Zoek in de site...

Current projects

PhD project: Strategic human rights litigation in Europe in the field of asylum law

Start: 2019/on

October 1st 2019 marks the start of a new EUROPAL PhD project. PhD student Kris van der Pas will conduct research on strategic (human rights) litigation in Europe in the field of asylum law by NGOs. This research specifically conducts a deeper inquiry into the approach of NGOs in this strategic litigation. Relatively little is known about the approach of NGOs in strategic litigation and the factors that influence this approach. At the same time, the practice of using litigation in this field of law in Europe by NGOs has grown over the past years, coinciding with the Europeanization of refugee (and asylum) law.

Simply put, in strategic litigation, use is made of litigation as a tool to create change that goes beyond the individual case and/or the individual interest. NGOs may attempt to use strategic litigation in the field of asylum so as to fill a ‘lacuna’ of access to justice for asylum seekers and refugees. The current literature on this topic mainly focuses on strategy choice (legal mobilization literature) and/or on the impact of strategic litigation. The approach of NGOs in a strategic litigation process, however, is rarely addressed, even though aspects of this approach and the factors influencing the approach could prove relevant to the academic debate. Therefore, this research delves into the question: How can the approach of NGOs in strategic litigation in the field of asylum law in Europe be explained?

The project is carried out by Kris van der Pas.

Project member
Kris van der Pas

Radboud University’s Center for Migration Law
Section International and European Law
Institute for Management Research

Pas, K. van der (2021). Conceptualising strategic litigation. Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 11. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1226

PhD project: Compliance bargaining over the application of EU state aid rules

Start: 2018/on

A key objective of the European Union is to create a fair, internal market. European Union (EU) law therefore puts restrictions on Member States’ capacities to provide state-aid to companies and industries. These restrictions have a broad impact on Member States policies, limiting governments’ discretion in a broad range of policy sectors. Despite its impact, political scientists have only recently started to recognize the importance of EU state-aid law. While the overall development of the EU state-aid policy has attracted some scholarly attention, the application, monitoring and enforcement of EU state-aid rules remains a black box.

Little systematic research, amongst others, has been done on the direct oversight and enforcement of state aid rules by the Commission - a process that is largely structured by the so-called state-aid notification procedure. Based on EU law, Member States must notify their state-aid plans to the European Commission and wait for approval before granting any state aid. Although it has been suggested in the literature that the European Commission and Member States often engage in a process of “compliance bargaining” over the application of EU state-aid rules during this procedure, systematic insights into this process are lacking.

This project aims to provide these insights by analyzing and explaining the unfolding of the state-aid notification procedure from a multidisciplinary perspective. By developing a new dataset on the duration and interactions during the notification procedure, and combining insights form law, public administration, political science and economics, this project will shed more light on the dynamics of the state-aid notification procedure.

The project is carried out by Ruud van Dreunen, MSc, who co supervised by Prof. mr. Johan van de Gronden, Prof. mr. Pieter Kuipers, Prof. Ellen Mastenbroek and Dr. Pieter Zwaan (daily supervisor).

Project member
Ruud van Druenen


  • Van Druenen, R., Zwaan, P., & Mastenbroek, E. (2021). Getting State Aid Approved by the European Commission: Explaining the Duration of Preliminary Investigations in the State Aid Notification Procedure. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies.
  • Van Druenen, R., Zwaan, P., & Mastenbroek, E. (2021). Getting State Aid Approved by the European Commission: Explaining the Duration of Preliminary Investigations in the State Aid Notification Procedure. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies.

The Role of Administrative Networks in European Union Implementation

Duration: 2017/on

The European Commission has limited competences and resources for steering the implementation of European Union (EU) policies. In order to overcome these deficiencies, the Commission and member states have established European Administrative Networks (EANs): networks of national administrative representatives. Most of the literature relies on a positive narrative of EANs’ problem-solving abilities, finding they fulfill an important role in facilitating the implementation and enforcement of EU policies. However, their actual and independent role in EU implementation is not yet well understood nor explained. This project is coordinated by professor Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen from Copenhagen University and addresses a three-fold research gap in the literature, by asking: How do the functions, interaction modes and impact of European Administrative Networks differ across policy areas? The role of EANs in EU implementation will be examined and compared for five policy areas; 1) health and 2) social welfare, 3) environment, 4) immigration and asylum and 5) internal market.

Project member
Prof. Ellen Mastenbroek
Dr. Reini Schrama

University of Copenhagen

Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF)


Externalisation of Migration Control

Duration: 2016/on

This research, which is part of the larger Borders and Sovereignty Project, focuses on the European Union’s and its Member States’ cooperation with third countries on the prevention of irregular migration and the return of irregular migrants. In this context, the impact this cooperation has on the legal position of those migrants in the EU and the countries they are returned is examined. Furthermore, it is analyed which duty-bearers are responsible for the human rights protection of the migrants concerned by their cooperation on border control and expulsion. This project focuses on a case study of the externalisation practices between the European Union and its Member States (more specifically: Spain and France) and Morocco. In order to do this, this study endeavours to incorporate social science methodology, more specifically causal process tracing, in legal responsibility testing.

Project member
Amélie Poméon, LLM

Centre for Migration Law, and Dpt. Int. and European Law, of the Faculty of Law; Faculty of Management Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen