28 Februar 2023

Thematic forum: Supranational governance between diplomacy and democracy – current debates on EU reform

EU flag, photographed against the sun

After a long decade without treaty changes, institutional reforms are once again being discussed seriously in the European Union. Multiple crises – around the monetary union, the asylum system, the Covid-19 pandemic, the impacts of climate change, or the Russian attack on Ukraine, among others – have exposed weaknesses in the European governance structures. Internal pressure on the EU is growing, too: the democratic backsliding and rule-of-law crisis in Hungary and Poland threaten common values and the unity of the European legal community; long-discussed changes to the European electoral law are being blocked again and again; the role of Germany and France as the “engine of integration” is increasingly called into question. At the same time, old debates on widening and deepening are taking on a new topicality and urgency due to the changed geopolitical situation.

The Conference on the Future of Europe presented comprehensive institutional reform ideas in May 2022, but implementing its proposals would require a Convention, which is opposed by many member states. The EU is seeking a new balance – capacity to act and consensus, small and large member states, member states’ self-responsibility and transnational solidarity, European parties and national governments, national sovereignty and supranational law. Bringing together the many parallel debates on the future of European governance will be a central challenge of the coming years.

The thematic forum “Supranational governance between diplomacy and democracy – current debates on EU reform” sheds light on topical discourses around European crises and reforms. Experts from German and international universities and think tanks examine specific issues and developments and reflect on them in the context of European policy research. The contributions appear simultaneously on the blog Der (europäische) Föderalist and on Regierungsforschung.de, the academic online journal of the NRW School of Governance at the Institute of Political Science of the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Picture: EU flag: Arno Mikkor (EU2017EE) [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr.

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