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European security revisited (ENSURE)

The law and governance of European security in a new geopolitical era

ENSURE (European security revisited) is a Max Planck Research Group headed by Dr Carolyn Moser and funded by the Max Planck Society (2022-27). It explores and critically assesses the – potentially significant – reshaping of law and governance triggered by the European Union's normative and policy adjustment to increasingly harsh geopolitical realities.

About the group

  • KEY ISSUE. The war in Ukraine represents a turning point in European integration for its marks the gepolitical coming of age of the European Union (EU). Given the increasingly conflictual international context, we can expect the EU and its policies to change significantly in several respects over the next decade or two.
  • PURPOSE. The objective of the ENSURE research group is to investigate and critically assess the (potentially significant) changes in law and governance triggered by this geopolitical adjustment. Changes may relate to European and national actors and their prerogatives, decision-making and regulatory modalities, financial arrangements and industrial support, international cooperation and partnerships, or strategic objectives and political means.
  • QUESTION. Against this backdrop, ENSURE aims to provide a response to the pressing question: what law and governance for European security in a new geopolitical era? To answer this question, the group (i) examines whether and how the EU’s legal and institutional architecture needs to be adapted to the new geopolitical realities, and (ii) seeks to determine whether and how this adaptation can take place while reconciling constitutional norms and security interests.
  • FRAMING. ENSURE addresses European security from two complementary perspectives. In addition to examining specific policy areas that are likely to be central to European security and strategic autonomy (e.g., energy, cyber,, defence, food), the group also explores the legal and governance challenges associated in particular with novel security threats (e.g., climate change, health emergencies, disinformation campaigns).
  • THEMES. The research of ENSURE unfolds along three interrelated strands of research:
    • Conceptual and strategic foundations. Under this theme, the group investigates and interrogates concepts, (legal) principles, and strategic considerations that shape European security policies and activities.
    • Actors and accountability. This strand of research deals with the reconfiguration of the legal and institutional framework of European security, which is currently in a state of flux.
    • Regulatory modalities and policy instruments. Specific (new) challenges require appropriate normative solutions and policy tools. Hence, recalibrating legal and policy instruments to face the geopolitical realities of the 21st century is the focus of the third research area.
  • RESEARCH DESIGN. The comprehensive legal and governance analysis is based on an interdisciplinary research design (legal analysis combined with political science research tools) that allows exploration of both the theory and practice of European security. Indeed, a thorough desk study of legal and para-legal sources, as well as their discussion and contextualization in the academic literature, is embedded in a broader theoretical framework, which in turn is complemented by empirical findings obtained through qualitative research methods (i.e., semi-structured interviews).


ENSURE counts a handful of team members that all contribute to the success of the project.

 Dr Carolyn Moser

Dr Carolyn Moser, Research Group Leader

Dr Carolyn Moser leads the ENSURE group. She conducts research in the field of international and European law, with a special focus on security and defence in Europe. Carolyn was trained in both law and political science at Sciences Po Paris and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University, USA), and holds a PhD from Utrecht University on EU civilian crisis management. She received several awards and distinctions for her research, notably the Otto-Hahn-Medal and the European Court of Auditors Award. Her interdisciplinary expertise is solicited also beyond academic circles, for instance by EU and international institutions (eg European Parliament; OSCE; World Bank) and in the media (eg ZDF; NDR; ORF; SRF; Deutschlandfunk). A full list of her publications can be found here.

 Rocío Bargon Sánchez

Rocío Bargon Sánchez, Administrative Assistant

As an administrative assistant, Rocío Bargon Sánchez supports the ENSURE team with her linguistic skills, cultural competences, and organizational know-how. She holds a Double Master's Degree in specialised translation and multimedia translation from the Johannes Gutenberg University and the University of Burgundy. Before joining the group, Rocío taught German as a Foreign Language and worked as a freelance translator and subtitler. Within the framework of a Bluebook traineeship at the Directorate-General for translation of the EC, Rocío had the opportunity to become part of one of the biggest translation services in the world. Her working languages are German, Spanish, French, English, and occasionally Portuguese.

