Get To Know Me
I am a Full Professor of EU Law and Labour Law at University College Dublin's (UCD) Sutherland School of Law from November 2023. I direct RIGHTS TO UNITE, a project which develops a new socio-legal theory of European integration, funded by an ERC Advanced Grant. From September 2011 I hold a Jean Monnet ad personam Chair for EU law, having been a professor of European Union Law from 2000 (University Carl von Ossietzky, Oldenburg), coming to this position from a background as comparative labour lawyer and anti-discrimination lawyer (in which capacity I also drafted anti-discrimination legislation in Germany). I migrated to the UK in 2007 as a professor of EU Law (University of Leeds - 2007, Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) -2014). From December 2020 I was Synott Family Chair for EU law at University College Cork (UCC) and the Vice Dean for research at their school of law. I held visiting positions with the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands), London School of Economics (UK), Kiyv Mohyla Academy of Law (Ukraine), University of Canterbury (New Zealand), University Viadrina Frankfurt Oder (Germany) & Melbourne University (Australia)
My main research interest is how EU law relates to Europe's societies and the emerging European society. My current project theorizes the integrative capacity of EU-derived rights, and conducts comparative qualitative research in four EU Member States (Czechia, Greece, Ireland, Sweden) and four neighbouring countries (Georgia, Northern Ireland, North Macedonia , Norway). It builds on earlier research projects led by me. The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (JMCE) "EU Integration and Citizens' Rights" at UCC (2022-2024) considers how integration through rights enhances the EU's legitimacy. QUB's JMCE "Tensions at the Fringes of the European Union – Regaining the Union’s Purpose (2015-2018) investigated tensions between economic, social and ecological integration, between the EU’s trade policy and it's constitutional values, and tensions resulting from the EU’s variegated geometry, including through “Brexit”. From 2014 to 2015, I led a a research study for the European Parliament on EU social and labour rights under internal market law, in cooperation with colleagues from CERIC (Leeds). A socio-legal comparison of Ireland, Poland, Spain and Sweden was the basis of this one-year study. This comparative project drew on the academic discourse initiated by my Leeds Jean Monnet ad personam Chair, with the programme “Economic and Social Integration in the EU and Beyond – Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2011-2014)“. It explored the question whether and how economic integration can trigger integrating societies, focusing on the interaction of EU law with politics and society, and the EU’s contribution to enhancing global justice. The groundwork for this was laid in the “EESCATL” project (European Economic and Social Constitutionalism after the Treaty of Lisbon, 2008-2010), in collaboration with University of Bremen (Prof Ulrike Liebert) and Maastricht University (Prof Hildegard Schneider). It explored the changes of EU governance in substantive constitutionalism based on three case studies: migration policy, competition and services of general interest, and corporate governance. As regards comparative labour law and anti-discrimination law, my research focuses on industrial relations (including potential tensions with competition law) and on intersectional inequalities. In the former field, I have been consulted as expert for an OECD seminar on collective bargaining rights for own account workers. I have also convened two European Conferences on Multidimensional Equality Law” (Oldenburg 2007, Leeds 2009).
I also am interested in impacting political and social developments through my work. For example, from June to November 2019, I provided expertise on Georgia’s compliance with the EU Association Agreement in the field of employment law through a contract with the GIZ. From 8/2010 to 11/2011 and from 9/2012 to 6/2013 I served as International Scholar under the Higher Education Support Program by the Open Society Institute Budapest, working with Kyiv Mohyla Academy Law School. Earlier I drafted anti-discrimination laws for public employment in Germany (Berlin 1990-1992, Hessen 1992-1993). I also represented a model claim at the German Constitutional Court on obligations to refer cases to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) relating to workers rights (2007-2014), and served as expert for the EU Commission's network on equal treatment for women and men (2000-2009). Another example exists in devoting part of may career to developing an innovative degree programme in EU and comparative law, the Hanse Law School (Universities of Oldenburg, Bremen und Groningen), for which I led the initial accreditation process from 2000 - 2002, and the programme for Oldenburg up to 2007.