Research team

Expertise

Legal consult, research projects and research and educational assistance on EU law and private international law.

Effective horizontal enforcement of the vertically imposed rule of law requirements in the European Union through the Member States' judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2027

Abstract

This project essentially concerns the tension between effective protection of the rule of law, one of the EU's fundamental values, and the proper functioning of an "area of freedom, security and justice", one of the EU's fundamental objectives. Since 2018, the EU Court of Justice has developed a series of innovative and far-reaching judgments to ensure rule of law compliance by all EU Member States. While this case law has been the subject of extensive academic analysis, much less, if any, attention has been given to its effectiveness in the day-to-day judicial protection by Member State courts. This is nevertheless particularly important for judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, a core ingredient of the EU's area of freedom, security and justice. Effective judicial cooperation cannot function without effective rule of law guarantees… but not without effective mutual trust either. But how and to what extent can mutual trust, and hence judicial cooperation, be maintained when respect for the rule of law is under threat? This project aims to investigate whether and how Member State courts can effectively contribute to the horizontal enforcement of the rule of law standards that are vertically imposed by the CJEU, when they operate within the framework of EU judicial cooperation.

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  • Research Project

Sustainability and Trust in EU Multilevel Governance (STRATEGO). 01/11/2023 - 31/10/2026

Abstract

Given the current tenuous state of trust between institutions and actors at different levels in the EU governance system, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence STRATEGO aims to teach, research and disseminate knowledge on the dynamics, causes and effects of trust between the actors and institutions involved in EU multi-level governance of sustainable development, with a focus on business and entrepreneurship, climate and biodiversity, and health policies. This empirical scope of STRATEGO connects with the UN's sustainable development goals, the policy priorities of the European Commission and the priorities of the Erasmus+ programme. STRATEGO will develop interdisciplinary synergies on EU governance, trust and sustainable development by bridging teaching, research and outreach efforts across disciplines at the University of Antwerp. Throughout all activities, STRATEGO will go beyond the usual producers and consumers of EU studies. It will bring EU governance knowledge of the Social Sciences, Law and Economics faculties to students and staff of the Science and Health Sciences faculties, and it will reach out beyond the academic environment to foster a dialogue with professionals, civilsociety and the general public. In terms of teaching, STRATEGO will ensure interdisciplinarity through guest lectures, joint supervision of bachelor and master theses and innovative formats such as simulations and micro-credentials. In terms of research, STRATEGO will bring together staff from various disciplines through research seminars, PhD masterclasses and a visiting scheme for early career scholars. In terms of outreach beyond the academic context, STRATEGO will organise activities such as thematic webinars, outreach workshops and activities for specific audiences such as secondary schools.

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  • Education Project
  • Research Project

The effectiveness of directives in horizontal situations: a reassessment in the post exclusion/substitution-dichotomy era. 01/11/2023 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

Union directives cannot be invoked by a private individual against another private individual before a national court, thus stated the Court of Justice of the EU ('the Court') in Marshall (Case 152/84). About fourty years later, the confusion brought about by subsequent case law of the Court has made the determination of the contours of the effectiveness of directives in horizontal situations, as well as the consequences and underlying rationale thereof, "a task fit only for masochists" (Dougan 2007). The obscurity surrounding the effectiveness of directives in horizontal situations carries great practical consequences. Whether one can invoke a directive in a horizontal situation (i.e. against another private individual) directly determines the remedies one can rely on to mitigate violations of Union law before the national courts. The proposed research will employ i.a. novel, groundbreaking, case law by the Court in order to unravel precisely when directives can be effective in horizontal situations. Furthermore, it will develop original evaluation criteria to assess whether or not the conditions imposed by the Court on that effectiveness can be considered due limitations. Should the conditions on the effectiveness of directives in horizontal situations as derived from the Court's case law not meet the developed criteria, the proposed research will inquire how the undue restrictions can be mitigated.

