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 – between 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.

All contributions

  1. The return of the reforms: In the midst of all its crises, the EU is discussing its institutional future again [DE/EN] ● Manuel Müller
  2. Make Europarties fit for EU democracy: Beyond the reform of the regulation [DE/EN] ● Edoardo Bressanelli
  3. The battered legal community: Why the crisis over the primacy of European law can only be solved politically [DE/EN] ● Alexander Thiele
  4. More democracy with more majority decisions: Why the abolition of national veto rights increases the legitimacy of the EU [DE/EN] ● Julian Plottka
  5. A lot to tell already but still a long way to go: The EU’s rule of law crisis in a nutshell [DE/EN] ● László Detre
  6. Differentiated integration – an enabler for ambitious EU reforms? [DE/EN] ● Thomas Winzen
  7. Schengen in stalemate: Between national reflexes and necessary reform [DE/EN] ● Daniel Schade
  8. The Spitzenkandidaten dilemmas: A successful failure? [DE/EN] ● Eva Heidbreder
  9. Why the EU needs a permanent climate investment fund [DE/EN] ● Philipp Heimberger and Andreas Lichtenberger
  10. EU asylum and migration: When is the crisis over and when is it business as usual? [DE/EN] ● Alezini Loxa
  11. What finality for EU foreign policy? Current reform debates are about more than just capacity to act [DE/EN] ● Niklas Helwig
  12. A new push for European citizen participation [DE/EN] ● Dominik Hierlemann and Stefan Roch
  13. Genuine European elections do not exist now – but could they in the future? [DE/EN] ● Wouter Wolfs
  14. Is EU democracy fit for climate change? The case of the “green taxonomy” [DE/EN] ● Bohyun Kim
  15. Developing the Common Security and Defence Policy in war-time Europe: EPF, PESCO and crisis management activities [DE/EN] ● Tyyne Karjalainen

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

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