Guest Lectures at the Beijing Jiaotong University

Dr Marko Milenkovic, a visiting post-doctoral fellow at CCSDD, gave a series of seven guest lectures to the undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Beijing Jiaotong University (BJTU), School of Law from 21 November– 2 December. Dr Milenkovic went to Beijing on invitation of prof Yuxia Nan, the dean of BJTU School of Law, and the BJTU lecturer Dr Han Yu who obtained a PhD in EU Law in 2014 at the University of Bologna under the supervision of prof Lucia Serena Rossi. Dr Milenkovic taught BJTU students about the institutions and legal system of the European Union, EU enlargement policy and political and legal challenges brought to the Union by the Brexit vote and the migration crisis.

See the photos of the events below:

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October/November CCSDD Activities Update


CCSDD Director, Prof. Justin O. Frosini, Prof. Sara Pennicino and Researchers Dr. Čarna Pištan and Dr. Marko Milenkovic, were active participants in recent conferences.

Dr. Sara Pennincino was the keynote speaker at the regional conference “Follow-up to the recommendations of international Election Observation Missions in the countries of the Eastern partnership”.  The conference took place from October 24-25, and was organized by the Council of Europe. Dr. Pennincino discussed “Challenges to representative democracy”.

Dr. Sara Pennincino organized and presented in the “Illiberal Elements in Consolidated Democracies”, an International Workshop within the IACL Research Group on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies, of which the CCSDD is a coordinating institution. The workshop took place from October 14-15, and was held at the University of Padua. The event was also attended by CCSDD Director Dr. Justin O. Frosini who chaired one of the sessions and Dr. Čarna Pištan and Dr. Marko Milenkovic who acted as discussants.

See the photos of the event below:



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Dr. Marko Milenkovic was a discussant in panel on the EU agencies, Migration, Asylum and Security within the Young Researchers Master Class on agenification of EU executive governance, held on Wednesday, November 9 at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. The programme, and conference, held on November 10 and 11 were hosted by The Academic Research Network on Agencification of EU Executive Governance (TARN).

See the photos of the event below:img-20161110-wa0003wp_20161109_12_34_25_prowp_20161109_12_34_20_pro

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EU and Legal Reform Summer School 2016

The application process for this year’s CCSDD European Union and Legal Reform Summer School (EULR) is online!


The 2016 edition of our annual one-week summer school will take place in Igalo, Montenegro from July 10th – July 16th. 

Application is open to final-year undergraduate students and graduate students in Law and Political Science, as well as young professionals and scholars. The Summer school fee is 850,00 EUR. WE DO, HOWEVER, OFFER A NUMBER OF FULL AND PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS!
Application deadline: May 31, 2016!

The year of 2016 marks a special year for the European Union which finds itself facing many new challenges and new prospects. What direction is the EU heading today? And what did the big enlargement mean for the Western Balkans? This year’s Summer School will explore these and many other issues and bring them in the context of the EU enlargement effort.

Check out our website for more information:

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Workshop on International Constitutional Law

Join us April 28, 2016 in the Bocconi University Room ASO3 at 9.00 am for a Workshop on International Constitutional Law.

The event is organized in collaboration with the CCSDD and the International Association of Constitutional Law’s research groups on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies and Constitutions in the Age of Internet with the support of the George Lawrence Abernethy Endowment.

The IACL research group on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies addresses in comparative perspective the modern current of illiberal constitutionalism and the challenges it poses on accepted notions of constitutional law.


In the twenty years since the end of the last ‘wave of democratization’ it has become clear that, along with traditional liberal-constitutional democracies, an important number of countries have embraced different forms of ‘illiberal’ democracy, that is, they are regimes in which there are competitive elections of political authorities but that concentrate power around the executive office, to the point that even the courts are under the control of the government. Even though in the past there have been many authoritarian, semi authoritarian and even totalitarian regimes which pretended to cloak their true nature under a constitution, recent examples have showed a current of thought which tries to present these regimes as a new and more efficient type of constitutionalism, putting into question long established notions of constitutional government. This development has examples in different areas of the world, thus becoming a subject of study with great interest for scholars globally, in line with the international nature of the IACL. However, the research group will not be limited to the study of current examples of this type of ‘constitutionalism’, but may also include the analysis of past examples, in order to explore similarities, identify possible patterns of authoritarian ‘constitutionalism’ and draw lessons which may help to better understand this phenomenon. The examination will not focus only on specific examples of this current, but will also undertake to single out common features among those different examples.

The IACL research group on Constitutions in the Age of Internet addresses a range of issues related to Internet law, European law, Constitutional law, Judicial protection of fundamental rights in the (new) digital era.


The Internet has a pervasive and growing worldwide impact on economic, social and political life. In democratic countries the debate on the Internet is focused on the basic question if the net be regulated and how. In this context, on one hand, the first part of the project will answer to the following questions: Which authority should be vested with the power of writing the fundamental Charter of the net? Should it be an international body through an authoritative hard-law regulation, or the community of Internet ‘surfers’ through self-regulation? Or the third way of a mixed body: public and private together, as the previous mix between hard law and soft law suggests? And which basic values such a legislator would have to accept and enforce in drawing up a discipline well suited to the net? On the other hand, the aim of the second part of the project is to answer to the following research questions. 1) How is it possible to reconcile the academic studies on Internet law with the broader debate related, on the one hand, to the multilevel protection of fundamental rights and, on the other hand, to judicial dialogue in Europe? 2) Why is such an attempt expected to have a valuable impact for a better understanding of the process of European integration through (judicial protection of) rights?

