Chair 2018 – 2019

In 2018-2019 the holder of the Ganshof van der Meersch Chair was Professor Kenneth Armstrong (Professor of European Law at the University of Cambridge), on the recommendation of Ramona Coman, Director of the Institut d’Études européennes.

The opening lecture, entitled “Governed by Europe or Governing through Europe. Lessons from Brexit”, was delivered on February 26, 2019.

Abstract of the lecture

Every democratic and constitutional order experiences the same dilemma, namely how to govern through a set of political and legal structures while at the same time being governed by those structures. The way in which we conventionally resolve this dilemma is by emphasising that these structures and the discipline that they exert are a means of self-government and self-realisation.

Extrapolating this idea to the European Union is more difficult. Many of the EU’s recent crises seem to emphasise the disciplining aspects of membership – fiscal discipline after the financial and economic crisis; the discipline of burden-sharing and solidarity after the refugee crisis – rather than the self-realising aspects of what it means for European states to govern collectively through EU institutions.

The aim of this lecture is to analyse the discipline of membership against the backdrop of the challenges facing the European Union, including the challenge of Brexit. It addresses concerns that the EU has lost its ‘mission legitimacy’ and considers how the EU might seek to address that problem in ways that make the discipline of membership a means of self-government and self-realisation.