formulation and in the implementation of European standards in the member states. What influences conflict, how do actors and institutions deal with conflict and when can it be (successfully) managed?

Databases, ongoing projects and recent publications

Database on Position Formation in the EU Commission

The project "The European Parliament as an arena of contestation?" investigates conflict within the European Parliament. We ask when Eurosceptic MEPs vote along party lines and when they vote according to national interests, and which issues are discussed in a particularly aggressive and provocative manner. The project was carried out together with Tanja Börzel, Philipp Broniecki and Lukas Obholzer and is part of the Cluster of Excellence 'Contestations of the Liberal Script'. More information can be found on the project homepage.

The project "Effects of EU soft law across the multilevel system" aims at an improved understanding of the performance of the EU multilevel system through an analysis of EU soft law effects. What is the share of soft versus hard law in specific policy areas? When and why is EU soft law implemented in nation states? And, when and why is there feedback on the supranational level after national implementation? We record soft law characteristics and occurrence at the EU level with a new database covering seven selected policy fields and then analyse the effects in selected cases in Germany and France on the basis of expert interviews and a survey in public administrations. The project is carried out in cooperation with Sabine Saurugger and Fabien Terpan from the University of Grenoble and is funded over three years by ANR and DFG. More information can be found here.

- Ausfelder, A., Eick, A., Hartlapp, M., Mespoulet, R., Saurugger, S., Terpan, F., and Cappellina, B. (2024). EU soft-law: Non-binding but enforcable. European Law Journal (conditionally accepted).

- Cappellina, B., Ausfelder, A., Eick, A., Mespoulet, R., Hartlapp, M., and Terpan, F. (2022). Ever more soft law? A dataset to compare binding and non-binding EU law accross policy areas and over time (2004-2019). European Union Politics (23), 741-57.

- Hartlapp, M. & Hofmann, A. (2021). The use of EU soft law by national courts and bureaucrats: how relation to hard law and policy maturity matter. West European Politics, 44(1). To the article

- Hartlapp, M. et al. (2019). Taking the EU to Court. Annulment Proceedings and Multilevel Conflict. Basingstoke: Palgrave To the article