Crime, drugs, unemployment, deterioration and deprivation. Just five years ago, these were the less than flattering labels stuck to the Heerlen neighbourhoods of Meezenbroek, Schaesbergerveld and Palemig. Now, the ‘MSP’ district is considered a role model for social and sustainable innovation. The transformation is thanks in part to SUN, an interregional project that aims to make existing urban neighbourhoods more sustainable. Carijn Beumer and Pieter Valkering joined the project on behalf of Maastricht University.
The call for a sharia council in the Netherlands has met with much controversy. But if a religious community feels the need for this, what’s the problem?, wondered René de Groot, professor of Comparative Law and International Private Law. “The Netherlands has an exceptionally long tradition in the application of sharia law.”
From 1 September, Professor Dr Luc Soete succeeded Professor Dr Gerard Mols as rector of Maastricht University (UM). And he’s excited – because in these times of economic crisis, UM is facing a great many challenges. Soete, professor of International Economic Relations, has definite ideas about the contribution that UM could make.
Could you describe your research?
I am interested in why states voluntarily delegate tasks in the area of international security to organisations such as the EU, NATO and the United Nations. Traditionally, sovereignty is held in high regard. Your present ally can become your enemy tomorrow, so to speak. Even so, thousands of civil servants work for these kinds of organisations. What exactly do they contribute? Under what conditions do member states delegate these kinds of tasks? And why does NATO have such a heavily manned headquarters with fifteen thousand staff while the UN, which deploys as many troops, does not?
The 20th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty recently came and went, but was there really cause to celebrate? What’s next for the European Union (EU)? Sophie Vanhoonacker and Thomas Christiansen, professors at the newly founded Maastricht Centre for European Governance, are optimistic. “The crisis calls for strong decisions to be made.”
Opting for the easiest path is not in the character of Hildegard Schneider, professor of European Union Law at the Maastricht University (UM) Faculty of Law. When she was offered the position of faculty dean, she knew the financial cutbacks meant she would face hard times. So she did hesitate – but only briefly. Schneider: “I’ve known this faculty for 25 years, and have witnessed many different developments. Now we’re being confronted with new challenges, we have to make the best of it. Which is easier when you’re the dean yourself.”