Agnes Baude’s thesis is called “Protecting the European Union Rule of Law through national court scrutiny? – A case-study of L and P from the CJEU and the importance of the Union’s fundamental values in the context of European extradition.” Baude was granted the award with the following motivation: “Agnes Baude is awarded the prize for a clear and well written analysis of a question of crucial importance for the future of the European Union. She captures the complexity in the relationship between the fundamental value of the rule of law and the principles of mutual recognition and trust, which underpins the European arrest warrant, and demonstrates how national courts increasingly face the daunting task of safeguarding the rule of law in the European Union”.
The Centre for European Studies spoke to Agnes about her thesis-writing process and asked her if she has any tips for future thesis writers.
Agnes describes the experience of writing the thesis as equal parts fun and exhausting. She recalls that though the writing process started off at a rather slow pace, it became quite intensive towards the end: “At a later stage it almost turned into a symbiotic relationship – it felt like I coexisted with my thesis. I breathed, slept and ate with it.”
Agnes states that persistence is essential when writing a thesis and that one should remember that there is almost always capacity left, even when you feel exhausted. However, she emphasises that a valuable lesson from the process is that the importance of breaks should not be underestimated and that “many times, the best ideas came to mind during a walk or after having taken a complete day off”.
Agnes’ decision on the thesis’ topic stemmed from her long-standing interest in constitutional law and the rule of law foundations of the modern European society. When she was made aware of the recent European Court of Justice case law on the European Arrest Warrant during an internship before her master thesis, she knew she had found an interesting topic. “I found that the problems within the European Arrest Warrant due to rule of law-backsliding member states had many interesting aspects, both from a constitutional angle as well as from a pure national and practical angle”, she says.
When elaborating on her findings, Agnes states that “in my opinion, the contradictory interests within the case law on the European Arrest Warrant reflect the major issues of the rule of law crisis in the European Union. The fundamental principles of mutual recognition and trust does not only underpin the European Union judicial cooperation in criminal matters, but the European cooperation altogether. Without equal respect for the judiciary of each member state, the idea of the cooperation within the European Union as we know it is therefore no longer possible.” Agnes stresses that a uniform and consistent European Union approach against member states that undermine rule of law principles is required. This, she says, “is clear from the impossible task imposed upon national judges to check the judicial standards of its counterpart in association with the execution of a European Arrest Warrant.”
Try to find something that makes you curios and that will challenge you in a meaningful way.
Agnes provides prospective thesis writers with some valuable advice on how to find an interesting topic: “Start off by focusing on broader topics that you are genuinely interested in and try to identify unanswered questions or angles yet to be explored. Try to find something that makes you curious and that will challenge you in a meaningful way.” When approaching a master’s thesis, Agnes primary tip is to create smaller objectives within the process that successively brings the writer closer to the main goal.
To conclude, she adds that “you have about six months during which you can focus on something you are interested in. Try to enjoy it!”.
Click this link to access Agnes' thesis. Agnes’ thesis was published as a case note in Nordic Journal of European Law.
As of today, Agnes is working as an associate at Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå in Stockholm.