Barbara Guastaferro


working in Subproject 5 – Supranational Federalism and Subproject 6 – Regional Federalism


Barbara Guastaferro joined Durham Law School in 2014 as a Research Fellow within the framework of the “Neo-Federalism” Project, funded by the European Research Council. In the same Law School, she teaches tutorials in European Union Constitutional Law and seminars in Comparative Constitutional Law. She is qualified as an Associate Professor of Constitutional and Comparative Law in Italy, and she teaches at the University of Naples “Federico II”.

She currently serves as the constitutional expert for Italy in an ERC research project on “The Role and Future of National Constitutions in European and Global Governance” run by the Kent Law School and in a research project on “Member States’ Constitutions and EU Integration” run by the University of Salzburg.

In 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Hauser Global Law Scholarship to financially support her post-doctoral studies at New York University School of Law, where she was Emile Noël Fellow 2011-2012 at the “Jean Monnet Center for Regional and International Economic Law and Justice”.

She obtained her PhD in Law at the University of Padua in 2010, after spending a research period at the European Court of Justice. In 2004 she served as an intern at the “Permanent Representation of Italy to the EU” in Bruxelles, where she followed-up the works of the Intergovernmental Conference adopting the “Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe”.

She taught in the field of EU Law, Public Law, Italian Constitutional Law, and History, Institutions and Politics of the EU and she presented several papers at international workshops and conferences.

Research interests

European Union Law
Comparative and Constitutional Law
Public Law
Human Rights Law
Constitutional and Democratic Theory

Research within the project

In the context of Subproject 6 – Regional Federalism Dr. Barbara Guastaferro analysed, at the theoretical level, the distinction between the concepts of Federalism and Devolution while studying, at the empirical level, the processes of regionalism, devolution and decentralization in comparative perspective. The focus will be in particular on “unitary” Member States such as Italy and the UK, rather than on classic “federal” Member States. While scholarly literature is almost unanimous in drawing a line between federalism, devoted to divide power, and devolution, devoted to devolve power, the study of the processes of decentralization in unitary States shows that such a distinction is not clear-cut. Also two other features mainly attached to federal States, such as the non-hierarchical nature of the relationships between levels of government, on the one hand, and the role of judiciary in addressing constitutional and competence conflicts between the centre and the periphery, on the other, seem to play a pivotal role also in unitary States. Against this backdrop, empirical evidence will be used to revisit and reframe the theoretical distinction between federalism and devolution, and, more broadly, to reconsider the relationship between the concept of “sovereignty” and the concept of “autonomy” in unitary States.

In the context of Subproject 5 – Supranational Federalism, Dr. Guastaferro explored the federal nature of the European Union with a particular emphasis to the provisions of the European Union Treaties which enshrines the constitutional idea behind federalism, which is to find “unity in diversity”. In this respect, the possible contradictory relationship between two principles envisaged by Art. 4 TEU (the duty for the EU to respect Member States’ national identities, on the one hand, and the duty of loyal cooperation, on the other) will be addressed. Indeed, while respect for national identities might foster diversity, providing Member States with more regulatory autonomy and more discretion in derogating from EU law, the duty of loyal cooperation might foster unity, being interpreted as a “constitutional safeguard of unitarianism” or as the “glue” which kept the federal construction together. The way in which these two principles have been interpreted by the ECJ and have been implemented might shed some light on the the relationship between the Union and its Member States in the European Union federal and composite legal order.

Recent Publications


Legalità sovranazionale e legalità costituzionale. Tensioni costitutive e giunture ordinamentali, Torino, Giappichelli, 2013.

Journal Articles

Articolo 6 (Libertà dalla schiavitù e dal lavoro forzato), voce per il Commentario alla Convenzione americana sui diritti umani curato da L. Cappuccio e M. Tanzarella, Editoriale Scientifica, 2017, in corso di pubblicazione

Constitutional Reform in Italy. The Senate as a Second Chamber Representative of Territorial Institutions, in Tijdschrift voor Constitutioneel Recht (The Dutch Journal of Constitutional Law), n. 3/2016

The unexpectedly talkative “dumb son”: the Italian Constitutional Court’s dialogue with the European Court of Justice in protecting workers’ right in the public education sector, in European Constitutional Law Review 3/2016.

Composizione e funzioni del nuovo Senato in prospettiva comparata, in Questione Giustizia, n. 2/2016

La prima volta del Presidente della Commissione “eletto” dal Parlamento europeo. Riflessioni sui limiti del mimetismo istituzionale, in Forum di Quaderni costituzionali Rassegna, vol. 10/2014, pp. 1-10 e in Studi sull’integrazione europea, n. 4/2014, pp. 527-540 (scritto sottoposto a referee)

Beyond the Exceptionalism of Constitutional Conflicts. The Ordinary Functions of the Identity Clause, in Yearbook of European Law 2012, Vol. 31, n. 1, pp. 263-318.

Coupling National Identity with Subsidiarity Concerns in National Parliaments Reasoned Opinions, in The Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, 2/2014.

The EU, the IMF and the Representative Turn: Addressing the Challenge of Legitimacy, in Swiss Political Science Review, Special Issue 2012 on “The (Democratic) Legitimacy of Global Governance: New Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives” (together with M. Moschella).

Book sections

Sincere Cooperation and Respect for National Identities. The Unitary and Pluralist Twist of the European Integration Process, in R. Schuetze e T. Tridimas (eds.) “The Oxford Principles of EU Law”, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017

Devolution and Secession in Comparative Perspective: the Case of Italy and Spain, in R. Schuetze e S. Tierney, “The United Kindom: Federalism Within and Without”, Oxford, Hart, 2017, forthcoming (with Lucia Payero)

The Italian Parliament vs. the “Masters of the Treaties”: the parliamentary role in the Treaty amendment procedures, in N. Lupo e G. Piccirilli (eds.), “The Italian Parliament in the European Union”, Oxford, Hart, 2017, in corso di pubblicazione

The Constitution of Italy: axiological continuity between domestic and international level, in A. Albi (ed.), “The Role of National Constitutions in European and Global Governance”, T.M.C. Asser Press, Springer Verlag, 2017, in corso di pubblicazione (with G. Martinico, O. Pollicino)

Articolo 40 (Diritto di voto e di eleggibilità alle elezioni comunali), in Carta dei diritti fondamentali dell’Unione europea, commentario curato da S. Allegrezza, R. Mastroianni, F. Pappalardo, O. Pollicino, O. Razzolini, Milano, Giuffrè, 2016

Rappresentanza regionale e controllo di sussidiarietà (Regional Representation and Subsidiarity Scrutiny), in Nomos – Le attualita’ del diritto – 2015 e in Diritto pubblico europeo Rassegna online, luglio 2015, pp. 1-12

The EU as a Staatenverbund? The Endorsement of the Principle of Conferral by the Treaty of Lisbon, in M. Trybus and L. Rubini (eds.), “The Treaty of Lisbon and the Future of EU Law and Policy”, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012.



Disowning Edmund Burke? The Constitutional Implications of “English Votes for English Laws” on Political Representation, in UK Constitutional Law Association blog (2 maggio 2016) e in Rassegna di ASTRID, n. 10/2016

Magna Carta, Common law Constitutionalism e mutamenti della funzione giurisdizionale, in Diritto pubblico europeo. Rassegna online, luglio 2016 (n. 2)