Europe and its citizens: the end of the affair?

More and more citizens are revolting against Europe and, where they see them as extensions of "Brussels", against national institutions too. While Centrist elites are besieged by populism, large swaths of the populations seems definitively lost for the European project.

Guests

Luuk van Middelaar, Advisor and Speechwriter to Herman Van Rompuy, European Council

Mark Reckless MP, Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood

Prof Simon Hix, Professor of European and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics

Chaired by

Mark Leonard, Director, ECFR

As shown in the polls ECFR has recently analysed, the pro-European consensus between centre-left and centre-right which historically sustained European integration is shrinking.  More and more citizens are revolting against Europe and, where they see them as extensions of “Brussels”, against national institutions too. While Centrist elites are besieged by populism, large swaths of the populations seem definitively lost for the European project.  Questions for the debate: How can the technocratic-populist vicious circle be broken? Do we need more politics and confrontation at the European level so as to compensate the emptying of national democracy at home? Or do we simply need better functioning institutions and good policy results at the EU level? Would it help to empower national parliaments or return sovereignty to the national level?  Should it be taken for granted that the next European elections will not only fail to legitimize the EU but will also lead to an Europhobe dominated or paralysed  European Parliament ? What can be done about it?

Luuk van Middelaar is the Speechwriter and an Advisor to the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. He is the author of The Passage to Europe: How a Continent Became a Union(Yale University Press, 2013), the French edition of which was awarded the European Book Prize 2012.Luuk holds a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Amsterdam and worked previously as advisor in the European Commission and in the Dutch Parliament. His first book Politicide (1999) was awarded the Prix de Paris (Prize of Paris).

Mark Reckless is the Member of Parliament for Rochester and Strood and is a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee. In October 2012 he lead a rebellion of 53 Tory MPs on the EU Budget, which inflicted the first House of Commons defeat on the Coalition government. Previously, Mark worked as an Economist for the investment bank UBS Warburgs and he was rated as one of the top three economists in the City.

Prof Simon Hix is Professor of European and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics. He is the Director of the Political Science and Political Economy Group at the LSE and is co-editor of the journal European Union Politics. Simon has extensive consultancy experience, including for the UK Cabinet Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the European Parliament and the European Commission. He is the co- author of The Political System of the European Union(3rd ed.,2011).