Registration required at

More details below:

Workshop IACL 28 April 2016 Bocconi Milan-page-001


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When Science Trumps Law – Prof. Alan McHughen

On April 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm Professor Alan McHughen from California University will give a talk entitled “When Science Trumps Law” at the Bocconi University.

From the beginning of human civilization, policymakers – from kings to elected officials to bureaucrats—have created laws and policies contrary to or inconsistent with the laws of nature and science. Rules incorporating scientific principles but lacking a firm scientific foundation are created to satisfy personal vanity, arrogance or political expediency. Such misguided efforts are usually harmless, becoming humorous historical anecdotes, but occasionally they can result in real (but avoidable) damage and human suffering. We’ll discuss some examples of policymakers ignoring or misconstruing science when the science is inconvenient to egos or constituencies, and the real-world consequences of such actions.

The event is organized in collaboration with the CCSDD.

More details below:


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Contemporary History and Institutions of the Mediterranean Seminar Series: Judicial Activism against Austerity in Portugal

April 18, 2016 – 18:30 SAIS Penthouse – Contemporary Mediterranean History and Institutions Series

On April 18, 2016 Professor Goncalo Almeida Ribeiro from Catolica Global School of Law in Portugal will give a talk entitled “Judicial Activism against Austerity in Portugal”. He will be hosted by the CCSDD Director Justin Frosini as part of the Contemporary Mediterranean History and Institutions Seminar Series.

Goncalo Almeida Ribeiro is Gulbenkian Professor at the Catolica Global School of Law and Co-coordinator of the Lisbon Section of Catolica Research Centre for the Future of Law.

Almeida Ribeiro has an LL.B. (2006) from the School of Law of Universidade Nova de Lisboa and an LL.M. (2007) and S.J.D. (2012) from Harvard Law School, with the thesis The Decline of Private Law: A Philosophical History of Liberal Legalism (under contract with Hart Publishing). He co-edited the book The Constitutional Court and the Crisis(Almedina: Coimbra, 2014). Almeida Ribeiro is a Doctoral fellow of the Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia and a Clark Byse Fellow (Harvard). He received the Dean’s Award for excellence in student teaching from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2010) and the Mancini Prize for the best academic work in the field of European Law and Legal Thought at Harvard Law School (2012). Almeida Ribeiro worked as a consultant for the Development Studies Centre of the OECD (2003/04) and for the Instituto de Investigacao Cientifica Tropical (2004/05) and is a consultant in the field of Arbitration for the law firm PLMJ (Lisbon). His main areas of research are Legal and Constitutional Theory, Political Philosophy, and the History of Legal Thought.

More details bellow:

April 19, 2016 – 4:30pm Room 1 c3 sr01 via Röntgen 1, Bocconi University

On April 19, 2016 Professor Goncalo Almeida Ribeiro from Catolica Global School of Law in Portugal will give a talk entitled “Is the Portuguese Constitutional Court an Enemy of Austerity?”. The event is organized in collaboration with the CCSDD.

More details below:


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Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives

April 12-13, 2016 Chicago, IL

CCSDD Researchers Francesco Biagi and Carna Pistan participated in the Conference: Constitutional History: Comparative Perspectives held on April 12-13, 2016, in Chicago, IL. The conference was hosted by the University of Illinois College of Law and cosponsored by the University of Bologna School of Law, the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, and the University of Illinois Law Review.

Francesco Biagi presented a paper on “Plebiscite: An Old but Still Fashionable Instrument” in which he shows that far from being an “endangered species” and a device typical of illiberal regimes, the plebiscite is still a very “fashionable” instrument that can be found not only in authoritarian regimes but also in democratic countries. In his argument, he relied on comparative constitutional history, which was essential to clarify a current dispute – that is, the distinction between the plebiscite and other forms of popular participation, notably the referendum.What has emerged is that consultations aimed at adopting a decision on territorial status, on the form of government, and on the trust (or distrust) of a country’s leader, as well as on other “exceptional” and “political” issues, fall within the notion of plebiscite, while all the other popular consultations that do not meet these requirements must be excluded from this “category.”

Carna Pistan presented a paper “From Balkanization to Yugonostalgia: The Dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” in which she discussed the phenomenon of Yugonostalgia (i.e. a diffuse sentiment of nostalgia for the Communist past) as a growing phenomenon in all countries emerged from a violent dissolution of the former Yugoslavia. In particular, the paper argues that Yugonostalgia could be found today in all ex-Yugoslav republics at least on three levels: socio-cultural, political and constitutional. Contrary to the existing literature that has often criticized this regret for a past characterized by an authoritarian and repressive regime, the paper stress that nostalgia for the Communist past is not a disturbing phenomenon or a phenomenon that should attract indignation. In fact, it does not express the will to rebuild the old Yugoslav Federal State but, on the contrary, phenomena of this type may turn into effective instruments for combating ethno-nationalist cultural policies, thereby acting in the defence of the young and fragile Western Balkans democracies.

See the program and some photos of the conference below:

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