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  • Research Project

Private International Law and International Corporate Mobility: Directive (EU) 2019/2121 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 amending Directive (EU) 2017/1132 as regards cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions 01/10/2023 - 31/03/2024

Abstract

The intra-EU transfer of a company's seat is impacted by the freedom of establishment. In that domain, Art.49 TFEU equates companies with natural persons, who enjoy cross-border mobility rights. Still, this equivalence risked remaining a mere declaration of intent since the meaning of freedom of establishment was unclear. Besides, cautious national lawmakers took recourse to the real seat theory and/or to substantive corporate law rules able to discourage cross-border seat transfer. As a result, it was often impossible for companies to move their seat abroad with continuity of the legal person and without too many practical problems. Directive 2019/2121, aimed at overcoming these issues, is the last outcome of the interaction in this field between the EU legislature, which is cautious as regards private international law (PIL), and a dynamic but not always consistent EU Court of Justice. Eureka? Is this the end of the 30-year cross-border corporate mobility debate? Despite enthusiastic comments, the Directive requires a critical evaluation from an EU and PIL perspective. In fact, the Directive will manifest its effect in a context where, even if many instruments at EU level have been adopted, the corporate laws of the Member States are not fully harmonized and where these still are competent to determine the lex societatis and the recognition of the legal personality of companies. The Directive doesn't explicitly provide uniform PIL criteria but rather introduces harmonized procedures regarding some of the operations through which a company can transfer the seat abroad and introduces harmonized substantial provisions for the protection of third parties. Hence, on one side it is not granted that the Directive's solutions will deter States from adopting protectionist norms inhibiting transfers nor, on the other side, that the procedures of the Directive will not cause further problems. The main research questions of the project are whether and how the Directive will guarantee the transfer of the legal or administrative seat abroad without excessive obstacles in practice and if and how, in doing so, it affects PIL rules currently in force and which role remains for the latter after the adoption of the Directive. To do so, the project will respond to the following questions: 1) What provisions of EU Treaties are relevant regarding corporate mobility and why? 2) What interests and policy concerns of the Member States have impeded corporate mobility? 3) With what kind of norms and in which fields of law States have adopted legislation on corporate mobility? 4) What role has the CJEU assumed in this field? What are the outcomes of its case-law? 5) What role has the EU legislature assumed? What are the outcomes of its interventions? 6) What are the novelties and the gaps of the Directive in light of the freedom of establishment as interpreted by the CJEU? 7) What is the impact of the Directive on domestic PIL provisions on the lex societatis? 8) What is the relation of the Directive with other PIL instruments that use the seat as criterion for the applicable law or jurisdiction? 9) In light of the answer to the previous questions, does the Directive guarantee corporate mobility and a proper exercise of the freedom of establishment while balancing it correctly with the other interests at stake? 10) If not, what are the options to resolve this issue? 11) Is this, in light of the options available and the effects of the Directive, still the case and is it practically possible and desirable to introduce a EU criterion concerning the lex societatis? How, of what content and to what extent?

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  • Research Project

Private International Law in Motion 2.0 (PAX 2.0). 01/11/2022 - 31/10/2024

Abstract

PAX 2.0 combines a number of educational and training activities to ensure a better understanding ans application of the main legal instruments in the area of civil justice. The project therefore intends to combine the components of the earlier JUDGTRUST and PAX projects that have proven their worth -i.e. the moot court and partnership with the judiciary- with two new elements: a particular focus put on the further extension of the moot court to student teams from third countries and the development of a guide on the organization of moot courts on EU private international law that would make the expertise gained in our earlier projects available to the Commission through a practical manual. Ideally, this manual would be made freely accessible online. A further important element of PAX 2.0, which is also in line with JUDGTRUST and PAX, is that the moot courts and judicial training will focus on topical issues of EU private international law, which should ensure improved knowledge of those legislative instruments that are new and/or raise new legal questions. In short, this proposal seeks to ensure that the proposed consortium further develops and expands students', academics' and trainee judges' knowledge on major recent developments of EU private international law, through moot courts and judicial trainings respectively. It is therefore meant to improve the effective and coherent application of the legislative instruments of judicial cooperation in civil matters. Moreover, it envisages the consolidation of the moot courts as an attractive educational tool in that respect, both for EU and non-EU law students interested in EU private international law.

