Universiteit Antwerpen
CENTRE FOR LAW AND COSMOPOLITAN VALUES
    ..back
2014-15


September 25, 2014 | Workshop: 'The Post-political Constellation and European Identity'

The CLCV is pleased to announce a workshop co-organized by the Centre for Law and Cosmopolitan Values (Faculty of Law, UA) the Government & Law Research Group (Faculty of Law, UA) and the Centre for Law and Public Affairs (CeLAPA, Institute of State and Law, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) on 'The Post-political Constellation and European Identity'.

Program

Description
What is European identity: a political philosophy or a governmental practice? How can we best understand the concept, and what set of theoretical analyses best sheds light on its contemporary operations? European identity is often conceptualized on universal principles and framed in apparent tension with particularistic nature of national identities based on territory, ethnic and cultural heritage or the nation state. As such, could it act as a form of collective affiliation for different identities and political communities in and across Europe? What about human rights? Could they perhaps form the backbone of a common (European) identity? Would a global commitment to international human rights norms provide enough of a sense of community to sustain a legitimate and sufficiently democratic order?
Our workshop addresses the complex role of and mutual relation between the concepts of democracy, (constitutional) identity, and political and human rights culture. It seeks to explore the potential locations of national constitutional values, their relationship with the text of the European Convention on Human Rights, its function with regard to the judicial reasoning of Member States on issues beyond the confines of national legal systems. In other words it will look into the role of human rights in designing the European project.

Programme & Venue
Thursday, September 25th
Room M.103, M Building (De Meerminne Building), Sint-Jacobstraat 2, 2000 Antwerpen.

10:00 – 10:30
Keynote: 'Preliminaries to a Theory of Transnational Legal Responsibility'
George Pavlakos (University of Antwerp)

11:00 – 11:30
'How to "conjure away" State action requirement in human rights claims against non state actors'
Pavel Hamerník (Institute of State and Law, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

Abstract: Does it make sense to allow breach of human rights by non state actors only because they are not the state? Of course not in modern society but how to enforce the human rights against non state actors? Why should be human rights protected only against the state? Many constitutions are silent about the horizontality of human rights. This contribution indicates on what basis to achieve protection of human rights horizontally and continues discovering this area by other examples since the last appearance on the topic within this project. The Politics of Human Rights: Reaching a Common Understanding

11:30 – 12:00
'Recasting the WTO Legitimacy Debate: The Competition Between Democratic Legitimacy and Expert Legitimacy'
Irem Kırac (University of Antwerp)

Abstract: In my presentation, I point out how the WTO is a kind of playfield for the competition between the democratic legitimacy and the expert legitimacy and I argue that the possible optimum solution to increase the legitimacy of WTO is not the competition but the collaboration between these two understandings of legitimacy. The process of globalization adds a new dimension to the legitimacy debate of international organizations notwithstanding the legitimacy and its resources are independently quite complex to discuss under any context. In my work, first of all I give an overview about the legitimacy debate in the case of WTO then discuss on the collaboration between the different resources of legitimacy within the bounds of possibility for optimum solution.

12:00 – 12:30
'Secularism and European Identity in the Background of Caselaw on Religious Symbols'
Michal Sejvl (University of West Bohemia)

Abstract: On the background of caselaw of ECtHR on religious symbols (esp. cases like Lautsi, Eweida and S.A.S v. France) the author argues that it is possible that European identity based on cosmopolitan values like human rights is overshadowed by the different identity based on more traditional values peculiar to different states, including secularism. It connects this hypothesis with the current public debate in the Czech Republic concerning women's headscarves.

12: 30 – 13:00
'The Politics of Human Rights: Reaching a Common Understanding'
Petr Agha (University of Antwerp and Institute of State and Law, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)

Abstract: Any inquiry into the origin, nature, and content of human rights reveals tremendous conceptual hurdles that need to be overcome before one can accept their pre-eminent authority. Unfortunately, human rights are far more complicated phenomena than that. The term human rights is thus used frequently and understood rarely. This paper elaborates on the need for shared values among those who share Europe. The European crisis has increased the call for such values, and also shows that people contest these values. What sort of shared European identity is required for the Union to represent part of a sustainable, just European political and legal order? Which substantive values and beliefs should be shared?