Enhancing democracy pre and post EU accession – Assessment visit to Greece

Increasing the potential of EU enlargement by addressing the democratic challenges at the doorsteps and […]

13 - 17/10/2013
Increasing the potential of EU enlargement by addressing the democratic challenges at the doorsteps and within the EU

Background and objective of the research programme

The quest for revitalising the EU enlargement policy for European progressives brought together the Foundation for European Progressives Studies (FEPS) and the European Forum for Democracy in Solidarity (EFDS) in the research programme Copenhagen revisited in 2011. The result of this cooperation was the book EU Enlargement Anno 2012 A Progressive Engagement. This book was the culmination of the first phase of a common research programme, but by far an end. It has successfully addressed several challenges, but at the same time new questions emerged that pointed out the direction towards the second phase.

This phase will analyse the obstacles of EU enlargement in a different framework, putting the current democratic crisis at the core of its research focus, both within the EU and in the Southeast European Region and Turkey. The threats of increasing populism and populist nationalism in their various forms were recurring elements of the debates on the challenges for enlargement. This tendency is seriously problematic not only at the doorsteps of the EU, but also within the EU. However, this issue cannot be addressed effectively without examining its possible causes. The second phase of the research programme builds on the hypothesis that the origin of these trends is the crisis of representative democracy. Hence, it aims to study different concepts of democracy, analyse the various forms in which the crisis of representative democracy manifests (specially focusing on populism and nationalism and their diverse definition), evaluate its effects on enlargement policy and develop progressive alternatives for reinforcing pluralism.

The research programme is constituted of four elements: 1) research 2) assessment visits 3) international conferences 4) publication and promotion of the summarising publication.

Objective of the assessment visit to Greece

The assessment visits aim to gain a better insight in the debate about representative democracy in specific countries. In order to constitute a complex picture of the situation the visits are organised in a manner that meetings include a vast scope of actors, comprising the political, academic, private and civil society field.

Considered to be the cradle of democracy, ironically Greece has been backsliding since the outburst of the financial and economic crisis. The serious socio-economic challenges have led to the questioning of democratic institutions. This trend has a crucial effect on both the horizontal and vertical European integration. Hence, the objective of the assessment visit is to analyse, how pluralism and democratic participation can be enhanced against the background of this grave societal crisis.

See details of the programme in copy


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