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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

The Conference on the Future of Europe: vehicle for reform versus forum for reflection?

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The approach of the European Union’s institutions to the Conference on the Future of Europe is muddled, with risks for the outcome. The European Union after several delays opened the Conference on the Future of Europe on 9 May 2021. Its purpose, according to a March 2021 Joint Declaration from the presidents of the EU institutions, is […]

Is the grass greener on the other side? Norway’s assessment of Brexit

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Brexit may expose the special arrangements that EFTA states have to the EU. The European Union has over time developed quite a comprehensive system of affiliations with neighbouring states. Both actors in the UK and in the EU have discussed these affiliations as possible templates for how the UK and the EU could organize their […]

Why the EU is a polycentric system of governance

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Elinor Ostrom provides the ideal framework to understand the European Union. Jan P. Vogler explains why. The EU is often subject to biting criticism by its opponents: political speechwriter Aram Bakshian contends that the EU has “a single giant bureaucracy and an imposed-from-above social model” and journalist Leo McKinstry suggests that it is “a federalist […]

Brexit: The cold waters between Canada and Norway

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The UK’s push for the frictionless market of the Norway option, while accepting only the obligations of the Canada option, was not viable. It was a delusion, either due to ignorance or self-deception. The UK never had the same vision of the EU as the other Member States. A main reason for the UK’s accession […]

Differentiated integration meets a divided public

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Differentiated integration is a political reality in the European Union. However, public opinion remains divided, both across countries and among individual citizens. This fact highlights important challenges for the workings of the Conference on the Future of Europe. During the recent tense and aggressive debate on the EU budget and the COVID-19 relief fund, Prime […]

To strengthen democratic legitimacy in a differentiated EU, turn to transnational lists

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The EU’s legitimacy depends on institutional procedures that respect democratic principles – both in cases of uniform and differentiated integration, Max Heermann argues.   Crises often reveal the need for closer European cooperation. At the same time, they highlight divisions among the European Union’s member states about the right path forward. The COVID-19 pandemic is […]

The ideological blinkers of the Karlsruhe court

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The German Constitutional Court is stuck on an ideological position that prevents it from understanding the substantial difference between the German situation and European integration, argues Sergio Fabbrini and takes a closer look at some of the court’s rulings over the last decades. The judgment on 5 May by the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht or […]

The future of Europe is being decided now

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Given the ravages of the coronavirus crisis, the future of Europe cannot be one of permanent division between its northern and southern states. We are going through the gravest European crisis since the integration project began. The divisions which emerged during the European Council on March 26th are unprecedented in the history of the European […]

Differentiation: Problem or solution?

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A multi-speed or multi-tiered Europe has often been presented as a solution to Europe’s current challenges. But this kind of differentiation can generate democratic problems, argues EU3D Scientific Coordinator John Erik Fossum. In the last decade, the EU has faced a broad range of crises and challenges, such as the financial and Eurozone crises, the refugee […]

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