Transnational Social Justice in the European Union and its Implications for Global Justice

WP 9 – Global Transnationalisation and Democratisation Compared 

WP 9 events

Amsterdam, 10-11 June 2011


Venue: Filmmuseum, Franse zaal (tbc), Vondelpark 3, Amsterdam

Workshop convenor: Ben Crum, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Workshop summary (D83) (pdf)


The European Union can be considered as an advanced testing ground for political arrangements beyond the nation state. As such, it frequently figures as an important reference point in debates on the prospects of (cosmopolitan) democracy beyond the nation state. In contrast, the EU serves much more rarely as a reference point in the current theoretical debates on (global) justice beyond the nation state. In these debates, the main empirical touchstones are rather found in the duties of rich countries towards poor ones. Broadly, we find on this issue cosmopolitan approaches, which insist on such political duties, confronting more nationalist views that adopt a more skeptical position.

This workshop aims to explore the validity of various theoretical positions on transnational or global justice for the European Union and whether experiences in the EU can be used to develop our theories of global justice. Many debates on justice in the EU appear to be cut short by the observation that there is no ‘social Europe’ embodying a full-blown conception of social justice. Arguably, however, this need not preclude the emergence of less demanding and less comprehensive transnational duties among Europeans. Consider for instance the “Solidarity Clause” now embodied in the Treaty of Lisbon (Art. 222 TFEU), the structural and regional funds, or even the ‘duty’ to open one’s borders and markets to each other. Importantly, the conception of social justice used in this workshop is a broad one, not only including social-economic goods but also goods like access rights (migration), language use, and cultural capital.

Against this background, the workshop seeks to address questions like:

  • Does European integration issue into distinct transnational duties of social justice?
  • What principles of just distribution can be identified to arise in various EU policy domains?
  • Can an emerging EU conception of justice be identified, distinct from both national and global conceptions of justice?
  • Do the transnational duties and principles of social justice that may emerge in the EU contain relevant insights for the prospects (and theory) of global justice?
  • How does the possible emergence of transnational duties of justice affect existing national conceptions of social justice?


The workshop takes place in the framework of RECON’s work package 9 ‘Global Transnationalisation and Democratisation Compared’. Read more on the research objectives of WP 9 and on the overall research objectives of RECON.


Download pdf 

Friday, 10 June 2011


Welcome and introduction
Ben Crum, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and John Erik Fossum, ARENA, University of Oslo


Does Euroscepticism entail Globoscepticism?
Glyn Morgan, Syracuse University 




Social justice and political obligation in the EU
Lynn Dobson, University of Edinburgh



Coffee break  

Ethnic diversity and support redistribution: implications for transnational social justice?
Keith Banting,  Queen’s University Kingston



Coffee break

Social justice beyond the nation-state: some lessons from a non-nation (België/Belgique)
Philippe Van Parijs, Université Catholique de Louvain


Conference dinner


Saturday, 11 June 2011



Welcome second day  


From Monism and Dualism to Pluralism: towards a multi-level ethical position of justice and democracy?
Ronald Tinnevelt, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen



Coffee break

Three emerging duties of transnational social justice in the EU
Ben Crum, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam






Transnational justice: political, not socio-economic
Ayelet Banai, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main



Coffee break 

Problems of political justice raised by bargaining models of European integration
Christopher Lord, ARENA, University of Oslo





Drinks and buffet dinner (optional)


For further information, please contact Ben Crum, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: B.J.J.Crum(at)