Core, Peripheral, and Supranational Correlates of the Rule of Law: Emerging Synergies and Tensions

Event: International Conference

Location: West University of Timișoara

29 September 2023, 9.00-17.30, Mansarda Gallery, Faculty of Arts and Design, West University of Timișoara (4 Oituz St.)
30 September 2023, 11.30-18.00, A01 Amphitheatre, Faculty of Law, West University of Timișoara (4 Vasile Parvan Blvd.)

Conveners: Bogdan IANCU and Raluca BERCEA

Participants: Petr AGHA, Marius BĂLAN, BENKE Károly, Lucian BERCEA, Raluca BERCEA, Lucian BOJIN, Cosmin CERCEL, Adam CZARNOTA, Rezarta DEMNERI, Bogdan DIMA, Sorina DOROGA, Horatius DUMBRAVĂ, Sarah GANTY, Bianca GUȚAN, Nedim HOGIC, Bogdan IANCU, Dimitry KOCHENOV, Martin KRYGIER, Peter L. LINDSETH, Martin LOUGHLIN, Mariana MOTA PRADO, Martin MENDELSKI, Zoran OKLOPCIC, Teodor PAPUC, Vlad PERJU, Maryna RABINOVYCH, András SAJÓ, Oana ȘTEFAN, Andreea VERTEȘ-OLTEANU


Centrality and peripherality are not fixed categories. In the context of globalization, directions may even be partly reversed. Nevertheless, in Europe, periphery/center dichotomies and ensuing dialectics are formally constitutive of the Enlargements and arguably still relevant in many ways.
Post-Copenhagen Criteria Enlargement was predicated upon a neat and realistic dividing line separating the EU-15 of 1995 (predominantly Western, stable liberal democracies) from peripheral candidates (poorer, post-communist, unstable). The instruments assumed that EU Enlargement or post-accession conditionalities were/are civilizational, as they should spread “democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights”. In time, the “rule of law” became the dominant narrative of action and reaction towards the periphery. If the status of new member states and candidate countries as peripheral was entrenched as a predicate of the Enlargement, the hypothetical/presumptive Centre was normatively designed at the intersection of supra/international level RoL standard-setting. Specific standards partly originated in Western models but were then not representative of common EU-15 practice.
The conference interrogates the challenges raised by this configuration primarily in European, but also global (Brazil) contexts. Is, for example, anticorruption, when promoted as the rule of law, conducive to peripheral rule of law, as traditionally understood in central jurisdictions? Does an insistence on particular institutional frameworks, adapted to perceived reform needs at the periphery (e.g., enhanced prosecutorial autonomy or judicial councils) result in systems that function according to (ideal-typical/idealized) representations concerning a functional Western liberal-constitutional justice system? Can reforms created for peripheral stabilization purposes produce ratchet and boomerang effects? How much can be left to contextual determinations and how much should be formalized and generalized?


Photo: Garden of Forking Paths. Fantasy map of a flat earth by Antar Dayal. willigulla tumblr

Photo: Garden of Forking Paths. Fantasy map of a flat earth by Antar Dayal. willigulla tumblr



Friday, 29 September 2023 


Welcome by Dean Lucian BERCEA (West University of Timișoara/UVT)

Opening remarks by the Conveners, Raluca BERCEA (Professor of Law, West University/Senior Researcher, NEC ROLPERIPHERAL), Bogdan IANCU (Associate Professor, University of Bucharest/PI, NEC ROLPERIPHERAL)

Panel I (9.30-11.00)

Chair: Adam CZARNOTA

Martin KRYGIER (Professor, University of New South Wales, Sydney/Senior Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest)
Well-tempered Power: ‘A Cultural Achievement of Universal Significance’

András SAJÓ (University Professor, Central European University PU Wien/Senior Research Fellow, CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest)
Handling Not-so-Bad (NSB) Law: Militant Rule of Law vs Legalism

Martin LOUGHLIN (Professor of Public Law, LSE Law School)
The Rule of Law: A Slogan in Search of a Concept

Coffee Break 11.00-11.30

Panel II 11.30-13.00

Chair: Martin LOUGHLIN

Andreea VERTEȘ-OLTEANU (Associate Professor, West University of Timișoara)
Exploring the Tensions Between Center and Periphery: A Comparative (Constitutional) Law Perspective on the Rule of Law

Zoran OKLOPCIC (Associate Professor of Law, Carleton University)
Presumed facts, apparent fictions-The rule of law and the construal of democratic backsliding on the EU (semi)periphery

Dr. Petr AGHA (Faculty of Politology and Sociology, Charles University, Prague/CEU Democracy Institute)
Exploring Imaginaries in Central and Eastern Europe: Post-Sovereign Europe, Constitutional Identity, and the Politics of Emergency

Cosmin CERCEL (Research Professor, University of Ghent)
The Legacy of the Interwar: Crisis, Peripherality and Sovereignty

Lunch Break 13.00-14.00

Panel III 14.00-15.30

Chair: András SAJÓ

Rezarta DEMNERI (Associate Professor of Criminal Law, University of Tirana)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Institutional Capacity-Building in Albania: A Case Study Following the 2016 Justice Reform

