Dutch newsletter RENFORCE – Christmas edition


The christmas edition of the RENFORCE newsletter is now available! In this Dutch newsletter you will find information on the recent activities of the RENFORCE research group and news on our researchers and their projects.

Read the entire newsletter: Nieuwsbrief Kersteditie (only available in Dutch).



International Research Seminar: EU-Citizenship and Rights

Twenty years after the EU introduced the concept of ‘European Citizenship’ in the Treaty of Maastricht, the European Commission proclaimed 2013 the ‘Year of European Citizenship’. This was done to draw additional attention to a perceived problem: why don’t Europeans realise their rights as European citizens? The term ‘realise’ is here being used to mean both being aware of these rights and demanding, using and thereby materialising them. That year, the European Commission also awarded a consortium of 26 institutes from 19 countries in and outside Europe, coordinated by Utrecht University, a major research grant to carry out a 4-year research project to study this problem. This multinational and multidisciplinary project, entitled bEUcitizen, sets out to identify and analyse which impediments hinder European citizens from realising these rights and why.

The present seminar is a co-operation between the researchers of Utrecht University (RENFORCE), Copenhagen University (CESEL) and bEUcitizen. Today’s seminar addresses rights of EU citizens, with specific attention to the civil, economic and political rights of EU citizens, and brings together researchers from several research projects in order to answer the question what rights EU citizens have, may have and what kind of tensions arise in this context. Moreover, the role and reasoning of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the creation of European citizenship and the substantive rights of EU citizens will be part of the debate.

Seminar – programme BEUcitizen


  • University of Copenhagen’s research centre CESEL (Centre for European Studies in Economic Law)
  • University of Utrecht’s research group RENFORCE (Centre for Regulation and Enforcement of Europe)
  • bEUcitizen-project


  • 11 December 2014 – 13.00-16:30


  • Alexandersalen, Bispetorvet 1-3, 1167 Copenhagen K





jpaouitnodiging AV media en minderjuitnodiging AV media en minderjarigenarigen



Pope Francis and humane approach in criminal justice

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Prof. John Vervaele was received, in his capacity as President of the World Organisation for Criminal Law (AIDP), by Pope Francis in a private audience on Thursday, October 23. The audience lasted an hour and prof. Vervaele and prof. dr. R. Zaffaroni addressed the Pope.

Pope Francis addressed in his comprehensive speech topics such as criminalization and exclusion, victims of ‘crimes of the powerful’ (organized crime and mafia) and the foundations of criminal behavior, crime and punishment.

Following on the XIX World Congress, Pope Francis has written the AIDP on topics such as criminalization and exclusion, victims of “crimes of the powerful ‘(organized crime and mafia) and foundations of criminal behavior, crime and punishment. The Pope has as well in his letter to the AIDP and during the audience approached the theme of criminalization and exclusion from concerns of criminalization, punishment and revenge, punitive populism in politics and in the media. The Pope uses an approach based upon compensation and rehabilitation linked with the social causes of deviant behavior, and the recognition of guilt and expressions of regret. Victims of organized crime and mafia are, accordingly, seen as outcasts who are sucked into the market through social and economic inequalities. The messenger boys of organized crime are not only perpetrators, but also victims. The study of criminal justice must therefore be multidisciplinary in nature. Freedom, responsibility and a humane approach to criminal law are the keywords that a society characterizes as either ‘excluding’ or ‘including’.

During the audience prof. Vervaele also referred to the mission of the AIDP, based on human dignity as a key to criminal justice, and the respect for human rights protection (negative and positive obligations) in criminalization and the use of criminal jurisdiction.

The themes discussed with Pope Francis are not only core themes of the Utrecht School of Criminal Law and Criminology but are also core themes of RENFORCE.