Where is European democracy heading?

RECON outreach conference

Brussels, 19 May 2011


Venue: Résidence Palace, Rue de la Loi 155, Brussels

How democratic is the European Union? How democratic can it be, and how democratic should it be? Through a series of studies of a number of policy fields and institutional mechanisms, RECON has discussed the conditions for democracy in the EU. The aim is to identify strategies through which democracy can be strengthened.
At RECON’s outreach event in Brussels, key findings from the project were presented to policy makers and practitioners, media and informed readers, civil society actors and interest groups, as well as the academic community and the general public.
Some of the main questions posed by the RECON project have been sought answered:
  • What is the constitutional future for Europe?
  • How is European representative democracy working?
  • How and why is the EU contested in the member states?
  • New patterns of Euroscepticism in political parties and media?
  • How do national intellectuals debate Europe?
  • Is the EU’s security and defence policy exempted from democracy?
  • What is the status of gender democracy in the EU?
  • How has European governance influenced the financial crisis?
  • International trade – an area for conflict of laws?    


RECON findings

Snapshots of selected findings are available here.

The pamphlet with all findings can be downloaded here (pdf)

A paper copy can be ordered by e-mail to admin(at)reconproject.eu



You can download or listen to a podcast of the whole conference here.

Read RECON Scientific Coordinator Erik O. Eriksen’s introductory speech: ‘Why European democracy?’



Photo gallery

Photos from the event are available here.


Short biography of speakers and RECON coordinators

List of participants



Download pdf

Registration and coffee

Erik O. Eriksen
RECON Scientific Coordinator, ARENA, University of Oslo

Angela Liberatore
European Commission, DG Research



Part I: Taking stock of EU democracy

A constitutional future for Europe? (RECON findings – pdf)

John Erik Fossum
ARENA, University of Oslo

A European representative democracy? (RECON findings – pdf)
Christopher Lord
ARENA, University of Oslo

Contesting Europe (RECON findings – pdf for the below three presentations)
Pieter de Wilde
Social Science Research Center, Berlin

New patterns of Euroscepticism?
Aleksandra Maatsch
CEuS, University of Bremen

Intellectual debates on Europe
Justine Lacroix
Université Libre de Bruxelles



Andrew Duff, Member of the European Parliament
Lisbeth Kirk, Editor-in-Chief, EUobserver


Coffee break / press session



Part II: Democratic challenges


Security – beyond democracy? (RECON findings – pdf)
Helene Sjursen
ARENA, University of Oslo

Gender democracy?
(RECON findings – pdf)

Sara Clavero
CAWP, Queen’s University Belfast

Financial crisis caused by European governance? (RECON findings – pdf)
Agustín J. Menéndez
University of León

International trade and the conflict of laws

(RECON findings – pdf)

Christian Joerges / Karolina Zurek
ZERP, University of Bremen / Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies



Theofanis Christoforou, European Commission Legal Service
Gerald Häfner, Member of European Parliament



Where is European democracy heading?
General discussion






The conference is open to everyone, and there is no conference fee.

 The conference is organised by the Université Libre de Bruxelles and RECON-coordinator ARENA – Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo.


For more information, please contact Marit Eldholm (ARENA, University of Oslo): marit.eldholm(at)arena.uio.no