constitutional thinking beyond borders
Lecture: Comparative Law in Changing Structures of Multi-Level Federalism

Lecture: Comparative Law in Changing Structures of Multi-Level Federalism

I organised a panel on “Federalism Along and Beyond Borders. A Neo-Federalist Perspective” at the 2016 ICON-S Conference “Borders, Otherness and Public Law” at the Humboldt University in Berlin, on June 17-19, 2016.

Panel Participants: Barbara Gustaferro, Lucía Payero López, Dirk Hanschel

I gave a lecture on “Comparative Law in Changing Structures of Multi-Level Federalism”.

The Panel contributes to the Neo-Federalism Project by Robert Schütze (see

Panel Outline:

In the last twenty years federalism seemed to be a crucial concept to establish democracy and rule of law. If we understood federalism as one side of the coin, secession and disintegration seem to be the other side. Federalism enables cooperation beyond borders and strengthens external borders. When borders are collapsing, federalism is challenged. New internal borders might be set up.

The panel will address these issues of federalism & secession within domestic states (comparative perspective) and beyond (European and international perspective). The role of sub-national entities in the 21st century is crucial to solve global problems on the ground (like migration, integration, environmental issues etc). The identity of sub-national entities is changing and constitutional law is often not providing sufficient solutions to these developments.

The panel will analyse these challenges from different perspectives, including methodological
considerations, international economic law, institution-based analysis, the democratic dimension and core ideas of federalism. Altogether, the panel develops a bigger picture of a neo-federalist perspective, which addresses federalism along and beyond borders.