Dr. BENKE Károly (First Assistant Magistrate, Constitutional Court of Romania)
The development of the rule of law principle by the Constitutional Court of Romania: A Pragmatic Approach

Dr. Nedim HOGIC (Law Institute in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Courts as Security Actors

Dr. Teodor PAPUC (General Secretary, Constitutional Court of Moldova)
Slight Inconsistencies in Peripheral Rule of Law Promotion: Judicial Vetting in Moldova

Coffee Break 15.30-16.00

Panel IV  16.00-17.45

Chair: Vlad PERJU

Dimitry KOCHENOV (Professor of Law, CEU Wien/Lead Researcher (RoL), CEU Democracy Institute)
The Janus Conditionality in EU Rule of Law: Enlargement and Backsliding versus ECHR Accession

Bianca GUȚAN (Professor, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu/Senior Researcher, ROLPERIPHERAL)
Judicial Independence and the Rights of Judges as Rule of Law Standards in Europe

Dr. Martin MENDELSKI (Postdoctoral Researcher, NEC)
The EU’s Conditionality Regulation: Problems and Pitfalls for Objectivity, Impartiality and Fairness

Raluca BERCEA (Professor, West University of Timișoara/ Senior Researcher, ROLPERIPHERAL)
Anti-Populism and Judicial Empowerment in Strasbourg and Luxembourg: Synergy or Tension? (paper with Bogdan IANCU)

Horatius DUMBRAVĂ (Judge, Court of Appeals of Târgu Mureș)
National Identity and Constitutional Identity in Romania: Intersections with the Evolving EU Conception of the Rule of Law

Conference dinner at 19.30 (details TBA)


Saturday, 30 September 2023

Before the first Saturday session, Romanian-speaking participants are cordially invited to attend the launch of the book (event in Romanian): După 30 de ani: justiția constituțională în România (30 Years After: Constitutional Justice in Romania), Bogdan DIMA (coord.), Vlad PERJU (coord.). Humanitas, September 2023. All Romanian members of the ROLPERIPHERAL team have contributed book sections. (Auditorium A01, 10.00-11.00)

Panel V 11.30-13.00

Chair: Martin KRYGIER

Adam CZARNOTA (Professor/Rector, Riga Graduate School of Law/Emeritus Associate UNSW Sidney)
Epistemic Closure and/as the Rule of Law: Legal Authority in Poland, 1986-2020

Vlad PERJU (Professor, Boston College Law School)
“Form of government” as Constitutional Concept

Peter L. LINDSETH (Olimpiad S. Ioffe Professor of International and Comparative Law, University of Connecticut School of Law)
Rule-of-Law Conditionality as a “Compliance” Challenge: Sovereignty and Asymmetric-Information Risk Across the National-Supranational Divide

Lunch Break 13.00-14.00

Panel VI 14.00-15.30

Chair: Peter L. LINDSETH

Oana ȘTEFAN (Reader in Law/Associate Professor, Dikson Poon School of Law, King’s College)
Soft Law, Values, Anti-Law: Adapting the ‘Periphery’ to ‘Central’ Rule of Law Demands

Dr. Sarah GANTY (Senior Researcher, University of Ghent/JSD Candidate, Yale Law School)
Centre and Periphery Anti-Rule of Law Dynamics: The Example of Periphery EU Borders 

Bogdan DIMA (Associate Professor, University of Bucharest)
The Centrality of the Unitary Legal Order. RoL Mechanism as Instrument for the Promotion of a Unitary European Legal Order

Lucian BOJIN (Associate Professor, West University of Timișoara)
Rule of Law and Legal Culture in post-1989 Romania

15.30-16.00 Coffee Break

Panel VII 16.00-17.45 (hybrid format panel)

Chair: Dimitry KOCHENOV

(by videoconference 16.00 EET)
Dr. Maryna RABINOVYCH (Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Agder, Norway (UiA))
EU Enlargement Policy Goes East: Historical and Comparative Takes on the EU’s Rule of Law Conditionality vis-à-vis Ukraine

Marius BĂLAN (Associate Professor of Law, Al. I Cuza University of Iași /Senior Researcher, ROLPERIPHERAL)
Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Paradoxes

Bogdan IANCU (Associate Professor, University of Bucharest/PI, NEC ROLPERIPHERAL)
Quick Fix Solutions-Anticorruption as Core/Peripheral Modality of the ‘Rule of Law’

Sorina DOROGA (Senior Lecturer, West University of Timișoara)
Post-accession Rule of Law Conditionalities and Their (Dis)integrative Potential

(by videoconference, at 17.00 EET)
Mariana MOTA PRADO (William C. Graham Chair in International Law and Development, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law)
Corruption and Separation of Powers: Where do Prosecutors Fit? (paper with Fabio KERCHE (Professor, UniRio, Brazil) and Marjorie MARONA (Professor Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG))

17.45-18.00 Closing Remarks (Raluca BERCEA, Bogdan IANCU)

Closing Dinner (TBA)

Organized in collaboration with West University of Timișoara, this event is part of the research project titled Rule of Law at the European Periphery: (Dis)incentive Structures and Conceptual Shifts (ROLPERIPHERAL), supported by UEFISCDI – Exploratory Research (PN-III-P4-PCE-2021-0319) and New Europe College, Bucharest.