Book discussion: A Citizen’s Guide to the Rule of Law

Book cover

Book discussion: A Citizen’s Guide to the Rule of Law

Thursday, 17 June 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Venue: 
Zoom webinar
Speaker(s): 
Adis Merdzanovic (School of Management and Law, Zurich University of Applied Sciences)
Kalypso Nicolaidis (School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute)
Chair: 
Alexander Stubb (School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute)
Discussant: 
Othon Anastasakis (SEESOX, St Antony's College, Oxford); Sarah Nouwen (School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute); Marta Pardavi (School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute)
Series: 
SEESOX

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Book discussion

In the presentation of "A Citizen’s Guide to the Rule of Law - Why We Need to Fight for the Most Precious Human Inventions of All Time", the authors, Kalypso Nicolaidis and Adis Merdzanovic, will investigate the importance of the rule of law.

In our daily lives, the rule of law matters more than anything and yet remains an invisible presence. We trust in the rule of law to protect us from governmental overreach, mafia godfathers, or the will of the majority. We take the rule of law for granted, often failing to recognise its demise—until it is too late. For under attack it is, not only in the growing number of authoritarian countries around the world but in Europe, too.

As a citizen’s guide, the book explains in plain language what the rule of law is, why it matters, and why we have to defend it. The starting point is to ask why EU efforts to promote the rule of law in candidate countries have succeeded or failed, and what this tells us about what is happening inside the EU. The book moves on to suggest ways of strengthening the rule of law in Europe and beyond, calling to action in defence of the most precious human invention of all time.

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Adis Merdzanovic is a political scientist specialising on the Western Balkans region and its European Integration perspective, as well as communication sciences and marketing. He is a senior research fellow at Zurich University of Applied Sciences and a former postdoctoral Junior Research Fellow at South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), which is part of the European Studies Centre of St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford. He obtained his PhD in political science from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and was previously a Swiss Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C. His research focuses on political communication and marketing, but also the role of the media in general as well as democratisation of divided post-war societies with a particular emphasis on political and constitutional orders in the Western Balkans.

Kalypso Nicolaïdis is Professor of International Affairs at the School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, and Professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford. Previously, she was Associate Professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She is chair of Southeastern European Studies at Oxford and Council member of the European Council of Foreign Relations. In 2012-2013, she was Emile Noel-Straus Senior Fellow at NYU Law School. In 2008-2010, Professor  Nicolaïdis was a member of the Gonzales reflection group on the future of Europe 2030, set up by the European Council. She also served as advisor on European affairs to George Papandreou in the 90s and early 2000s, the Dutch government in 2004, the UK government, the European Parliament, the European Commission, OECD and UNCTAD. Professor  Nicolaïdis has published widely on international relations, global governance, trade ethics, law and democracy promotion, as well as the internal and external aspects of European integration in numerous journals. Her latest books are ‘Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three Meanings of Brexit’ (Unbound, 2019), 'The Greco-German Affair in the Euro Crisis: Mutual Recognition Lost?', (co-authored with Sternberg and Gartzou-Katsouyanni, Palgrave, 2018) and 'Echoes of Empire: Memory, Identity and Colonial Legacies' (edited with Sebe, I.B. Taurus, 2015).

Othon Anastasakis (SEESOX) is a Senior Research Fellow at St Antony’s College; an Associate at the Department of Politics and International Relations; an Affiliate of the Centre for International Studies; an Affiliate of the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA); and former Director of the European Studies Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford (July 2012-October 2015). He teaches “South East European politics and European integration” for the OSGA and “EU politics” for the Department of Continuing Education, Oxford. He is the Principal Investigator of two research projects: “Greek Diaspora Project at SEESOX”; and the Oxford/Berlin funded “Migration Diplomacy and Turkey-EU relations”. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada; Region Head of Europe in Oxford Analytica. His research interests are Balkan comparative politics, global and regional geopolitics, transition and democratisation in Southern and South Eastern Europe, Greek foreign policy, Greek-Turkish relations, European populism and extreme right, Russia in South East Europe, Greek and South East European diaspora, Turkey and the EU, Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans, EU’s enlargement.

Sarah Nouwen has been a Professor of Public International Law at the EUI since September 2020. She is on leave from  the  University of Cambridge, where she is a Reader in Public International Law and a Fellow of  Pembroke College and was for many years a Co-Deputy Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. She is also an Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law. Nouwen received a 2-in-1 LLB and LLM from Utrecht University, doing part of her degree at the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town. She then obtained an MPhil in International Relations and a PhD in Law at the University of Cambridge, where she subsequently became a Junior Research Fellow. Prior to assuming her lectureship at Cambridge in 2012, she worked in international diplomacy: at the Netherlands mission to the United Nations, at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, at the Netherlands Embassy in Khartoum, and as a Senior Legal Advisor to the African Union High Level Implementation Panel in Sudan. She also served as a consultant for the UK Department of International Development in Darfur.

Márta Pardavi is an experienced civil society leader and human rights advocate and is the co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), a Budapest-based leading human rights non-governmental organisation. The HHC protects human rights and the rule of law through legal and advocacy methods, with a focus on civic space, rule of law, refugee protection, criminal justice. Lately, Márta has focused on protecting civic space, rule of law and refugees, leading the HHC's work to challenge unlawful policies and winning critical safeguards by engaging with the public, and international and European intergovernmental and civil society organisations. Márta holds a law degree from the ELTE University Faculty of Law in Budapest. She has won international recognition for her work, having been awarded the 2018 William D. Zabel Human Rights Award from Human Rights First, Civil Rights Defender’s Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2019 award and was selected to be a member of POLITICO28 Class of 2019.

Alexander Stubb is the Director of the School of Transnational Governance as of 1 May 2020. He has served as Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade and Europe Minister of Finland (2008-2016). He was a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2008 and national parliament (2011-2017). He was the Chairman of the Finnish National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) from 2014 to 2016 and Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) from 2017 to 2020. Stubb worked as an advisor at the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Helsinki and Brussels and in President Romano Prodi's team at the European Commission (1995-2004). He was involved in the negotiation of the Treaties of Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon. Stubb’s background is in academia, civil service and politics. He holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics, a Master’s degree in EU administration from the College of Europe in Bruges, and a B.A. in political science from Furman University in South Carolina. He also studied French language, culture and civilisation at the Sorbonne in Paris. Between 2000 and 2007, he was a visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges. Stubb has written numerous books and academic articles on European affairs and publishes columns for several newspapers, including the Financial Times, on a regular basis.

In cooEUI logoperation with the School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, Florence