I am Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics and Assistant Dean for Postgraduate Research and Teaching and Learning in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy at Birkbeck. I studied at Trinity College, Dublin, the College of Europe, Bruges and the London School of Economics and worked as an economist at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs before joining Birkbeck. I have taught at the London School of Economics and held visiting positions at the College of Europe in Natolin, the University of Agder in Kristiansand and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am Visiting Professor in the Department of European Politics and Governance Studies at the College of Europe, Bruges.
The primary focus of my research is the European Union (EU). In an era of Brexit, Orbán and Trump, my work explores how European states respond to economic interdependence and public mistrust in traditional modes of decision-making.
I am also interested in economic policy in national settings and in international financial institutions and fora at a time when anti-politics and anti-globalisation sentiment is hardening.
My approach to these issues is grounded in the study of international political economy, comparative political economy and EU politics. I also engage with debates in European and international law and comparative constitutionalism.
My other research interests include the relationship between politics and the arts.
I have published extensively on Economic and Monetary Union. My 2011 book on this topic explores how key elements of eurozone governance, including the Eurogroup, the Stability and Growth Pact and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines, depart from the so-called Community method of policy-making.
Since 2010, I have examined how and why the euro crisis has transformed eurozone governance through reforms such as the Six Pack, Two Pack and European Banking Union.
My research also encompasses wider questions of European integration. My 2015 book with Uwe Puetter (Central European University) and Chris Bickerton (University of Cambridge) developed the new intergovernmentalism, a novel theoretical approach for understanding the turbulent dynamics of European integration in the post-Maastricht period.
My recent work on this research agenda asks how European integration continues in spite of the rise of Eurosceptic challenger parties and governments.
In 2017, I joined John Peterson (University of Edinburgh) as co-editor for the fourth edition of The Institutions of the European Union. This book is a key text for anyone wishing to understand the functions, powers, and composition of the EU's institutions.
The relationship between politics and law is a recurring theme in my research. My early work with Imelda Maher (UCD Sutherland School of Law) used the concept of soft law to understand the EU’s Open Method of Coordination. Our 2018 book investigates changing constitutional rules and norms concerning the negotiation and approval of EU treaties. It explains the rise of parliaments, referendums and courts in treaty making at the EU level – and in each of the 28 EU member states – since 1950.
My research on economic policy in national settings has encompassed the design of fiscal rules in EU member states, social partnership in Ireland and macroeconomic policy in the UK. I have written about the role of the International Monetary Fund and the G20 in international economic surveillance and crisis management.