Research and Analysis of Data on the European Union - "READ"
Researcher Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Th. Wessels
Project Description The activities within the framework of "READ" are founded on the basic assumption that the relevance of the European Union (EU) and its policies with regard to research and teachings - especially to empirical economic and social research - has remarkably increased over time. Considerable qualitative and quantitative trends of growth and differentiation within the European context of e.g. European governance or different policy fields such as Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Economic and Monetary Union and Justice and Home Affairs indicate an evolution of the EU forming a centre of gravity.

Systematic research and explanation of the constitutional evolution of the past fifty years representing an increase in the in-depth variety of binding decisions being taken in Brussels requires a comprehensive survey and analysis of data. Thereby, existing approaches need to be seized, deepened and complemented.

EU-institutions themselves have come to offer a complex number of sets of data on legal acts and procedures, which can be used in terms of scientific means. Due to this diversity of sources a considerable methodological effort is required. If repetition in empirical research activities is supposed to be prevented and the results of the own work is meant to be accessible for a certain group of interested researchers an extensive demand for structuring and processing will have to be met. Thus, a so called "Datenpool" - established at the "Zentrum für empirische Wirtschafts- und Sozialforschung" will contribute to facilitating interdisciplinary research and teachings: an accurate research and analysis of the past and current development of the treaties in three steps will be possible:
  1. The evolution of the treaties ("wanted" Constitution),
  2. The texts of the treaties ("written" Constitution) and
  3. The exercise of the treaties ("living" Constitution).
The aims of this analysis can be listed as follows:
  1. Utilisation of the results and findings also with regard to other projects of the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
  2. Preparation of the data in order to supply researchers of the ZEWS as well as students writing their final thesis or phd students with the information needed.
  3. Accurate contextual linkage of the data aiming at reassessing and developing further theoretical approaches.


Main focus of "READ"

Funding In order to support the successful application for the SFB the project is receiving start-up financing of the Centre for Empirical Economic and Social Research.
Data CODE - Cologne Database on the European Union (password protected)

Related to a): Data which give information on the European conract law - meaning the "wanted constitution" at European level (documents put forward by the European Convention; documents of Intergovernmental Conferences; national and European documents as well as debates for example on the European financial order; education policy; environmental policy and employment policy).

Related to b): Data on the "written constitution" are mainly documents of primary law such as treaties and other arrangements with comparable character of law. Apart from showing the quantitative evolution of the procedures and their profiles these documents can also bare information on the qualitative changes within competences of the EU.

Related to c): A detailed normative and empirical explanation of the "living constitution" - meaning all aspects of European governance over the years - does not only have to take aspects of political sciences into consideration but those of economic and social sciences as well analysing the output of legal acts, the voting behaviour of different member states in the Council, the co-decision procedure, the participation of the European Parliament, the productivity of the EU-organs and decisions taken by the European Court of Justice. These information need to be quantitatively gathered in order to be evaluated and extrapolated afterwards.
Methods Related to a): Analysis of the contents using programmes of qualitative data analysis (Max qda).

Related to b): Analysis of the contents using programmes of qualitative data analysis (Max qda). The thus gained results can then be evaluated and graphically presented via Microsoft-Excel or SPSS. They serve as a foundation for further evaluations and calculations

Related to c): Databases containing information on the exercise of the treaties - such as EurLex - are relevant in this context. These data of European secondary law will quantitatively be evaluated with the aid of Microsoft-Excel and SPSS in order to be presented in graphics and tables afterwards.