Debating Europe – citizen dialogues in regions?

Citizen participation within the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe is nothing new. The EU has been using participatory instruments for several years. However, the conceptualization and implementation of these formats at European level is often being criticized and the success seems to be limited. Having participated in a regional citizen dialogue, the author reflects on the potential of these formats about the EU on a regional level. (Blog post in German)

Read more

What can regional and local election results teach us for the study of populism?

After the Eurozone crisis and the so-called European refugee crisis triggered its rise between 2009 and 2015, electoral support for populist parties in Europe seems to have plateaued on a moderate level while scholars continue to debate its societal origins. In this blog post, Gunnar Placzek argues in favor of a stronger focus on regional and local election results in populism research. Examples from Germany and Spain highlight how this approach can contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon’s root causes.

Read more

Regions and the European Green Deal

Droughts, floods, and a decrease in biodiversity: The effects of global warming on European regions are numerous, reflecting their diversity as well as the thereof resulting variety of necessary actions that regions will have to take to combat greenhouse gas emissions. From early on in her EU Commission presidency, Ursula Von der Leyen has pushed for the European Green Deal (EGD) to keep with the Paris agreement. As the deal aims to leave “no person and no place […] behind”, this blog post looks at how European regions may become involved in the EGD. It argues that a stronger participation of regional actors in the EGD could help to better align regional and local needs with strategic investment decisions and improve acceptance among regional population for the challenging transformations ahead of us.

Read more

Regional elections in France – the latest example of the crisis of the French democracy

Looking at the striking degree of abstention in the latest French regional elections, this blog post analyzes possible causes for this phenomenon. Taking into account pandemic related circumstances and specific characteristics of regional elections, this contribution argues that ultimately the prominent position of presidential elections is the core issue causing a structural threat for the French democracy.

Read more

European politics through the lens of members of the Austrian Landtage

What significance do European issues have for members of the Austrian Landtage, what possibilities to exert influence do they see and which cooperation networks do they use? Regarding these questions, this blog post presents first results from the REGIOPARL-survey conducted among members of the Austrian Landtage. (Blog post in German) Read more

Regional actors – spectators or players in the “Brussels Game”?

EU legislation has a strong impact on the member states which is after decades of European integration not surprising. EU laws are negotiated and adopted between the three central actors of the EU, the EU Commission, the European Parliament and the Council and have to be implemented by the member states. What is sometimes overlooked is that sub-national actors such as regions and municipalities often have to implement EU laws. This leads to the question of what role subnational actors (can) play in European policy affairs. This contribution asks whether these subnational actors are only spectators of European integration or whether they actively shape EU policies. Read more

Rocky start, open ending: The Conference on the Future of Europe

The Conference on the Future of Europe has finally started. The negotiation process beforehand was characterized by fundamental discrepancies on the European level. This blog post takes a look at those critical developments in the run-up to the beginning of the conference, illustrating an underlying inter-institutional dilemma. (Blogpost in German) Read more

The Future of Europe in times of crisis: looking back at a turbulent year

The Conference on the Future of Europe was supposed to be officially launched on 9 May 2020 – on Europe Day. Meanwhile, 2020 is coming to an end and the Conference lacks both, format and leadership, as well as a political mandate by the EU institutions. This blog post looks back at a crisis-ridden year and seeks to contextualize the failure of the conference start. Read more

Our money, our rules: the EU budget and conditionality go back a long way

Once again, negotiations on the upcoming EU budget seem deadlocked. Hungary and Poland are blocking the ratification of the next multiannual financial framework as they are opposing the new rule of law mechanism. We have taken the current conflict as an opportunity to take a closer look at existing conditionalities in the EU’s budget.  Read more

Regional perspectives on European democracy: first results from REGIOPARL’s participatory research

The upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe will also involve regional political actors who will contribute their interests and ideas on the future of the EU to the debate. It is not least against this background that the REGIOPARL research project examines the normative perspectives and reform ideas of legislative actors from the regional level: in focus group workshops, the state and future of the EU is discussed with elected representatives of various European regional parliaments. This blog post presents some first results of this participatory research.

Read more