Europe’s Democratic Recession and Its Global Role
Europe’s domestic situation is deeply interconnected with its international standing, and viceversa. This is not merely a reflection of globalisation and the transnationalisation of politics. It is the basis of the EU’s interdependence and the way it has historically developed, pursuing internal integration whilst widening its membership, deepening the internal market whilst expanding trade and relations with the rest of the world, constitutionalising universal norms whilst supporting them globally.
Any project of EU renewal thus needs to be premised on the assumption of interdependence between the domestic and the international. This is all the more salient when European politics appear increasingly captured by national-populist political forces proposing policies of closure towards the world and when the international context is increasingly hostile to the EU. Yet the debate on the future of the EU is chained to old modes of thinking about integration – ‘more or less Europe’, federalism versus intergovernmentalism, ‘differentiated integration’ following Britain’s departure, or a focus on a few policies (banking union, migration, security) hollowed out of any effectiveness. There is surprisingly little deep analysis of the more structural reasons behind the present malaise which pertain to Europe as a whole and not just the EU per se. This dearth of analysis produces few ideas about what Europe’s futures may look like.
Europe’s current crises are a reflection of its own democratic recession at the local, national and EU levels. The project will analyse the specific ways in which Europe’s democratic recession takes place looking at both politics, especially how domestic politics have burst into EU politics and European foreign relations, and policy, by examining how policy fields have transformed into transnational spaces but without sufficiently upgraded decision-making processes to govern them satisfactorily. Through these changes, however, new processes and actors have emerged, potentially game-changers in Europe’s crises: transnational networks, new local and international actors, groupings of citizens, institutions, civil society, governments, can increasingly disrupt stale decision-making processes and introduce renewal into Europe’s local, national, EU, and international preferences and politics.
Creating Political Alternatives to New Authoritarianism Within the European Union
In the framework of the Europe’s Future project at IWM, I will research and analyse the effective tools civic and political forces can offer in challenging new authoritarian governments within the European Union.
Reflecting on my personal experience as an opposition politician in Hungary, I will analyse why authoritarianism emerged in Hungary and how the new authoritarian playbook could be potentially adapted to a variety of political environments in Europe. I will give an account of the political, moral and strategic dilemmas that a democratic opposition needs to tackle in standing up to authoritarianism and coming up with a compelling alternative political narrative to win over voters.
Focus of Research During “Europe’s Futures” Fellowship
Over the past years my research at Carnegie Europe focused on EU migration policy, EU foreign policy and the reform prospects of the EU. As IWM fellow I would like to continue to work on these topics, placing special emphasis on some of the interrelationships between them.
The external dimension of migration management is also one of the top priorities of EU foreign policy these days, as curtailing illegal flows can only be accomplished in partnership with countries of origin and transit.
The refugee crisis has accelerated the rise of rightist populist political forces across Europe, making the reform of the EU both more urgent and a great deal more difficult.
Finally, the divisions and tensions between member states caused by the recent crises constitute one of the most serious constraints on developing a more coherent and effective EU foreign and security policy.
Senior Transatlantic Fellow,Germany Marshall Fund of the US; member, Steering Committee of Women In International Security, Brussels
Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Europe; lecturer, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna
Politician, democratisation activist and former Member of the Hungerian Parliament
Ivan Vejvoda, IWM Permanent Fellow