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Unification Through Law: The Court of Justice of the European Union as Cultural-Moral Agent

Project description

The role of the European Court of Justice in unifying EU citizens

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) was instrumental in building the European Union. However, the European political environment is challenged by the enlargement procedure, the economic and financial questions as well as the arrival of refugees and migrants. The debate is on about how the EU should move towards integration or unification based on self-government dynamics as well as the role judges could play. The EU-funded UNITE project will build on the concept that ECJ acts as a ‘cultural-moral’ agent, searching for new ways of ECJ contribution in the unification of EU citizens and the growth of self-government.


The Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) has strongly contributed to the European Union (’EU’) as we know it today, through enlarging the competence base of the EU through its case-law. However, the current challenges that the EU polity faces, ranging from consecutive waves of enlargement, financial bail-outs, and waves of immigration, suggests that the EU may not need integration anymore, but unification. It may require an EU citizenry that is united in solidarity and willing to organize itself collectively, through forms of self-government. In the existing EU constitutional scholarship, judges are assumed to be able contribute to a unified citizenry by two major means. One the one side of the debate stand those conceptualization courts as ‘legal-interpretative’ agents that can strengthen forms of self-government if they interpret the law on the basis of distinct hermeneutical theories of legal interpretation representing the will of the citizens. On the other side of debate stand those conceptualization courts as ‘political-constitutional’ agents that can speak with the voice of the citizenry if they fulfill certain institutional conditions that allow citizens to participate in court decision. UNITE aims to explore new means through which the CJEU could, through its case-law, contribute to the unification of the EU citizenry and flourishing forms of EU self-government through conceptualization it as ‘cultural-moral’ agent. More specifically, UNITE is grounded in the assumption that the judicial opinion is a cultural artifact, which can, through the cultural narrative it is grounded on, give expression to and alter how citizens think about themselves and the community they inhabit. The project aims to reveal the shape and form of such cultural narratives through suggesting the use of political philosophy as analytical tool.


Net EU contribution
€ 207 312,00
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 207 312,00