Exploring the Role of Values in EU Governance

ValEUR is a 4-year research project (2016-2019) based at the Institut for European Studies of the ULB (Université libre de Bruxelles).
Values at the core of European integration have been widely discussed in recent years due to several major evolutions in EU governance. References to values may have three incentives. Firstly, it may be a call to identity, memory and communicative resources in a quest for legitimization (governing through values). Secondly, it may come from the necessity to deal with ethical issues calling for normative policy choices (governing values). Thirdly, values may cause legal and political conflicts and challenge established balances of powers and regulation (governed by values). The EU has encountered the three scenarios. In each configuration, “European values” are invoked with different meanings and purposes. The hypothesis is that common patterns can still be found, turning the EU into a political system where values become either an answer to or a factor creating uncertainties.