Saving Democracy in Europe

Fri, 10/12/2012 to Sat, 10/13/2012
By invitation only
Event Category: 
By Invitation Only

This workshop is by invitation only - please contact Kim Lane Scheppele if you wish to attend.


Participant Login - Updated 10/12/2012


The European Union is experiencing what many observers take to be existential challenges, not least of which is a crisis of democracy.   In this informal workshop, we bring EU experts together with political and legal theorists to reflect on how to advance, or simply save, democratic government in Europe as it is being challenged at all levels.   In this workshop, we will bring together a range of scholars to have an open-ended conversation about these urgent issues.  The Friday and Saturday sessions will start with presentations designed to offer some new ideas for encouraging democracy both within the EU institutions themselves and also within the member states.  

"Saving Democracy" is intended in two registers, domestic and supranational, and each workshop session will be devoted to one of these.  In the first session (on Friday afternoon), we will explore how to make European government itself more democratic.   The crisis of the Eurozone has exposed how weak political solidarity is within the EU.  But instead of asking only economic and financial questions about how to fix the Euro, we will focus on the democratic politics underlying this crisis in the EU as a whole.   In the second session (on Saturday morning), we will examine how some national governments within the EU have retreated from the democratic commitments that they made when they joined.  What can and should the EU do when countries depart from "values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights" as Art. 2 of the Treaty of the European Union requires? What tools are currently at its disposal and what tools would the EU need to effectively ensure democratic governance for the citizens of the EU?  And how can EU interventions to save democracy not appear as themselves fundamentally undemocratic or paternalistic, as opponents of such interventions across the EU have argued?

Cosponsored with the History of Political Thought Project and the European Union Program