Politics and Institutions
The euro crisis has brought about a new wave of change in the EU, in addition to the institutional rearrangements already introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. The efficiency and legitimacy of the EU’s institutional architecture has become the subject of debate, especially in view of the forthcoming European elections, the selection of a new European Commission and generally declining public support for the European Union in most member states.
The European Politics and Institutions unit conducts research activities that aim to:
- Reflect on how the introduction of the European Semester, the entry into force of the Treaty on the Stability, Coordination and Governance, the application of the so-called Two-Pack regulations and the adoption of further steps to enhance the Economic and Monetary Union might be underpinned by democratic legitimacy and accountability both at national and EU level.
- Contribute to the debate on the best way forward on EU institutional reform to improve its capacity to respond to new economic and socio-political challenges. It looks in particular into the organisation and functioning of the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council, as well as the relations among them and with the national parliaments.
- Follow up new developments ahead of the next European elections, especially on four fronts: the revision of the rules on EU political parties, their decision to present a common candidate to head their electoral campaigns and run for the post of Commission president, the impact of declining public support for the EU in many member states, and the consequences of growing political conflict at EU level as a result of the euro crisis and austerity measures.
- Assess the achievements of the rotating presidencies of the Council in addressing these challenges.
The European Politics and Institutions unit also manages the European Policy Institutes Network (EPIN), which brings together 37 think tanks and research centres from all over Europe to analyse EU current affairs and stimulate the debate on the future of Europe, mainly through conferences, workshops and joint publications (see www.epin.org). A series of EPIN commentaries on the European Parliament elections has been launched. The first one in the series, which provides a general overview from a European perspective, has just been released. The next commentaries will show the state of play in some particular countries.
The unit continues its participation in the multi-disciplinary Initial Training Network (ITN) on Inter-institutional Cooperation in the EU (INCOOP).
With the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union