The Mauro Cappelletti Prize for the Best Thesis in Comparative Law 2018

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Zane Rasnača has won The Mauro Cappelletti Prize for the Best Thesis in Comparative Law, for her thesis, entitled ‘First or one among equals?: The CJEU and the construction of EU social policy’. The Law Department has awarded the prize every year since 2005 when an alumnus established the award to honour former EUI Professor Mauro Cappelletti.

Rasnača’s thesis examines the role of the Courts of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in constructing social policy law at the EU level. Speaking to EUI Life, she explained that the first part of her thesis looks at ‘the interaction between the Court and EU lawmakers, assessed how this interaction operates in practice and whether there is an overlap between what matters the CJEU and EU lawmakers are occupied with.

From there, Rasnača ‘considered what those results mean for the constitutional understanding of the Court’s role, and proposed to adopt a modified version of the theory of constitutional dialogues to better accommodate the actual nature of the Court’s relationship with lawmakers.’

Generally speaking, Rasnača said, her PhD aimed at ‘advancing the understanding of the role of the CJEU in the lawmaking process at the EU level, to go beyond associating its role solely with case law, and to evaluate the detailed synergies between the CJEU and its interlocutors at the EU level.’

Receiving the Mauro Cappelletti prize ‘means a lot,’ she revealed. ‘It shows not only that hard work pays off but also that somewhat novel and maybe even unorthodox approaches to research and study of EU law are appreciated and supported by the EUI.’

Reflecting on her time at the Institute, Rasnača told EUI Life that her PhD journey was ‘one of the hardest but also the most rewarding things’ she has ever done. ‘It allowed me to grow academically, professionally and personally. I am forever grateful and indebted to the many people I met during my years at the EUI, but first and foremost to my supervisor Professor Claire Kilpatrick, who supported, encouraged and inspired me throughout this journey.’

Now living in Brussels, where she works as a researcher for the European Trade Union Institute, Rasnača believes her EUI experience ‘opened many doors’. She will receive the Mauro Cappelletti prize at the EUI conferring ceremony on June 15 2018.