NICLAS is a so called Intensive Programme in the framework of the EU´s Lifelong Learning Programme for higher education, sub-programme Erasmus, running from 2009/10-2011/12. It is organized as an international two weeks summer school programme, approaching three policy areas currently showing tremendously dynamic changes and therefore being of special importance for and forming a special challenge to the future development of the EU from an International Constitutional Law (ICL) perspective: ENVIRONMENT, MIGRATION, MINORITIES. In 2012 particularly the field of Minorities and Integration (NICLAS for Minorities) is analysed through the ICL´s main focus topics: human rights, democracy and governance (rule of law).
International Constitutional Law as a legal discipline combines constitutional law, public international law, European law, legal theory and administrative studies. At an academic level students shall learn to understand constitutions and thereby legitimised administrative structures in their historic but in particular in their contemporary context and learn to question constitutional concepts instead of accepting them as sacrosanct.
"NICLAS for Minorities" in 2012 is analysing the relationships between human rights, democracy, and governance and the EU´s and its member states' minority and integration policy at the interfaces of public international law, EU law, and national constitutional and administrative law. The overall question of the 2012 summer program will be: "How to develop and secure a sustainable minorities policy for current and future generations of people within an ever complex network of public international law, EU law and national law, while at the same time securing human rights protection, defending democracy and carrying out administrative regulation guided by the rule of law on all levels of the global governance network?" We will try to get across with these topics in two weeks classes in the 2nd and 3rd week of July 2012 (lectures and discussions, case studies, working groups, and study visits) at the Pan-European University (PEU) in Bratislava. Classes dealing with related contents (basic and special modules) are followed by classes on methods and research techniques in the field of ICL. For didactic purposes an e-learning platform (globally accessible through internet) to be used for the participants' preparation for the summer school and for communication between the teachers and students from all partner universities involved has been established within the VICAJOP project for international curriculum cooperation and will be filled with contents by participating students and teachers alike before, during and after the summer school.
A first three-years cycle of NICLAS summer schools had been organized at the law school of the University of Vienna on the EU’s Area of Freedom Security and Justice from 2006/07 to 2008/09 (NICLAS for Freedom in 2007, NICLAS for Security in 2008, and NICLAS for Justice in 2009). Following the same ICL approach: analysing the policy areas at stake through main ICL categories like human rights, democracy and justice (rule of law, good governance), NICLAS generation II (NICLAS on the Environment, Migration and Minority policy of the EU) running from 2009/10 to 2011/12 will explore their interrelation in the national-EU-international-law matrix with the policy areas of environment, migration, and minorities: NICLAS for Environment in 2010, NICLAS for Minorities in 2011, and NICLAS for Minorities in 2012. Whereas NICLAS generation I to a greater extend was focusing on constitutional aspects of ICL, NICLAS generation II will pay special attention to the administrative aspects of ICL, understanding procedural and administrative structures as complementary to constitutional guarantees of human rights, democracy and justice in the form of rule of law and good governance. The Fundamental Rights Charter of the EU, on the way to play a crucial role in the mediation of these dimensions of ICL and therefore to form particular challenge to it, is another core topic for the NICLAS summer schools 2010-12.