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About us

The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence "The EU and its Citizens" pools the expertise and academic activities of scholars working on European Integration at the Freie Universität Berlin. In doing so, it puts the relationship between the EU and its citizens center-stage addressing one of the major challenges of European integration.

The Jean Monnet Center of Excellence "The EU and its Citizens" brings together leading scholars in different disciplines that make up the field of EU Studies. Prof. Dr. Philipp Engler is professor of monetary economics at Freie Universität Berlin. Prof. Dr. Tanja A. Börzel, political scientist, has earned herself an international reputation on issues on Europeanization and EU Governance. Prof. Dr. Christian Calliess is a European lawyer who excels in doing research on multilevel constitutionalism in Europe and EU citizenship that cuts across the boundaries of his discipline. Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gerhards is a sociologist who has done pioneering research on European values and attitudes. Prof. Dr. Barbara Pfetsch, communication scientist, is conducting cutting-edge research on European media and political communication. Finally, Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse is a political scientist who has succeeded in integrating and synthesising the work of different disciplines on European identity and public spheres.

The EU constitutes without doubt the most successful integration project in the history of mankind. The past 20 years have witnessed further progress in integration with regard to the single market, the economic and monetary union (the Euro),  borderless traffic (Schengen area), (Eastern) enlargement, and the ongoing Constitutionalization process. However, the EU is in danger of losing its citizens, as we have seen during the recent referenda in France, the Netherlands, and Ireland. So far, EU and national policy-makers have reacted rather helplessly to the increasing Euro-skepticism which is fuelled by populist parties on the right and the left across Europe.

Therefore, the interdisciplinary Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence focuses on the relationship between the EU and its citizens with regard to:

  • The commonality of values and attitudes among European citizens as preconditions for developing a European identity (Prof. Gerhards);
  • The European public sphere as the arena in which communications between policy-makers and citizens take place and European identities are constructed (Profs. Berger, Pfetsch, Risse);
  • EU citizenship and rights that empower citizens and civil society organizations to advance societal demands by generating public debates and fostering a European identity (Profs. Börzel, Calliess);
  • The assessment and development of new and computer-aided methodologies to study the relationship between the EU and its citizens (Profs. Berger, Börzel, Calliess, Gerhards, Pfetsch, Risse).