Report: TransJudFare Final Workshop

by Anita Heindlmaier and Dion Kramer (TransJudFare)

On 2/3 November 2017, the TransJudFare research project (‘Transnationalization and Judicialization of Welfare’) organized its final workshop in Bremen. The aim of the workshop was doublefold: on the one hand, to present the project’s research findings in a larger audience, and on the other hand to discuss contributions for a special issue in the Journal of European Public Policy. Apart from its research teams from Bremen, Salzburg, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, scholars from over Europe and across the Atlantic attended the workshop for input and feedback.

The project team was therefore very happy to welcome excellent scholars in the field: Emma Carmel (University of Bath), Edgar Grande (University of Munich/WZB Berlin), Martin Höpner (Max Planck Institute, Cologne), Joseph Lacey (University College, Oxford), Willem Maas (York University, Canada), Charlotte O’Brien (University of York, UK), Joakim Palme (Uppsala University), Alessandro Pellegata (University of Milano), Martin Ruhs (University of Oxford), and Fritz W. Scharpf (Max Planck Institute, Cologne).

Several of these scholars contribute to the main output of the project, a special issue “Free Movement and Non-Discrimination in an Unequal Union” in the Journal of European Public Policy (guest editors: Susanne K. Schmidt, Michael Blauberger, Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen). The workshop thus also intended to provide a platform to discuss the revisions of the papers.


Over two days, fruitful discussions took place about the arguments presented in eleven papers and one book manuscript. After a warm welcome by overall project leader Susanne Schmidt and a brief overview of the past three, intensive years, six contributions were presented and discussed on Thursday. Afterwards, the Bremen team of TransJudFare had organized a fantastic dinner in artists’ house Ausspann. On Friday, the remaining six presentations took place.

The twelve contributions covered a broad spectrum of questions and issues: on the justification of EU citizenship and welfare states (Richard Bellamy/Joseph Lacey), the politicization of immigration (Edgar Grande/Matthias Fatke/Tobias Schwarzbözl), reactions and attitudes to immigration (Maurizio Ferrera/Alessandro Pellegata), a comparison of citizenship and mobility in the EU and the US/Canada (Willem Maas), whether the welfare magnet hypothesis holds true in the EU context (Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen/Benjamin Werner), the implementation and application of EU citizenship law at Member State level in a broader sense (Charlotte O’Brien; Dion Kramer/Franca van Hooren/Jessica Sampson Thierry; Dion Kramer/Anita Heindlmaier) and with particular regard to student mobility (Angelika Schenk/Susanne K. Schmidt), the theorization of national policy positions towards free movement at the EU level (Joakim Palme/Martin Ruhs), and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (Michael Blauberger/Anita Heindlmaier/Dion Kramer/Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen/Jessica Sampson Thierry/Angelika Schenk/Benjamin Werner; Gareth Davies).

In particular the contributions of Bellamy/Lacey and Ferrera/Pellegata triggered a discussion about the definition and role of “welfare chauvinism”. Bellamy/Lacey relate the domestic social contract to the ‘democratic’ social contract at the supranational level and thus normatively justify the primacy of national citizenship over European citizenship. In order to protect the provision of public goods to its citizens, only EU migrants that have stakeholdership or a perspective to stakeholdership need to be granted equal treatment with nationals of the host Member State with regard to social rights. Ferrera/Pellegata analyzed individual attitudes towards immigrants and their entitlement to access national labor markets and social benefits. On the basis of a mass survey conducted in six EU Member States, the paper identifies the factors that lead to a welfare chauvinist position. It holds that political orientations and contingent situations which are characterized by the degree of social and political inclusion strongly filter the attitude towards the issue.

A further controversial issue concerned the question whether we can observe a “turn” from an expansive to a more restrictive interpretation of EU citizenship by the European Court of Justice after the Dano-judgment. On the one hand, a majority of members of the TransJudFare project observed a ‘turn’ and made the case that this can be explained by the Court’s responsiveness to the politicization of free movement and alleged welfare migration as reflected in the media-coverage in various Member States. On the other hand, Gareth Davies rather pointed to the changing nature of the litigants in the cases brought before the Court: the facts in recent citizenship claims were simply less meritorious and the claimants therefore less ‘deserving’ of welfare in the light of EU law, he argues.

All participants expect the research issue to remain of particular relevance within the next years. Transjudfare and Norface’s Welfare State Futures programme have provided a very fruitful context to analyze this interesting issue.