The European Union has a democracy problem. The polycrisis that has plagued the EU for years has led to a cacophony of voices calling for fundamental change to the integration project. Yet despite the shock of the Brexit referendum and the electoral upsets caused by nativist parties across the continent, few of the plans for EU reform include concrete proposals to address the perennial democratic deficit.
This volume looks at how the relationship between citizens, the state and EU institutions has changed in a multi-layered Union. As such, it focuses more on polity than on populism, and does not engage deeply with policy or output legitimacy. Building on the notion of increasing social, economic and political interdependence across borders, this book asks whether a sense of solidarity and European identity can be rescued from the bottom up by empowering citizens to ‘take back control’ of their Union.
Direct Democracy in the EU: The Myth of a Citizens’ Union is part of the ‘Towards a Citizens’ Union’ project and is the product of collaboration with 20 renowned think tanks from the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN). It is the first of three publications that will also cover the state of representative democracy in the EU and the accountability of democratic institutions.
Part I / 1. Introduction, CEPS, Brussels / 2. Instruments and Procedures of Direct Democracy at the EU level, CEPS, Brussels / Part II / 3. Country report Austria, Austrian Society for European Politics, Vienna / 4. Country report Bulgaria, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia / 5. Country report Czech Republic, Institute of International Relations, Prague / 6. Country report Denmark, EUROPA, Copenhagen / 7. Country report Finland, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki / 8. Country report Germany, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin / 9. Country report Greece, ELIAMEP, Athens / 10. Country report Italy, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome / 11. Country report Latvia, Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Riga / 12. Country report Poland, Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw / 13. Country report Romania, European Institute of Romania, Bucharest / 14. Country report Slovakia, Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Bratislava / 15. Country report Spain, Elcano Royal Institute, Madrid / 16. Country report United Kingdom, Centre for European Reform, London / Part III / 17. How to Strengthen European Political Parties from a National Perspective, PROVIDUS, Riga / 18. Reflections on the Democratic Conventions throughout the EU, CIDOB, Barcelona / 19. ‘Civic-tech’ – Impact of digital technologies on democratic processes and political participation, WiseEuropa, Warsaw / 20. EU Storytelling and the New Narrative for Europe – Who is going to listen?, European Institute, Sofia / Part IV / 21. Conclusions and the way forward, Carnegie Europe, Brussels
Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow and the Head of the Institutions and EU Foreign Policy units at CEPS; Professor of EU External Relations Law and Governance at the University of Amsterdam.
Sophia Russack is Researcher in the Institutions unit at CEPS, PhD candidate at Maastricht University.