Luxembourg-Ville, 23-25 March 2017

luxembourgKeynote speakers:

  • Dr. N. Piers Ludlow, LSE:
    Of treaties, conventions, and habits: How formal integration interacts with informal
  • Prof. Dr. Christine Neuhold, Maastricht University:
    Trying to capture and study the ‘invisible’: Informal governance in the EU

This year’s HEIRS conference focuses on the informal construction of Europe. Although treaties and laws constitute the formal fundaments of European integration, informal activities on the European intergovernmental, supranational and transnational stage have often been a necessary precondition for concerted action leading to binding agreements and political change. National delegations met not only at negotiation tables when drafting new Community treaties or negotiating legal texts, but made decisive bargains in informal settings. Members of supranational institutions, such as notably the European Court of Justice, the European Parliament and, more recently, the European Central Bank, went far beyond the framework of tasks and responsibilities initially provided for them, and thus decisively shaped their own role as well as European policy areas. Interest groups have aimed to exert influence on decision-makers by way of informal strategies ranging from argumentative persuasion to political pressure.
In the course of European integration, not only soaring ambitions of governments, institutions or individuals led to the deviation from officially outlined paths and procedures: in the construction of a united Europe, events such as crises and conflicts opened up or pointed out voids in the evolving trans- and supranational structures. Hence, those concerned with finding European level solutions had little choice but to seek new, effective, though not (yet) provided ways to solve arising issues. In many cases, these new ways served those pursuing them in strengthening their own institution in the long term, although it regularly brought them into conflict with (supra)national actors and vested interests. This conference sheds light on as yet under-researched aspects of informal activism and its impact on European integration.

HEIRS is very grateful for the financial support it receives for this conference from the Robert Schuman Institute of European Affairs, the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C2DH), and the research unit Identités. Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) at the University of Luxembourg.

Interested scholars and students are invited to attend individual panels and keynote speeches, or participate in the entire conference. Due to limited space, we would like to ask you to send an e-mail to Mechthild Herzog and Lennaert van Heumen to register as a participant either for specific sessions or for the entire conference. There is no conference fee.

The History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) is a postgraduate student network. HEIRS aims at fostering the collaboration and interaction of postgraduate researchers across Europe with an interest in European integration history. This conference will bring together young researchers from various disciplines to discuss their work in a number of panels. In addition, there will be keynote lectures and speakers will be available for in-depth discussions.

Download the conference programme here: pdf_icon