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  • Research Project

Continuity of civil status for mobile citizens in a diverse European Union: how to ensure through EU law a right balance between freedom of movement, fundamental rights and respect for the competences and national identities of the Member States? 01/10/2022 - 30/09/2026

Abstract

Within the EU, civil status still is a Member State competence and the pertinent national legislation is marked by divergences rooted in national traditions and values, sometimes even with a constitutional character. This may disturb the continuity of the civil status of mobile Union citizens, who move between the Member States and, as a result of the applicable choice-of-law rules, may become subject to different substantive rules in the respective home and host States. Discontinuity of status threatens the Union's objective of intra-Union freedom of movement for all Union citizens and the protection of their fundamental rights. Yet, the EU is also obliged to respect the Member States' competences and national identities. The research project aims to examine whether and, if so, how continuity of civil status can be ensured through EU law for mobile Union citizens without encroaching upon the competences of the Member States and with due respect for their national identities as well as the Union citizens' fundamental rights. The research project is scientifcally innovative and responds to an important societal concern as well.

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  • Research Project

A choice of law rule for the proprietary aspects of B2B transactions as a step further in the EU harmonisation process. 01/11/2021 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

Yearly, billions of tangible movable goods (e.g. cargo) are sold and transported between businesses in the EU. According to the national legislation of each EU Member State (MS), the proprietary ects (e.g. transfer of ownership) of these business-to-business (B2B) transactions are determined by the law of the country of the goods' current location. Hence, the applicable law changes each time these goods are moved from one MS to another. Since each MS autonomously regulates how transfer of ownership takes place, it is possible that the buyer can be regarded as the rightful owner of certain goods under the law of MS A, but not under the law of MS B. In addition, goods are often sold under a 'retention of title clause' (ROTC), meaning that the seller remains owner of the goods until the buyer has honoured his obligations (usually paying the purchase price after the right to withhold payment has expired). Since here, again, each EU MS regulates for itself which variants of a ROTC it recognises, it often occurs that a MS refuses to give effect to a foreign ROTC. For decades, legal experts and studies have suggested that the above-mentioned legal framework has had a severe negative effect on the well-functioning of the EU's internal market. To tackle this, I will study the possibility to adopt a uniform rule at EU level, for the purpose of improving cross-border trade, trust and legal certainty between businesses within the EU.

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  • Research Project

Private International Law in Motion (PAX). 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2022

Abstract

This project creates the institutional framework among seven research institutions to further consolidate the international Moot Court Competition on EU private international law and to further strenghthen judicial training in this area of the law. The project hopes to achieve the following objectives: - Consolidation, further improvement and expansion of a pan-European and international Moot Court Competition on EU private international law; - Increased awareness of EU private international law among students, legal professionals and academics; - Increased knowledge of students and junior legal professionals (judges trainees in particular) in EU private international law; - Opportunities for students and junior legal professionals (judges trainees in particular) to gain practical experience with the application of EU private international law; - Increased knowledge of EU private international law; - More efficiency and consistency in the interpretation and application of EU private international law, both within the EU and beyond; - Coordinated teaching, mutual learning, colloboration and enlarged networks for those concerned with the correct and consistent application of EU private international law instruments.

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  • Research Project

Cross-border mobility and the permanence of personal status in the European Union. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

One of the principal effects of the European integration is the right to freely move across state borders, in a degree that is unprecedented in modern history. This right is vested into every European Union (EU) citizen by Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, free movement is more than a right to cross the borders and live abroad. Life abroad means a life under a foreign legal system. One of the most glaring problems of living abroad relates to the permanence of the position of a natural person in the legal order, in other words, his/her personal status. Each Member State preserves its own private law. For this reason, some Member States have the institute of partnership, others know only marriage; some may recognize a third-gender, most do not. In this panoply of legal regimes, a person, having acquired a certain personal status in one Member State may find that the status is recognized in a few Member States, but not in others. Such a state-of-affairs demotivates people to use the rights of free movement and prevents closer integration of EU citizens. Hence, the study of what is and can be the role of EU law in ensuring the permanence of personal status of EU citizens, so that EU citizens who decide to live abroad preserve their personal status, which is important for scientific and societal reasons, constitutes the main subject of the Project.

