Subject: European Union

October 2019, Volume 30, Issue 4

The 2019 EU Elections: Moving the Center

The results of the May 2019 elections to the European Parliament—and particularly the growing influence of the populist radical right—reflect a deep transformation of European politics that can largely be traced to the “refugee crisis” of 2015–16.

October 2019, Volume 30, Issue 4

The Failure of Europe’s Mainstream Parties

Beyond the commonly cited economic and cultural anxieties afflicting many Europeans, a key factor enabling the rise of populism across Europe has been the failure of mainstream parties on both the left and the right to offer clear and credible policy alternatives.

July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Rise of Referendums: Elite Strategy or Populist Weapon?

Political elites once held referendums to fend off challenges to European integration. More recently, Euroskeptic parties have employed referendums to batter down the walls of elite consensus. But the spread of referendums threatens to undermine the legitimacy of representative democracy.

July 2016, Volume 27, Issue 3

The Assault on Postcommunist Courts

A number of countries in East-Central Europe are facing a grave crisis of constitutional democracy. As their governments seek to undermine the institutional limits on their power, constitutional courts have become a central target.

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July 2015, Volume 26, Issue 3

Europe and Azerbaijan: The End of Shame

A few years ago, Europe’s most important intergovernmental human-rights institution, the Council of Europe, crossed over to the dark side. Like Dorian Gray, the dandy in Oscar Wilde’s story of moral decay, it sold its soul. And as with Dorian Gray, who retained his good looks, the inner decay of the Council of Europe remains hidden from view.

January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

Mediterranean Blues: The Crisis in Southern Europe

Beset by economic and political crises, democracy in southern Europe has been eroding, along with support for the EU. These developments stem largely from the design of the euro, which denies key economic-policy tools to national governments.

April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Defending Democracy Within the EU

Should Brussels intervene to protect democracy within EU member states? Does Europe have the tools it would need to do so effectively? Recent developments in Hungary and Romania show the importance of addressing these questions sooner rather than later.

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? Warnings from History

The irony at the heart of Europe’s current crisis is that although the EU originated as part of a post-1945 effort to consolidate democracy in Western Europe, the Union’s travails are now pushing the continent in the opposite direction instead.

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? The Sources of Extremism

The EU is experiencing a somewhat paradoxical phenomenon: On the one hand, it has been a tremendously successful club, promoting democracy and open societies within its borders and in its neighborhoods. On the other hand, the language of national rivalry and of class struggle is re-entering public discourse, especially within the eurozone. 

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October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? A Fraying Union

Contrary to the expectations of some democratic theorists, the EU will not collapse because of the “democratic deficit” of European institutions. Nor will it be saved by the democratic mobilization of civil society. Paradoxically, it is widespread disillusionment with democracy—the shared belief that national governments are powerless in the face of global markets—that may be…

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? Twin Troubles

Confidence in all European institutions is at a record low. What explains this lack of trust, and how can it be restored? To begin with, the eurozone needs a workable long-term solution, and the EU as a whole must come to terms with the reality of a two-speed integration process.

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? A Way Forward

The present crisis of the Euro is a near perfect example of how causal complexity, unanticipated consequences, and decisional uncertainty can have a significant and cumulative impact on regional integration. In theory, this should be the crisis that will drive the EU from economic to political integration. In practice, the outcome—at least, so far—has been…

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? Markets, Institutions, and Legitimacy

There is a lively public debate in Europe over how to deal with the current crisis. Among the obstacles to overcome, economic diversity, populism, and the distribution of costs figure prominently. Although most now agree on what needs to be done, whether it will be politically feasible remains uncertain. 

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? Elusive Solidarity

Europe’s economic crisis has become a crisis of democratic governance that could roll back five decades of integration. The EU may disintegrate because its “commanders” are unable to converge three distinct economic, political and institutional theaters in which the crisis is being played out.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty-Five Years, Fifteen Findings

A coauthor of the pathbreaking study Transitions from Authoritarian Rule reflects on the lessons that he has learned about democratic transition and consolidation since the publication of this work nearly 25 years ago.

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

Scottish Democracy in a Time of Nationalism

The Scottish National Party proposes to free Scotland from its supposed tutelage to London, but betrays habits of political centralism and elitism that raise questions about the quality of democracy an independent Scotland would enjoy.

January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Europe Moves Eastward: Challenges of EU Enlargement

As it prepares to go from 15 to 25 member states, the EU has improved the prospects for democracy in the East, but nothing about enlargement promises to resolve the vexing issue of democracy within the EU structure itself.

January 2004, Volume 15, Issue 1

Europe Moves Eastward: Concluding Reflections

The fall of the Berlin Wall gave East Europeans a euphoric sense that they were about to give European democacy a new direction. But as many of their countries prepare to join the EU, little has worked out as expected in those heady days.