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  • Author: Ken Godfrey, Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Ten years ago, the European Union’s (EU’s) member governments agreed on important council conclusions designed to raise the profile of the union’s support for democracy across the world. In late 2019, EU member states are likely to agree on new democracy conclusions and then, in 2020, on an updated and more operational action plan. They recognize that the strategic context has changed dramatically in the last decade, and the union needs to take on board many lessons about what has worked and not worked in its policies since 2009. Many policymakers hope that the change in leadership of the EU institutions in late 2019 might rejuvenate the bloc’s commitment to international democratic norms, after a period in which the priority has shifted to security issues. This working paper assesses the evolution of EU democracy support policies in recent years and proposes a number of improvements that a new policy framework might offer. The union has focused on improving microlevel tactics, but it most urgently needs a rethink at the macrolevel of its democracy strategies. Ironically, in the last ten years EU approaches to democracy have slowly become more sophisticated and sensitive at the implementation level yet have lost traction because they have failed to keep up with larger political and strategic changes within and beyond Europe. The paper proposes ten action points built around the need for the EU to be more proactive and flexible in supporting democracy and to link democracy support to the union’s changing approach to geopolitical challenges.
  • Topic: Governance, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Richard Youngs, Stephen Boucher, Israel Butler, Maarten De Groot, Elisa Lironi, Sophia Russack, Corina Stratulat, Anthony Zacharzewski
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: n recent years some European states have suffered dramatic regression, while others have experienced more subtle forms of democratic erosion. Several EU governments have constricted civic liberties. There has been lively debate about how much European citizens are losing faith in core democratic values. In general, the demand for democratic participation is outstripping its supply at both the national and EU levels. In recent years some European states have suffered dramatic regression, while others have experienced more subtle forms of democratic erosion. Several EU governments have constricted civic liberties. There has been lively debate about how much European citizens are losing faith in core democratic values. In general, the demand for democratic participation is outstripping its supply at both the national and EU levels.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Reform, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Heather Grabbe, Stefan Lehne
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Europe’s “‘man on the moon’ moment” was how European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on December 11, 2019, of the European Green Deal, a comprehensive program for a fair transition to a low-carbon economy.1 Rarely has the EU undertaken such an ambitious project requiring such a massive mobilization of resources and fundamental changes to most of its policies. The political momentum behind the transition is strong because the vast majority of Europeans, especially young ones, feel a sense of urgency to take action to prevent catastrophe. But political obstacles will rise again as the EU starts to implement practical measures. The union already has a long track record of climate change policy, both as a leader of international climate diplomacy and through the creation of laws and innovative policies such as the Emissions Trading Scheme. However, its efforts have suffered from significant deficits. Clashing interests of member states, some of which still heavily depend on coal, and industrial lobbies raising concerns about international competitiveness and jobs have constrained the EU’s ambitions. Insufficient mechanisms for monitoring and compliance have handicapped the implementation of these policies. The ongoing fragmentation of Europe’s political scene poses additional hurdles. Divisions between Eastern and Western Europe and Northern and Southern Europe hinder efficient decisionmaking. Populist parties already are mobilizing resistance to the necessary policies. Under these circumstances, the EU’s traditional method of depoliticizing difficult issues and submitting them to long technocratic discussions is unlikely to deliver results. To sustain democratic consent, there is no alternative to building public support for a fair climate transition and to deepening democratic engagement.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Politics, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union