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  • Research Project

Regulation BIa: a standard for free circulation of judgments and mutual trust in the European Union (JUDGTRUST). 01/11/2018 - 31/07/2022

Abstract

The Project analyses the application of the Brussels I Recast Regulation and is set to provide recommendations on how to achieve a greater consistency in the international civil procedure instruments of the EU to enhance legal certainty, predictability and access to justice in cross border legal transactions. Global legislative developments will also be considered.

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  • Research Project

Informed Choices in Cross-Border Enforcement (IC2BE). 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

Objectives: the efficient recovery of debts in cross-border cases is universally recognized as being of vital importance. The EU has passed Regulations on the European Enforcement Order (EEO; 805/2004), the European Payment Order (EPO; 1896/2006), the Small Claims Procedure (ESCP; 861/2007), and the European Account Preservation Order (EAPO; 655/2014), all of which are optional for claimants. The project aims at analysing how practitioners actually choose between those instruments, at disseminating knowledge about their application, and at raising awareness among practitioners.

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  • Research Project

Private international law in a context of European constitutionalisation and multilevel governance. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

The project aims at fundamental research of private international law within the European Union from the perspectives of European constitutionalisation and multilevel governance, with a focus on the impact of EU law on national conflict of laws and attention given to the comparison with the development of interstate conflict of laws within the constitutional framework of the USA.

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  • Research Project

Antwerp Consortium on the Organization of Rulemaking and Multilevel Governance in Europe (ACTORE). 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2019

Abstract

The core research revolves around the theme of multilevel governance in the EU. The consortium examines how EU multilevel governance impacts upon public policymaking processes in relation to rule-making and rule-implementation, both at the European and the domestic level. Its research program is centered around three interrelated research lines focusing on the complex multilevel governance system of the EU, changing domestic and EU rule-making processes and the legitimacy of the EU multilevel political system. Multilevel governance in the EU has made the organizational and institutional architecture of government and governance institutions much more interdependent and complex, affecting the way national and European societal interests organize themselves, how they secure representation and provide input in order to influence policy outcomes. These developments interact with changing domestic and European processes and outcomes of rule-making. All this ultimately raises questions concerning the legitimacy of how the EU multilevel political system operates and involves citizens and societal groups.

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  • Education Project
  • Research Project

The specific character, principles and objectives of European conflict of laws. 01/01/2014 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

This project relates to the specific character, principles and objectives of conflict of laws within the European Union. Conflict of laws is the legal discipline which determines what national law is applicable to international acts and facts. It constitutes, besides jurisdiction and recognition and enforcement, one of the three constituent elements of so-called private international law. Due to its transnational subject-matter, it might be expected that conflict of laws holds an important position within European Union law, as the latter discipline (and internal market law in particular) also relates to cross-border situations. While the recognition of the pertinence for the European Union of conflict of laws has been slow, the European Treaties now fully recognize the EU's competence in this field. This provokes new questions, in particular relating to the proper character of EU conflict of laws in the perspective of the European Union's objectives and the status of EU law. Does the integration within the EU fundamentally transform conflict of laws? The study of the essential character, principles and objectives of such "truly European" conflict of laws, which is important for scientific and societal reasons, constitutes the main subject of the research project.

