Separation of powers for 21st century Europe (SepaRope)

SepaRope is the first empirically-grounded and comparative project rethinking the theory and practices of Separation of powers in present-day European Union. It addresses the very core of ‘democratic governance in a turbulent age.’

Separation of powers, the classic model of decision-making, entrusts different state functions to different branches (legislative, executive, judiciary) and serves the double purpose of ensuring collective will-formation and control of those in power. The polyarchic and multilevel nature of the EU is not easily reconciled with the separation-of-powers-model, either at EU or national level.

SepaRope demonstrates in combined horizontal and vertical inquiries how recent economic and political developments affect the EU’s institutional framework and the anchoring of EU decision- making in national legitimacy. It combines conceptual constitutional analysis with empirical research in three fields (Economic and Monetary Union, migration, trade), in which EU decision-making is controversial, rights-sensitive and illustrative of recent power shifts.

The teams at the universities of Amsterdam, Gothenburg, and Helsinki focus their inquiry on executive, judicial, and legislative power, respectively. Together, these inquiries are able to paint a comprehensive picture of by whom and how power is exercised and controlled in the three policy areas.


Research team

Project Leader:
Professor C. Eckes
University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands)

Principal Investigators:
Dr A. Wallerman
University of Gothernburg (Sweden)

Professor P. Leino-Sandberg
University of Helsinki (Finland)