The Post-Crisis Democracy in Europe blog presents insights from the PLATO project. Its main aim is to increase the understanding of questions related to legitimacy and democracy in the European Union in the post-crisis era. We publish posts written by PLATO-affiliated researchers and experts.
The Court of Justice of the European Union is one of the most contested transnational institutions in Europe. It nonetheless cemented its authority over nearly seven decades of integration and remains a cornerstone of the EU, according to Julien Bois.
Governments have accumulated extraordinary powers through emergency politics in crisis times. Although exceptional measures may be needed for exceptional times, José Piquer questions the notion of 'exceptionalism' and shows how such politics has become a persistent feature. The result is a weakening of democratic quality and a blurring of political party lines.
Accepting half a loaf in international negotiations is always difficult. This has been especially notable in European debates over refugee policy, in which different countries have divergent interests and a mutually agreeable consensus is hard to form. However, recent developments suggest a thaw, Gil Thompson argues, with Mediterranean countries taking a pragmatic approach that could allow for real progress.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, EU Member States managed to agree on key financial instruments to support the economic recovery of Europe. The decision to manage these instruments within the existing European Semester procedure has put this procedure into the spotlight. Ivana Skazlić argues that the pandemic can serve as an opportunity to enhance the involvement of national parliaments in the European Semester.
The European Neighbourhood Policy and its Eastern Partnership are key strategic policy frameworks for European Union external action. However, after unfulfilled promises, the Eastern Partners are now rethinking the original EU-led partnership framework. Tiffany G. Williams explains how mutual exchange can support fair and realistic cooperation between the Brussels and its partners in the East.
In this blog post, Elena Escalante Block, evaluates President Joe Biden’s role in the EU’s struggle to prevent international tax avoidance. Has Margrethe Vestager, “the Silicon Valley’s dragon slayer”, gained an ally in her fight against multinationals in Europe?
In this blog post, Chris Lord reflects on lessons from PLATO for doctoral supervision. As an international, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral PhD network, PLATO has created an unusual opportunity to compare supervision practice. But its innovative supervision arrangements and collaborative nature have also placed unusual demands on supervisors and PhD researchers.
In this blog post, first published on E-International Relations, Joris Melman reflects on the public’s distance towards the EU. Even though most Europeans seem to lack interest in (or at least knowledge of) European policy-making, the role of public opinion is bigger than ever.
Seeking work and shelter in another EU country proves more difficult today than at the end of the last century. Despite existing EU legislation, national administrations seem reluctant to facilitate the residence of certain European citizens. Julien Bois calls for the European Commission to again clarify citizens’ free-movement rights, taking into account societal and judicial developments and administrative practices that have developed in the last 15 years.
The reforms in the EU’s economic and financial governance structure in response to the Euro crisis have been put to the test by the Coronavirus pandemic. While the resurfacing of the sovereign debt crisis has highlighted the inadequacies of the Union’s fiscal policy reforms, the relative stability of the banking system so far hints at a partial success of the banking union. Philipp Lausberg argues that the EU recovery fund is a step in the right direction, while a completion of the banking union needs priority to prevent a banking crisis should the EU face a post-pandemic recession period.
The aim of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is to harmonise asylum procedures across the European Union. As several crises have shown, however, this goal is far from being achieved, and a reform of Europe’s asylum policy is long overdue. Radu-Mihai Triculescu argues that such reform should also incorporate the perspective of street-level bureaucrats implementing the joint system in each EU member state. His original research suggests that the experience of these workers can offer the insights needed to make a generalised European asylum policy enforceable at the national level.
In the Netherlands, the public underestimates how much Southern Europe has already suffered. And how we benefited ourselves, says Joris Melman, analysing the Dutch stance in the negotiations on the EU’s economic responses to the corona crisis.
Although European financial regulation directly affects citizens as consumers, it is only to a limited extent exposed to public debate. There has also been widespread criticism that European regulators were too close to the financial sector, both before and after the financial crisis. The EU introduced permanent advisory councils, so-called Stakeholder Groups, to include more diversified societal interests in the shaping of new regulation. Despite these efforts, Bastiaan Redert finds that the instrument largely disadvantaged consumer interests over the financial industry rather than ensuring truly balanced information.
Can participatory democracy be the solution to the EU’s democratic deficit? This seems to be the European Commission’s intention with launching the Conference on the Future of Europe. If this is to work, the Conference must however itself be democratically legitimate. Based on past experiences, Camille Dobler gives four recommendations for citizens’ consultations.
Public opinion has a central role in the politics of the Eurozone. But how do citizens form their opinions? Joris Melman’s original research indicates that opinions on the euro are often embedded in more general political orientations. For most people, the euro is above all a practical artefact in their daily lives, which makes them less likely to question it.
By constraining the powers of executives and developing a political culture of accountability, national parliaments play a key role in the fight against corruption. However, their normative powers may be marginalized in the process of democratic consolidation. Based on original research from three European states, Emilija Tudzarovska-Gjorgjievska argues that weak parliaments contribute to the vicious cycle of corruption when they give a pretence of legitimation but do not act as democratic institutions proper.
Criticisms directed at the European Union (EU) and its institutions over the past decade have often been interpreted as a sign of fundamental weakness. However, using the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as an example, Claire Godet argues that contestation should not be seen as a sign of failure, but rather as an opportunity for justification.
In the wake of the financial crisis, EU governments spent taxpayers’ money to rescue European banks. That displaced a financial crisis into political systems by straining public finances and social protections in all EU member states. Some states were brought to the point of insolvency, and the survival of the EU’s single currency, perhaps even of the EU itself, was threatened. But is the EU experiencing a legitimacy crisis? By Chris Lord