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  • Research Project

The European Arrest Warrant in Practice: Balancing at the Boundaries of Freedom, Security and Justice. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

The project concerns the EU's main legal instrument on the surrender of persons in the European Union, namely the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant (FD EAW). The central question that this project will examine is to what extent the introduction and application of this instrument in the EU legal order and in the national legal orders contributes to the creation of an area of freedom, security and justice and, in particular, whether in these legal orders the three elements -freedom, security and justice- are in balance with each other. With this central question in mind, the project will start by defining the constituents of the 'area of freedom, security and justice' and will, consequently, in the following two parts examine to what extent the EU institutions on the one hand and the national judicial authorities on the other hand contribute, or not, to the creation of a true area of freedom, security and justice.

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  • Research Project

Characterization of jurisdiction agreements in European and international law. 01/10/2012 - 31/03/2013

Abstract

Great uncertainty exists on the law applicable to international jurisdiction agreements. Their hybrid nature results in both contractual and procedural characterizations. Divergent approaches, different from State to State or even from court to court, threaten legal security. The project attempts to develop a new approach which would promote legal certainty in transnational situations.

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  • Research Project

The qualification of the forum clause in international and European law. 01/01/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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  • Research Project

BIORES - Meeting a biodiversity researcher. 01/06/2010 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

Considering that 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, the Researchers' night will focus on the mutual understanding of researchers and citizens around this specific theme. The citizens will be able to express their feelings, skepticism, doubts, fears or enthusiasm on the importance of biodiversity. Researchers will show that behind recommended behavior, behind simple deeds, there is research. And a researcher. The idea is to show that biodiversity researchers are part of the society. Subsequently the citizens will be asked to become biodiversity research actors.

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  • Research Project

Mutual Recognition in European Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters: Is there Room for a Cross-Pillar Approach? 01/10/2008 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

This is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel.

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  • Research Project

The division of powers in the Belgian federal system: from an "exclusive" to a "cooperative" exercise of powers. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The research project will be made up of four parts: 1. First, we will investigate which fundamental principles in fact underlie the current devision of powers in the Belgian federal system. To this end, the judgments of the Court of Arbitration and the advices of the Council of State, Legislation section, will be systematically analysed. Central to this investigation is above all the question of the degree to which the exclusivity principle should or should not be reassessed. 2. In the second part, we will research the extent to which the development under way in Belgium can be explained in terms of the concepts of a "cooperative federal state" and of "multilevel governance". In this part a limited and strictly functional comparison will be made with regard to the phenomena of non-exclusive exercise of powers in other federal states. As well, insights will be presented from the legislative theory of "mulitlevel governance" in a federal context. 3. The third part will examine - by means of the (scarce) European jurisprudence and the practice of the transposition of European directives into national law - whether European law can also shed light on this development. 4. Finally, research will be conducted into whether it is necessary and/or desirable further to refine the rules, in the Constitution and in the special Institutional Reform Act of 8 August 1980, governing the division of powers, including those regarding cooperative federalism, with a view to ensuring a consistent exercise of these powers.

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  • Research Project

Policy Study Centre Education and Law. 01/10/2007 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Flemish Public Service. UA provides the Flemish Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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    • Research Project

    Good Governance in the European Union. Development of a "good governance" model as a contribution for the political and juridical legitimacy of a multi-level political system. 01/10/2007 - 30/09/2011

    Abstract

    The "White Paper on European Governance" is presented as an answer to the legitimacy crisis of the EU. Both legal and political science scholars consider "good governance" as a remedy for the legitimacy problems of the EU, but at the same time criticize the current EU-concept. This project develops an interdisciplinary theoretical model of European "good governance" and tests the existing European model against the theoretical ideal type.

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    • Research Project

    The Constitution of Globalisation. 01/07/2007 - 30/06/2012

    Abstract

    The proposed research undertakes an investigation of the impact of globalization on the concept of law from the point of view of General Legal Theory and the Philosophy of Law. In addition, extensive use is made of contemporary debates in the Philosophy of Action, Social and Political Theory and Sociology. Given its interdisciplinary scope, the project focuses on structural as well as substantive aspects of legal orders with an eye to offering an explanatory framework of legal phenomena that lives up to the challenges of the globalised era. Such a framework, it is argued, needs to combine a dynamic understanding of how legal norms and categories evolve in the light of the social, economic and political changes globalization effects, with an account of the specifically normative structure of law as a source of authority, which is legitimate from the point of view of those agents who engage in globalised contexts. The two aspects, it is suggested, may be combined through an analysis of the dual character of Law as a system of co-ordination of action: on one hand, the factual aspect that pertains to legal institutional arrangements; on the other, the ideal aspect that refers to the claim law raises to be a legitimate source of normative authority.

