Europe and a globalising world

Research and education at UM have been thematic, multidisciplinary, and inspired by social themes. UM distinguishes itself by focusing on three main research themes (i.e. ‘Quality of life’, ‘Europe and a Globalising World’, and ‘Learning and innovation’) which are studied on the basis of different disciplines at all relevant levels. During the last decades the European integration process and the position of Europe as a specific actor on the global scene has increased enormously. Most research questions concern the intrinsic value of having a European Union and the character and the direction of the European integration process. Questions arising from this perspective deal with the role of Europe’s corporations in developing a sustainable global economy and the configuration of service-and supply chains to maintain Europe’s competitive position in the world. Specific issues that deserve particular attention are responsible investing, green buildings, sustainable supply chains, responsible leadership, employee well-being as well as the value of complex service systems.



Europe: where is it headed? Professors Aalt Willem Heringa and Michael Shackleton have a critical but also hopeful view of the future. The United States of Europe, they say, is already a reality. “The European Union is much more powerful than the federal government in the US.” But we could do with more transparency and, in particular, more democratic experimentation.

Social innovation and the vegetable garden

In Society
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 07:37

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.

Sharia council: same pitch, same rules

In Society
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:31

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.”

'Maastricht Univercity'

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:23

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.

The role and power of civil servants in the EU, UN and NATO

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?

What soothes the conscience more than a cup of Max Havelaar fair-trade coffee – fighting poverty, conserving the environment and working for social improvement – or a bar of ‘ethical’ chocolate? Many of us are happy to pay a bit more for that coloured stamp of sustainability on the product packaging. Such labels are abundant these days, and competition among them is on the rise. Their added value is undisputed – at last, sustainability is guaranteed. But what do small-scale farmers in Indonesia think of this? Are they really getting enough value for our money? Research is now underway at Maastricht University (UM).

"The crisis will clear the air"

In Society
Friday, 17 February 2012 13:38

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.”

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