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Anastasia Poulou Receives Award

Anastasia Poulou, scientist at the Department for Social Law at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy has been awarded by the Körber-Stiftung for her dissertation. The Vice-president of the Federal Parliament, Edelgard Bulmahn, congratulated the legal expert as she handed her the Deutsche Studienpreis (photo), with which excellent doctoral dissertations with societal relevance are honored.

In her thesis titled „Der Schutz sozialer Grundrechte in Zeiten der Krise. Zur Rekonzeptualisierung der sozialen Dimension Europas“ Poulou analyses, whether the austerity measures conducted in the course of the Euro crisis in Greece and Portugal constitute an infringement against individual and social fundamental rights, and who is to be held responsible: the Union institutions, which implemented the austerity measures, or the crisis states themselves. As legal valuation standard the scientist consulted the EU Charta of Fundamental Rights. With regards to labour and collective rights it could be demonstrated, that both participants levered social minimum standards. This is the reason for the reduction of the established tariff minimum wage in Greece, wich was decided without the consent of the collective bargaining parties. Therefore this can be considered as interference with collective bargaining. Regarding the pension reform, in contrast, the Greek government had a certain leeway of action as regards the implementation of conditions and, thus, had the chance to adhere to the minimum standards. “However, the Greek legislator did not respect these minimum standards”, Poulou criticizes.

The national courts and the European Court of Justice maintained a low profile during the crisis. The unconstitutionality of the austerity measures has only seldom been passed on the basis of social fundamental rights by the courts. In order to strengthen the judiciary in this process, Poulou has developed a concept for the democratic legitimation of the courts to protect social fundamental rights that builds on the insights of procedural theories regarding the creation of judicial legitimation.

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