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    • Research Project

    The democratic legitimacy of the European Court of Justice's role in the European legal system. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2010

    Abstract

    The Treaty concerning the European Union qualifies the European Union, in its article 6, as being democratic. It is the task of the European Court of Justice to guarantee that, through its interpretation of the European Treaties, Union legislation is being respected (art. 220 Treaty). The Court has always done this in a rather expansive and activist manner. The question therefore is if and how this expansive interpretative activity can be reconciled with the idea that the European legal order is based on the idea of democracy.

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    • Research Project

    Mutual Recognition in European Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters: Is there Room for a Cross-Pillar Approach? 01/10/2006 - 13/01/2009

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    • Research Project

    Which international family law is necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market. 29/10/2004 - 31/07/2006

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    • Research Project

    Transposition of and legal protection under the European migration law. 01/01/2004 - 31/12/2008

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    • Research Project

    Flanders and other sub-national entities in the future European Constitution. 01/01/2004 - 31/12/2007

    Abstract

    The present research seeks to clarify how sub-national entities and especially Flanders participate in the European policy- and decision-making process and more specifically how participation can be optimalized in the near future. It focuses on one of the most important challenges, which the European Union faces on the eve of the accession of Central- and Eastern-European states, namely to bring the European institutions closer to its citizens. The project particularly focuses on how sub-national responsibilities at EU-level may bridge the gap between EU institutions and EU-citizens.

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    • Research Project

    Law of the European Union with special emphasis on European private international law. (Jean Monnet Chair 'ad personam'). 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2005

    Abstract

    Project of education and research relating to EU-law, with special emphasis on the development of the still young subdiscipline of EC private international law. The project thus confronts two legal disciplines: private international law (which regulates cross-border activities from a private law perspective) and Community free movement law (which, in a specific treaty framework, regulates cross-border economic movement in function of the objectives laid down in in the EC Treaty).

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    • Research Project

    EPHEBOS : European Provincial Heuristics for Educative Bachelor's Operational Synergy. 01/01/2003 - 31/12/2004

    Abstract

    The project 'EPHEBOS' attempts to analyse the basic needs and available sources in order to create a Europe-oriented modular education package for the bachelor level within the Association of the University of Antwerp-Colleges within the Antwerp province. This comprehensive research about education fits into the priorities of the Antwerp prov~nce and gains momentum with the Bologna declaration.

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    • Research Project

    01/01/2003 - 31/12/2003

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    • Research Project

    Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in family matters : a theoretical and practical study. 01/10/1997 - 30/09/1998

    Abstract

    Fundamental research on recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in family matters. Proposition of directives and criteria to develop a modern recognition policy.

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      • Research Project

      Internationalism and nationalism in the theory and practice of Belgian conflicts law. 30/09/1995 - 30/09/1997

      Abstract

      Belgian conflict law is traditionally characterized as a neutral and therefore "internationalist" jurisdiction-selection system. This project examines the existence of "nationalist" tendencies to promote as much as possible the application of Belgian (forum) law. Confrontation of advantages, consequences and efficiency of nationalism and internationalism in conflicts law.

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        • Research Project

        Internationalism and nationalism in the theory and practice of Belgian conflicts law. 30/09/1993 - 29/09/1995

        Abstract

        Belgian conflict law is traditionally characterized as a neutral and therefore "internationalist" jurisdiction-selection system. This project examines the existence of "nationalist" tendencies to promote as much as possible the application of Belgian (forum) law. Confrontation of advantages, consequences and efficiency of nationalism and internationalism in conflicts law.

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          • Research Project