 Nina Boy

Nina Boy, Visiting Fellow

Dr Nina Boy joins the ENSURE group as a Max Planck Visiting Fellow in 2023. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary notions of security, particularly the nexus of financial, political and legal security. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Politics and International Studies (PAIS) Department at the University of Warwick and an Affiliated Researcher at the Kaete Hamburger Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies (CAPAS), Heidelberg University. She holds a PhD in Politics from Lancaster University and an MA in International Studies & Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London. She is Co-editor of the open-access journal Finance and Society. A full list of her publications is available here

 Felicitas Burst

Felicitas Burst, Research Fellow

Felicitas Burst is a research fellow in the group. She studied law at the University of Heidelberg from 2014 to 2022, with a one-year intermittence at the University of Strasbourg. As a scholarship-holder of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, she investigated the sociology of law in an interdisciplinary research group led by Prof. Marauhn. Next to her solid knowledge of international law – her major – she enriches the team with practice insights gained through an internship at the Staatsministerium in Stuttgart and her Slavic language skills. She is particularly interested in understanding the field of maritime security and the actors and regimes involved in it.

 Laurids Hempel

Laurids Hempel, Research Assistant

Laurids Hempel joins the group as a research assistant. He has been studying law at the University of Heidelberg since 2018, including two semesters abroad at the University of Montpellier, where he focused on studies in international public law and constitutional law. The latter is also his major in his law studies. Following his fascination for politics and public law, he has already worked for one year in the Schleswig-Holsteinischer Landtag (State Parliament of Schleswig-Holstein) before beginning his studies. With his legal knowledge and insights gained into political decision-making processes, he is eager to assist the research of the group at the interface of international public law, European law, and national public law.

 Lukas Märtin

Lukas Märtin, Research Assistant

Lukas Märtin supports the group as a research assistant. He has been a law student at the University of Heidelberg since autumn 2017, with a one-year study abroad period at Sciences Po Paris. Motivated by his strong interest in European and international law, he interned at the European Parliament, in the cabinet of Advocate General Juliane Kokott at the CJEU and, moreover, reached the final round of pleadings of the renowned European Law Moot Court Competition in his role as Advocate General. Hence, he joins the team with useful practice insights into the law and governance of EU institutions and processes.

Yuliya Miadzvetskaya, Affiliated PhD candidate

 Effi Spiegel

Effi Spiegel, Research Assistant

Effi Spiegel has been studying law at the University of Heidelberg since 2019. In 2021, she spent a year at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where she mainly followed courses on European law. Inspired by her academic experience in Paris, she interned at the German Ministry of Finance's Directorate-General for European Policies and at the Brussels office of a German law firm. Moreover, she is regularly involved in Model European Union projects, where she has been developing a particular interest in European security. She is therefore excited to build upon her so far established experience in an interdisciplinary context.

 Dr Christian Schultheiss

Dr Christian Schultheiss, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Christian Schultheiss is a Senior Research Fellow of the research group ENSURE. His research has specialized in ocean governance, conflict and maritime security with a focus on Asia. He conducts research on European security in the maritime domain. He was trained in International Relations and in International Law and holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cambridge. He has had several field research positions in China, Japan, the Philippines and Singapore. He has been a policy advisor for the European External Action Service and advised the EEAS on a range of EU policy initiatives in the area of maritime security.  His publications appeared in International Relations and in International Law outlets.

 Dr Tarek Tutunji

Dr Tarek Tutunji, Affiliated Researcher

Dr Tarek Tutunji is an affiliated senior research fellow whose research focusses on informal institutions in world politics, with a current focus on disinformation. Tarek received his PhD in Political Science in 2019 from Johns Hopkins University with a dissertation on the emergence of informal rules around propaganda and covert action during the Cold War.



