About Joana Pedroso
I am originally from Brazil, a city called Curitiba (with approx. 3 million inhabitants) capital of Paraná, a state in the south of Brazil with 45 million inhabitants. I studied Law at a private university called Pontifícia Universidade Católica between 2004 to 2009. In Brazil, the Bachelor in Law program consisted of five years. At that time, students had little freedom to build up their academic portfolios and had to attend to a traditional teaching model from Monday to Friday (sometimes even Saturday). At that time, honestly, I perceived the academic world as a dreadful place, at least a place not for me. From the first semester of Law School until graduation, I did internships in different legal disciplines and scenarios. I worked in a Civil Courtroom managing physical lawsuits (non-existent today in a digitalized world), I worked in two law firms assisting civil and labor law lawyers, I worked as a personal assistant of a civil law judge until I finally landed in a law firm to work with tax law. I graduated and worked in a law firm with tax law until 2010, when everything changed. I met my current Swedish husband, got my BAR license in 2010, quit my job, and prepared to move to Sweden.
I landed in Stockholm in March 2011 and started to study Swedish for immigrants. I tried to quickly adapt to my new home country, which took more than just a couple of years. At the time, I could not get any job. I was even advised to change my name from Joana to Johanna, give up on my last name Pedroso, and take my husband's last name Back (which I did not) to make my work applications more attractive. In 2012, I started the LL.M. program in International and EU Environmental Law at Stockholm University and graduated in 2013, fascinated with the Swedish model of teaching and learning. Suddenly, the academic world was engaging, daring, and extremely interesting. Meanwhile, I decided to spread my contact among the Brazilian community and at the Embassy to help Brazilians with their adaptation in Sweden, giving them tips about how the system works and it's logic. I have always been fascinated with the Swedish straightforwardness and lack of bureaucracy in public agencies and even laws. For me, Sweden started to make more sense as a home than Brazil, except for the weather and the beaches that are hard to "compete" with Brazil. I decided to combine my tax law interest and previous experience with the knowledge I gained with that LL.M.
In 2014, I started a second LL.M. in International and EU Tax Law at Uppsala University. Again, I learned so much new knowledge, I was fascinated by the classrooms' museum styles, but mainly about the teaching and learning atmosphere of Swedish universities. When I graduated in 2015, I knew I wanted to keep researching the subject of environmental taxes and State aid, so I started to work on my doctoral project proposal. Meanwhile, I worked as an autonomous international tax planner for individuals and as a babysitter to fill my days and our income while waiting for the process of getting a doctoral position. In April 2016, I was invited to be a research assistant for a project at Stockholm Resilient Centre. I was assigned to analyze all Baltic Sea countries' compliance with EU environmental laws and write a report about it.
In August 2016, I started my doctoral program at Gothenburg University when I was late pregnant with my first child. After returning from maternity leave, I enjoyed the most out of the program. I went to several conferences, seminars, and workshops in many countries. I was invited to teach and hold seminars in different institutions with people from different disciplines. I taught 1.500 cathedral/hours at Gothenburg University and took courses to teach in any country party to the Bologna Process. I wrote some articles published in books and magazines. I met inspiring, challenging, and diverse people. In 2021, I gave birth to my second child after a difficult pregnancy that put me on partial sick leave. I only returned as a full-time doctoral candidate in the spring of 2023. Somehow all the good and the bad experience I found myself in made me realize that my strength is my multicultural background and life story. At home, we speak Portuguese, Swedish, and English. I still voluntarily help Brazilians when they seek my help, but in most cases, women suffering from domestic abuse or violence. I am heading toward the end of my research and a meaningful life cycle. I am what you see, an open book, a candid person who will always choose to solve the conflict through conversation and brainstorming than avoid it.
Abstract of my project
My research is a legal analysis of the Member States of the European Union (EU) environmental taxes from an EU State aid control system perspective. It addresses the problem that the EU State aid rules’ interpretation might be inflexible to integrate environmental protection when the State measures are environmental taxes. Consequently, the State aid control system might be incoherent and inconsistent with the EU’s general aim to integrate environmental protection in all EU policies and activities, as established in Article 11 of the TFEU. Since the Member States’ lawmakers face the challenging mission of adapting their domestic legal system to climate change, green transition, circular economies, and other relevant environmental issues, the State aid control system should not be a legal barrier for them, mainly due to inconsistencies and incoherencies within the EU as a legal regime. Hence, this thesis’ purpose is to analyze if further integrating environmental protection within the State aid rules is possible. While pursuing the purpose of this thesis, I show the Member States’ lawmakers that they can impact this integration within the State aid control system from a bottom-up perspective, depending on the choices made in the design features of the environmental taxes they legislate. I also highlight to them that the EU institutions might take some actions and use the State aid control system as a legal avenue to deal with issues the EU legislators cannot deal with due to legislative procedure impairments, thereby creating a top-down effect. Evidently, the State aid control system is an arena where the interplay between the EU and the Member States unfolds alongside other actors that also play a crucial role in that system. This thesis deals with the diverse levels of complexity regarding State aid and environmental taxes while seeking to make an instrumental and challenging legal field understandable for non-State aid lawyers and contributing to the scholarly discussion on the issue.
Research, Teaching, and Working Areas
- Environmental Tax Law
- EU Competition Law (State Aid)
- EU Tax Law
- EU Environmental Law
- EU Law
- Sustainability (SDGs)
- Green transition
- Circular economies