July 5, 2012 - Training

Réformer les institutions politiques

The Treaty of Lisbon, which took effect in December 2009, marked the end of a series of institutional reforms that took place over nearly twenty years. Initiated in April 1990 with the goal of a reunified European continent and the transformation of the EEC into a political union with broader powers, the process proved highly delicate as it required new transfers of sovereignty from states to supranational institutions and a change in the balance between "small" and "large" states. Although the debate over institutions was once seen as closed, the perspective of the European Union gaining new powers over macroeconomic regulation and even the ability to meddle in the budgetary and fiscal policies of member states requires new reflections on the institutional architecture of the Union and on the legitimization of its action. In a political context where Euroscepticism has the wind in its sails as never before, this debate promises to be a particularly delicate one.


Olivier Costa is a CNRS researcher at the Centre Émile Durkheim (Sciences Po Bordeaux), where he teaches on the institutions and politics of the European Union. He is also visiting professor at the Institut d’études européennes of the Université libre de Bruxelles, at the Collège d’Europe (Bruges) and at the Institut européen of the Université de Genève. He founded and is co-director of the European Studies Section of the Association française de science politique. His research deals with the institution system and policies of the European Union, the democratic question in the Union and parliamentary representation in Europe.


Frédéric Mérand
is a professor in the political science department of the Université de Montréal, guest professor of European Studies at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, assistant director of the European Union Centre of Excellence (Université de Montréal/McGill) and assistant director of the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (Université de Montréal/McGill). He is associate publisher of Politique européenne, the only peer-reviewed French-language journal dedicated to the European Union. His work on European security, political networks, transatlantic relations and the sociology of the European Union has been published in such journals as Security Studies, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Comparative European Politics and Cooperation and Conflict.


Mandatory readings:

  • Fox, Ruth. 2012. « Europe, Democracy and the Economic Crisis : Is It Time to Reconstitute the ‘Assises’ ? ». Parliamentary Affairs, n° 65, 463–469.
  • Dinan, Desmond. 2010. « Institutions and Governance : A New Treaty, a Newly Elected Parliament and a New Commission ». Journal of Commons Markets Studies, vol 48, 95-118.
  • Peterson, John et M. Shackleton. 2011. « EU Institutions and Europe’s Politics ». Social Science Research Center Berlin, Discussion Paper n° 501.

Suggested reading:

  • Costa, Olivier et N. Brack. 2011. Le fonctionnement de l’Union européenne. Bruxelles : Université Libre de Bruxelles, 253 p.

This conference is part of the Summer School «Europe in crises» (2-7 July 2012).


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