  • Carolyn Moser, Die Zeitenwende: viel Zeit, wenig Wende? In: Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 4 (comment), 741–768, 2022.
  • Carolyn Moser, Some reflections on anticipatory governance in EU defence. In: Foresight and regulation: anticipatory governance and administrative foresight in times of transition and recovery (book section),165–190, 2023.
  • Christian Schultheiss, La Chine et les limites conceptuelles et pratiques de la guerre juridique en mer de Chine méridionale. In: Revue Défense Nationale 852 (book section), December 2022.
  • Carolyn Moser, The war in Ukraine and its repercussions on Europe's security and defence constitution (blogpost), September 2022.
  • Carolyn Moser & Berthold Rittberger, The CJEU and EU (de-)constitutionalization—unpacking jurisprudential responses. In: International Journal of Constitutional Law (journal article), 20(3), July 2022.
  • Carolyn Moser & Steven Blockmans, The extent of the European Parliament’s competence in Common Security and Defence Policy (study), June 2022.
  • Carolyn Moser & Estelle Hoorickx, The EU mutual assistance clause, and its applicability to novel threats (e-Note; English; French), June 2022.
  • Carolyn Moser, Is Berlin's overdue defence policy adjustment also a "game changer" for Franco-German relations? (blogpost), March 2022.


  • Carolyn Moser delivers a keynote speech on EU security and defence after the Russian invasion of Ukraine: a legal-institutional perspective at the Academy of International Affairs NRW in Bonn, 15th May 2023 (further information).
  • As part of the Lecture Series Ukraine, Carolyn Moser gives a presentation on The European Security Architecture in the Light of New Geopolitical Realities at the Württembergische Landesbibliothek (WLB), 3rd May 2023 (video recording).
  • Nina Boy participates in a panel discussion on The Situation and its Truth at the Workshop Situational Awareness: Sensing Insecurity and Coming Catastrophe, University of Hamburg, 27–28 April 2023.
  • Carolyn Moser holds a presentation on The EU’s CSDP – Structure and Challenges at The XXII Walter Hallstein-Symposium “The Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU – Perspectives from Member States” at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, 30th and 31st March 2023 (further information).
  • Carolyn Moser discusses Accountability in EU Security and Defence at the Award ceremony for the 2020 and 2022 ECA Awards for research on public-sector auditing in Luxemburg, 23rd March 2023 (further information).
  • Carolyn Moser provides experts insights into The Common Security and Defence Policy after the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the webinar on EU Law and Politics after the Russian Invasion organized by UKAEL and the Finnish branch of FIDE, 21st March 2023 (further information).
  • Carolyn Moser participates as an expert in a Panel discussion in the context of the 'Europa Quartett' hosted by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung in Bremen, together with Dr. Helga Trüpel, Dr. Emanuel Herold and Madita Standke-Erdmann, 12th February 2023 (further information).
  • Christian Schultheiss chairs the panel discussions of the 4th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on the Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) in Hanoi, 30th November to 1st December 2022 (media mention).
  • Carolyn Moser holds a lecture on the EU and the War in Ukraine at the annual meeting of the Deutsche Vereinigung für Internationales Recht (DVIR), the German branch of the International Law Association (ILA) in Frankfurt a.M., 18th November 2022.


  • VerfassungsPod #3: Verfassung im Krieg
    Carolyn Moser provides input as an expert to the podcast of Jochen Schlenk and Maximilian Steinbeis on the rules and regulations regarding German (and European) defence, available
  • Zeitenwende in Europa
    Carolyn Moser gives an expert interview to Julia Weigelt (NDR) about the geopolitical awakening of Europe and the EU in the wake of the Russian war on Ukraine for the NDR Info Podcast "Streitkräfte und Strategien" (armed forces and strategies), broadcasted on 19th September 2022, available
    here (in German language).